What about the rest of the world?

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Global security depends upon global responsibilty, what about other nations? This one should be of concern to any person who markets digital products overseas. Another example of think globally act locally?

Business IT

Experts: China unprepared for year 2000 glitch

CHINA is making inadequate preparations to prevent the "millennium glitch" from wreaking havoc in its computer systems at the turn of the century, experts said.

"China hasn't seriously considered the year 2000 glitch, and many sectors are slow in taking efforts to make their electronics products ready for the 2000 change," Zhang Qi, the chairman of the China Computer Industry Association, told the official China Daily.

The country's banking, civil aviation and railways industries are off to a good start in heading off the problem, she said, adding that banks had vowed to address the problem by year-end.

But a Ministry of Science and Technology official, Feng Jichun, warned that some sectors will "definitely" not be able to solve it in the less than 600 days that remain.

Sun Yining, an expert with the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Computer Technology Institute, said there simply was not enough time to convert China's untold numbers of two-digit systems individually to four digits.

"This job will involve large groups of computer technicians and may need several years to complete," he said.

In the race to modernise its economy over the last 15 years, the country's enterprises have collected vast amounts of computer equipment and software from different parts of the world that ranges widely in its technological level and configuration.

Zhang added that managing and co-ordinating the effort would be just as difficult as mobilising the necessary resources.

Estimates say US$300bil to US$600bil will have to be spent worldwide to deal with the bug, but she said the cost facing China was difficult to calculate.

While the latest hardware and software uses four-digit years in handling data incorporating times or dates, older systems -- which identify 1999 as simply "99" -- will mistake 2000 for 1900.

It is feared the problem will disrupt a wide range of transactions and economic activity worldwide, hitting information-technology dependent sectors such as finance the hardest.

The bug may also affect embedded chips that run power plants, pacemakers, aircraft, weapons systems, elevators and "smart" appliances.

The China Daily said central government organs had begun to take action on the issue, with the former Chinese Ministry of Electronics Industry -- now part of the Ministry of Information Industry -- setting up a special research group with US-based International Business Machines Corp (IBM).

Zhang said a package of proposals was awaiting state approval, including one for the establishment of a state council expert panel to spearhead a national action plan.

Other proposals for tackling the 2000 bug involve providing supportive financing and other preferential policies, as well as expanding cooperation on the issue with foreign makers of information technology being used in China.

The first round of lawsuits against such firms has already erupted in the United States, where legal consultants are warning that failing to correct year-2000 problems could lead to massive liability.

A Michigan grocery store is suing a Japanese software maker because its cash registers break down when they try to read a credit card whose expiration date is after 1999. -- AFP

The original at: http://thestar.com.my/current/25itgl.html

-- Bob Barbour (r.barbour@waikato.ac.nz), May 26, 1998


I hope the 13 nuclear missles that Bill Clinton helped the chinese point at us are y2k compliant.


-- Rod (rod_harmon@usa.net), May 26, 1998.

Dear Bob:

Your comment is on point with some of my recent thoughts about y2k. So what if we can fix all of our computers? (I don't think we can) Who are we going to do business with? Our economy is based on service. We have not manufactured much in the past 20 yrs. Our auto components are made in other countries and assembled in yet different countries. If our "remediated" computers cannot communicate with unremediated computers, what do we do? Smoke signals? I certainly am no economist, but it's a no brainer to know that we can't manage and economy or society by selling each other Big Macs and Fries. Hell, most of the meat is from overseas, we can't even do that.

-- Bill Solorzano (notaclue@webtv.net), May 26, 1998.

Referring to the above:

I saw a movie called "Roger and Me" in my PoliSci1 class last semester about Flint, MI and GM. If you folk remember, that's a good example of what happens when there is merely sudden unemployment.

About BigMacs - they tried to convert the plant workers over to Taco Bell (ffood svc) but it didn't work. yadda yadda.


-- Ken Ott (k150@yahoo.com), May 31, 1998.

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