Where's Y2k

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Last night while watching the news, Washington on channel 9 Primestar, one of the stories was Y2k, first testing completed. They left the viewer hanging so we would watch the rest of the story. The story never aired. I watched and did not see another word about Y2k.

Early this morning on CNN, a story aired about Montgomery County ? and the testing that was done. The clocks had been rolled forward and they were happy to announce that there were no problems. Everything continued as usual, stop lights, 911 etc. I did not catch the whole story and waited for the replay. I never saw it again.

Anyone else see this or not see this? Seems like if the testing went that well it should make Real Big News.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), December 22, 1998


Here is the article - my comments follow...

>Y2K Test Has Montgomery Confident of Bug-Free 2000 By Scott Wilson Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, December 22, 1998; Page A01

(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPcap/1998-12/22/063r-122298-idx .html)

For anyone trembling at the thought of New Year's Day 2000, when doomsayers predict the millennium bug will black out cities, crash airplanes and short-circuit anything with a computer chip, the solution is simple: Come to Montgomery County.

Montgomery officials tricked several county computer systems yesterday into thinking it was Jan. 1, 2000, and the Republic still stands. Life in Rockville's drab government high-rises proceeded uninterrupted. Traffic signals from Takoma Park to Poolesville worked; telephone calls connected; police and fire engines dispatched with workaday punctuality.

"Flawless," declared Bruce Romer, the county's chief administrative officer, after the clocks on four computer systems were turned ahead 376 days with no apparent malfunction. "We believe our citizenry can have a comfort level that the county government is addressing the issue."

Of course, county officials had a high comfort level of their own before becoming one of the nation's first local governments to publicly check its preparedness for the next millennium. The computer networks handling traffic lights, 911 emergency calls, accounts payable and voter-registration records had been tested and retested before yesterday's "test," leaving little chance the outcome would be anything but perfect.

For several years, the so-called Y2K bug has been a high-tech specter terrifying government and business leaders. It is a programming flaw rooted in the fact that most computers process dates only by the last two digits, assuming the first two would be 1 and 9. When the millennium arrives, computers running everything from air-traffic control consoles to power grids could treat the date as 1900 and crash.

Solving the problem in this country alone could cost more than $50 billion, and some concerned people have begun stockpiling food and other provisions for the possibility. Even Montgomery officials, despite their work to debug their own networks, are taking precautions in case others are not as farsighted. In the days before New Year's Eve 1999, Romer will instruct several banks to stash $14 million in cash in their vaults. That's the equivalent of one county pay period, just in case direct deposit fails.

Montgomery has been tackling the Y2K problem for the past three years. County officials say that they have spent half the $34 million set aside to debug the county's 288 computer systems and that 36 percent have been deemed good to go come Jan. 1, 2000. The rest are scheduled to be ready by April, and county officials implored local businesses and homeowners to follow suit.

Yesterday's daylong exercise drew more than 50 local government officials from across the country -- along with a score of reporters -- to witness what might happen.

Just before noon, members of the media made their way to the 11th-floor nerve center of Montgomery's traffic control operation, where computers would be bumped ahead to 23:58 military time on Dec. 31, 1999. Big screen televisions flashed pictures from a few of the county's 700 intersections. And Emil J. Wolanin, chief of the county transportation systems management section, gave a preview of things to come.

"You will see," Wolanin said, as the clock ticked toward the zero hour, "that nothing in fact happens."

Wolanin was right. Several television screens showed traffic lights around the county doing what they were supposed to.

Despite the lack of drama, the Y2K bug has the potential to be especially pernicious in a technology-loving county like Montgomery. County officials are in the process of outfitting 200 county buses with Global Positioning Systems to pinpoint their exact locations every second, so as to better monitor whether they are on schedule.

But so far, Y2K problems have been largely nonexistent. About the closest county officials came to a scare was earlier this year when one system kept kicking back to 1980 when technicians tried to set a date in 2000.

County officials did not just test their computers yesterday. The day started with Romer assembling about 20 department heads and telling them to pretend New Zealand had just entered the next millennium. He then described a series of problems cropping up in the 13 hours from the time the millennium dawns in the South Pacific, sweeps across Asia and Europe, and reaches Rockville: Corrupted databases in Australia, a stalled elevator in Sweden, flashing traffic signals in Great Britain. He gave them two hours to come up with solutions.

Throughout the day, Romer injected other twists and turns in the simulated response, handled in a bunker-like room in the basement of the County Council building. A winter storm struck, common in January, and the 20,000 people attending First Night festivities in Silver Spring had no subway service to get home.

So it went, at times offering a glimpse into what Montgomery might have to deal with a little more than a year from now -- or maybe not.

) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company<<

Scary isnt it? That these folks know so little about this, that they think the only "glitch" is the one caused by the computer clock. They "proved" that all will be ok by turning all the computer clocks to Jan 1 2000 and showing the masses that all is well.

Someone should explain to them, that changing the clock on their computer, will NOT change the software applications inside. It wont change the millions of stored records. It wont change the way the programs interact with the new date on the computer. They want to lull the people, and press into a false sense of security, by showing that the system still works - if they change the date on the computer.

Did they try printing out a payroll, did they try ordering supplies? Did they try doing an inventory? Did they try checking vital records. Did they try each and every program inside those computers to see what the new 4 digit date will do when used with those programs? I assume when they changed the date to 2000 - it was 2000 not 00? Have they modified all the exsisting codes to accept those dates? Have they modified all the macros in their word processors and spreadsheets? Have they modified all their query software? Did they test how well the banks will work with their new 2000 date? Did they try and send any of their accounts through the banking system?

This propaganda makes me sick. Think about how many local residents saw that and thought - Oh gee we are fine. They dont understand that changing a system clock does NOT change the computer programs inside that computer, nor does it modify the millions of exsisting records.


-- Whitney (Y2kWhit@aol.com), December 22, 1998.

Whitney; I don't know s*it about computers, but in addition to the tests and procedures that you list, and I agree that they should have been run and the results posted, can you tell me what will happen to the system when they return the date to the current date? I agree that it may not do anything at all or maybe that's when the bug jumps out. I just was curious about it.

Thanks for any inputs.


-- sweetolebob (La) (buffgun@hotmail.com), December 22, 1998.

Well, according to that report - all they did was change the system date on their computers. Changing the date back should have no effect (as long as they havent done any data entry on any of the programs) If they were to continue using the systems with this date, and then attempt to switch back later, it could cause alot of problems with the data stored, and overwriting file dates. I assume at some point they would HAVE to switch back or else, on Jan 1, 2000 their system would be at Dec 22nd 2000. :) As long as they switch back to the current date before doing any actual file saves, or data entry etc. I personally see no problem with it - but I am not an expert either :)


-- Whitney (Y2kWhit@aol.com), December 22, 1998.

In the Washington Times article, same day, the report stated that this was a test of systems that had already been tested. As an aside, In the wash. post business section, an article describes Pepco"s (electrtic) latest patented invention: a plug adapter that you can use to convert your house from DC to AC (you pull the meter out: put the plug in, connect to your generator,voila). This was being offered for use as a back-up for the occasional outage. Um, be sure and read the instructions.

-- Arthur Rambo (buriedctreasure@webtv.net), December 22, 1998.

The first clue is that they are saying Y2K may cost this country 50 bil. The finance industry alone will have to spend this much, hell Citibank estimates almost 1 billion for itself alone.

Very soon now (like 12 more months) the word will reach the public...the money cant be spent because

1. insufficient programmers

2. insufficient time

3. insufficient funds (due to 1999 economic implosion)

-- a (a@a.a), December 22, 1998.

This was a test of only (4) of their (288) systems. That's only about (1.4%) of their total systems. If I lived in that county I Don't think those numbers would make me sleep any better!

-- The Explorer (freedom@aol.com), December 23, 1998.

it will be NOTHING assholes NOTHING



-- Paul Milne (fedinfo@halifax.com), December 23, 1998.

I live in Montgomery County and I have been preparing for months. This

article tells me I pay a lot in taxes but does little to reassure me.

The power here comes from PEPCO and they are not exactly diligent in

their preparation. In their report they say that they will rely on the

word of their suppliers as far as compliance goes. Thats great! The

lights will work... if we have power.

-- Mike Lang (webflier@erols.com), December 23, 1998.

Also check out this article:


-- Interested Party (trythis@y2ktoday.com), December 23, 1998.

To me, this was the key to understanding this article:

"Montgomery has been tackling the Y2K problem for the past three years. County officials say that they have spent half the $34 million set aside to debug the county's 288 computer systems and that 36 percent have been deemed good to go come Jan. 1, 2000. The rest are scheduled to be ready by April, and county officials implored local businesses and homeowners to follow suit."

I would say that an uneventful test is not surprising for an organization that started remediation 3 years ago.

When did _your_ town/city/county/state/country start?

-- Lewis (aslanshow@yahoo.com), December 23, 1998.

# # # 19981223

This report ( below ) has distorted ( omission ) the facts, already! This is what disgusts me about the so-called Y2K ( or ANY ) journalism we are faced with today! ( ... Rick!?! )

The 36% that are allegedly Y2K-ready--whatever _that may mean-- were NOT TESTED END-TO-END! No useful measure to determine whether the April, 1999 date is likely to be nmet. What was their original scheduled date? Doesn't say. Power, water, ( real ) telecommunications? Not addressed. This was a "closed-circuit Y2K test": It don't mean nothin'!! ( Lewis: Don't sleep too tight on this nothing report! )

Shabby reporting shines again. Reporters that have lobotomies won't do the public any good.

( To those eshewing long quotes/posts: Too many times the links become vapor-links. )

Regards, Bob Mangus # # #

< http://www.jrnl.com/news/98/Dec/jrn129231298.html >

No Y2K crisis? What if they have a new millennium crisis, but no problems show up? That appears to be the main question coming out of Tuesday's public test by Montgomery County government officials of their measures to ensure nothing untoward happens at the stroke of midnight Dec. 31, 1999, when the world's computers discover it is the year 2000 or 1900.

Lots of experts have been making lots of money in recent years warning anyone who would listen about the disasters that will befall the civilized - that is, computer-dependant - world the instant the third millennium begins.

The problem is that millions of computers now in use throughout government and business were not programmed to function in 2000 or thereafter, thus creating the possibility of endless scenarios of urban and suburban chaos and confusion as critical systems such as traffic management go on the fritz.

But Tuesday, everything appeared to work as if nothing much had happened when officials experimentally sped up the computer clocks on such county systems as traffic signals, telephones, fire and rescue emergency equipment and other important local functions.

So far, local officials have spent $34 million upgrading or replacing hardware and software used by the 288 separate computer systems used by county government. As of Tuesday's test, 36 percent of these systems have been made Y2K-ready.

There are those who argue that the Y2K crisis has been used improperly by officials as the occasion for massive procurements of brand-new but unneeded computers.

The last word has not yet been written on that dispute, but it is reassuring to see evidence that Montgomery County residents need not fear Armageddon arriving as a result of obsolete software in critical public systems.

< http://www.jrnl.com/news/98/Dec/jrn129231298.html > # # #

-- Robert Mangus (rmangus@mail.netquest.com), December 23, 1998.

Don't blindly and excessively criticize progress - I'm glad these places are testing. But notice, as pointed out here but *not* by the mdeia story - that the small systems tested are only a fraction of the whole thing. Also, the systems tested (in the VA case for example) had already been "scrubbed" twice - there should have been no problems - they were already removed!

See the hidden fact not discussed - this was to show that the remediated systems that had already passed local tests worked in a larger test. Good. Great. Not quite fantastic, but certainly much better thatn "ah sh*it".

However - the author then expanded this way too far - and thereby discredited himself by trying to use this case to show there never was a problem, and, worse - that there won't be y2K problems in that region.

That's the tragedy. The reporter here failed to report things fully. Not only is he predicting an inning based on one strikeout - he's trivialing the fact that the pitcher spent all of spring training preparing to throw strikes against that particular batter. To make things worse, he's predicting the rest of the game - and the rest of the season - based one strikeout of one batter.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 23, 1998.

I live in a very small town. The bank I do business with is a Community Bank with about 12 employees. I was informed in a recent letter that they have been working on the problem for two years and will try to be finished with y2K testing in the next few months.

This is a really small bank!! Over two years to get compliant. How can we even presume the big ones will make it?

Trying to keep a positive attitude!!


-- Anti-Chainsaw (Tree@hugger.com), December 23, 1998.

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