Euro 1/1/1999 Forebodes Y2K Debacle : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Whoa! Here's a humdinger article out today, Monday, December 28, 1998, about the Euro:

New Money For A New Year

This is the most in-depth MSNBC article we've ever seen. The frenetic force-work to get ready for 1/1/1999 reminds us of Ed's new essay.
Reading this definitely raises the blood pressure!

The article gives extensive background history to Euro. The Y2K similarities strike portence. Will watching the unfurling of Euro give us indications of how well huge conversion projects are meeting time-sets?

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia, very glad they're not in Europe now

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-- Leska (, December 29, 1998


I work for a major Canadian bank in Risk Management, this coming weekend (called Big Bang Weekend) will be very interesting for us since they started the analysis and conversion for the Euro late and without adequate resources. They've had to shut down much of the Y2K effort so that the resources could be used for Euro, I predict there will be problems for the first week or two.

How is Y2K going? Over budget and behind schedule, but I'm not too worried since the entire system has been built from scratch over the past five years ... but I'm not as confident about the sources of all our data.

-- Oz (, December 29, 1998.

Can't find a thread dedicated to possible 1999 computer troubles, so I'll use this one. Just up on AP Breaking News:

Area Code Crisis Ballooning Despite Unused Numbers

12/29/98 -- 2:17 PM, AP
Area Code Crisis Ballooning Despite Unused Numbers

WASHINGTON (AP) - When the Philadelphia suburbs got a new area code four years ago, employees from Donald Culp's security-service company had to visit hundreds of homes to reprogram alarm systems.

Although the phone company indicated the move would create enough new telephone numbers to satisfy demand until 2021, the Philadelphia region will need two more area codes in June. For Culp, that means another round of service calls.

The pattern is repeated across the nation, with the industry running out of phone numbers faster than ever imagined. Growing demand for cellular phones, pagers and second lines for modems and fax machines is often blamed. But more at fault is the way that numbers are assigned, in blocks of 10,000, which leave many numbers unused.
``What's going to happen in five years?'' asked Culp, president of Delco Alarm Systems in Aston, Pa.

The rapid depletion of phone numbers is prompting federal officials to find more efficient ways to dole out numbers. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to propose new rules in the coming year.

California went from 13 area codes in early 1997 to the current 23 and is projected to have at least 39 by 2001. The Chicago area went from two codes to five in 1996 and is getting at least one more. Dallas and Houston, which got new codes less than two years ago, are each getting a third code in 1999.

Every change forces business and residential customers to learn new dialing patterns, and many must upgrade equipment and reprint business cards, stationery and advertising.

``Five years ago, maybe, there was a very slow increase in the number of area codes being assigned,'' said Bruce Armstrong of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. ``Then all of a sudden it started snowballing.''

The system, which also covers Canada and the Caribbean, began with 78 area codes for the United States in 1947. Forty-eight codes were gradually added through 1994.

Then it sped up: 14 more codes in 1995, 11 in 1996, 32 in 1997 and 22 in 1998. Industry officials project the need for 30 new codes a year unless changes are made.

Under the block system, created in the days of the telephone monopoly, competing local carriers require a block of numbers for every billing region they wish to serve. An area code may cover dozens or hundreds of such regions.

If a carrier has only 100 customers in a given region, the remaining 9,900 numbers of the block are tied up. The amount of unusable numbers grows if a startup carrier serves several regions or if a region has several such carriers.

``In a monopoly world, where there's essentially one provider, the system worked reasonably well,'' said Alan Hasselwander, chairman of the North American Numbering Council federal advisory panel.
As few as half the nearly 8 million number combinations for each area code are actually assigned before a new area code is requested.

``We have 1.2 million people in Maine, and they could all have second lines, pagers, cellular phones and who knows what - and still not have all the numbers used up,'' said Phil Lindley of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

But because many of those numbers are tied up - and thousands more will remain unused as dozens of new carriers await certification - Maine is considering a second area code.

Federal officials are looking into such changes as assigning numbers in smaller blocks and consolidating billing regions to reduce the need for blocks. Illinois and New York have ongoing tests for small-block assignments, and Colorado recently reduced the number of billing centers by 60 percent.

These efforts can begin ``to treat phone numbers as a scarce public resource rather than the private property of the phone companies,'' said Martin Cohen of the consumer group, Illinois Citizens Utility Board.

But revamping the system could require computer and wiring changes in the phone network and affect 911 emergency systems that use the incoming phone number to pinpoint location.

The industry agrees a change is needed, but various segments - from longtime carriers to startup carriers - differ on how to do so.
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-- Leska (, December 29, 1998.

The Euro article from the original post above starts out:

LONDON, Dec. 28  The last people successfully to impose a single currency on Europe were the Romans. Two thousand years ago, their coins of brass and silver circulated from Rome through France and England and across the Mediterranean basin to the Middle East. Now, Europe is ready to try again. After the New Year holiday, 290 million people in eleven countries will go to work and learn to live with (and hopefully to love) a brand new kind of money  the euro.

A NEW MONEY for Europe means that on New Years weekend, instead of heading for the ski slopes, vacation for thousands of workers has been cancelled.

On the computer side, the systems challenge has been compared to the Y2K bug arriving 12 months early. Officially and dryly, the new European Central Bank (ECB) is calling this the changeover weekend. But in the wider financial community, its already being described as the big bang weekend.

On the instant of changeover, millions of computer records must be updated to reflect the change. Bankers and the business community are on full alert, scrambling to modify electronic records under very severe time constraints before markets re-open for trading. Tens of thousands of staff have been ordered to their desks for the duration. The demand for computer technicians is so great that some banks are flying in extra staff from the United States.

Even the politicians and their senior officials have been ordered to break their precious holidays. To make the final decisions and deal with any last-minute hitches, finance ministers have been called to Brussels to work on New Years eve.

If all goes according to plan, the banks will deliver the euro and its entire complex infrastructure to the markets when they re-open on the morning of Monday, Jan. 4.
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-- Leska (, December 29, 1998.

We love answering our own posts!

Ashton & Leska

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-- Leska (, December 29, 1998.

Impersonator above, you would be more accurate if you posted something appropriate to the looming 1999 computer risks. Just 4 days from now, we all *may* see beginnings of more widespread problems.

It is sensible, if one is interested in Y2K-related topics, to form a thread where one can share their findings. We hope we find more good articles examining possible 1999 rollover glitches.

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-- Leska (, December 29, 1998.

Unless I'm wrong, the conversion to the Euro does not involve imbedded systems.

MoVe Immediate

-- MVI (, December 29, 1998.

# # # 19981229


You are correct! However, computer work on Euro will be the european diversion-scapegoat for the socialist countries NOT ADDRESSING Y2K!

They will have the Y2K plague worse than anywhere else on the planet. No tears, will I shed, for them!

Idiots, they are!

Regards, Bob Mangus # # #

-- Robert Mangus (, December 29, 1998.

New Year's Problems With Medical Device Clocks Found

12/29/98 -- 9:36 PM, AP

New Year's Problems With Medical Device Clocks Found

WASHINGTON (AP) - The government is warning hospitals, emergency personnel and health care practitioners that the kind of computer date bugs expected to produce problems on Jan. 1, 2000, could affect two products a year early.

The Food and Drug Administration's advisory, issued Tuesday, said the potential problems with the two medical devices do not pose any immediate health threat to patients. But they could create confusion and the potential for incorrect records, the FDA said.

The problems involving switching from the year 1998 to 1999, affecting the ability of the products to display, print or store the correct time and date of when they are in use, the FDA said.

One product, Hewlett-Packard's 43100A/43200A external defibrillator, will defibrillate properly but will print out ``set clock'' rather than the month, day, hour and minute that it is in use.

The manufacturer advises that the clock be reset to 1998 - not 1999- after which it will work properly for the year 1999. At the end of 1999, it will have to be reset again - from 1998 to 2000.

Approximately 39,000 of these defibrillators were sold worldwide between 1985 and 1992, the FDA said.

The second product is Invivo Research Inc.'s Millennia 3500 multiparameter patient monitor. To avoid a clock problem, the manufacturer advises health care personnel to neither test nor reset the devices on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. The company also has software to fix the problem. More than 2,000 of these devices have been installed worldwide since June of 1996.

The FDA has been working with seven manufacturers of 15 various medical devices to investigate whether they will work in the year 2000. So far, only Invivo Research and Hewlett-Packard have verified that some problems with their clocks could occur.
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-- Leska (, December 29, 1998.

Y2K Glitch Could Rear Its Head This Week


Think your company's computer system will have its Year 2000 problems fixed in plenty of time? Watch out--the day of reckoning for many systems may be sooner than you think.

Try New Year's Day--1999.

``This is going to be a huge day'' as many companies' programs make projections for 2000 for the first time, says Rob Figliulo, chief executive officer at SPR Inc., which works on corporate computer systems.

Other dates throughout 1999 will be important, especially when companies begin new fiscal years. Billings will have to account for payments into 2000 and annual budgets will extend past the millennium.

There may even be a problem with the year 1999 itself. Many programmers have used ``99'' as a signal to end a particular operation. Bob Elston, senior business systems architect at Kanbay Inc., a Rosemont information technology company, said a computer may take the 99 as a signal to shut down.
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-- Leska (, December 29, 1998.

If this really happens the panic will defianately begin. We will be glad we already started putting back our bags of beans and rice. I am waiting to see what does happen Jan1-4. I wasn't really too worried about it until, we'll just have to wait and see....If the problems were minor enough it might be a good thing...give people a wake up call.

-- Moore Dinty moore (, December 30, 1998.

Here's an article about January 1, 1999 from CBS Marketwatch: g.htx?source=htx/http2_mw

"The so-called year 2000 problem could start having an impact this Friday as computers that plan events up to a year ahead of time start to grapple with dates ending in "00.""

-- Kevin (, December 30, 1998.

Aacckk! The articles are coming so many so fast now! Can't keep up. This just popped up on ABCNewsBusiness, and it's hard-hitting. Also gives the first %s of progression I've seen in the mainstream.

Y2K Beginnings Are Now

Facing the Millennium Bug

Expect the year 2000 computer bug to start biting in 1999 and keep chomping for the next few years.

By Katherine Hobson from

If you plan to stay up on New Years Eve 1999 in the hope that youll witness massive chaos at 12:01, dont waste your time. Just 8 percent of system failures will occur during the actual rollover; the remaining 92 percent will be spread out over 1999, 2000 and 2001, says Lou Marcoccio, year 2000 research director at GartnerGroup.

With that in mind, here are a few dates to look out for:

Jan. 1, 1999
The euro is introduced. Though this isnt directly related to the millennium bug, it is also expected to wreak havoc on computers - software applications will require a massive revamp. Capers Jones, chief scientist at Artemis Management, which builds and sells project management tools, calls the timing one of the worst public policy decisions in human history because it pits the worlds second-largest software project (the euro) against the worlds largest software project (the year 2000 conversion). He says there arent enough software personnel to accomplish both tasks.

First Working Day of 1999
Software applications that make projections may have problems on this day or Jan. 1. Systems making two-year projections have already experienced problems this year: There were 12 times as many failures during 1998 as in 1997, says Marcoccio. There will be scattered system failures throughout 1999 as companies and governments begin fiscal 2000.

Feb. 5, 1999
The airline industry makes reservations 330 days in advance, so systems must be ready on this day. My view is the industry is pretty well prepared, says Tom Browne, executive director of the Y2K program for the Air Transport Association of America, which represents the U.S. airline industry. The standards for changing ticketing systems have been in place for two years, and some central reservation systems are telling airlines theyre already ready.

March 1999
President Clinton has said federal agencies should be Y2K compliant by this month. Rep. Stephen Horn, R-Calif., recently estimated one-third of crucial systems wont be ready, though the chairman of the Presidents Council on Year 2000 Conversion, John Koskinen, disputed this assessment.
[ ... ]
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There's more, worth reading article for the dates if you really want to keep "watch."

We have a small 1994 color TV for keeping up with news during/after an earthquake, etc. and yesterday while watching flooding reports, the things just stopped cold. Wondering if some internal something read the 12/29/98 and quit? Getting near 99? But there's been 9/9s before. The thing won't turn on. We hardly ever use it so it shouldn't have just stopped! Hassle. Hope it's the worst of all problems. ;-o

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-- Leska (, December 30, 1998.

Right now the Drudge Report is boldly headlining this article:

FDA Warns Y2K Bug May Strike Early

Wednesday, 30 December 1998 15:27 (GMT), (UPI Spotlight)

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (UPI) - The Food and Drug Administration is warning hospitals and other medical practitioners (Wednesday) that the kind of computer bugs expected to cause problems on January 1, 2000 will affect some medical devices this New Year's day. The FDA has confirmed certain brands of defibrillators and patient monitors will function, but will not be able to record the date and time of the device's operation, once the calendar switches from 1998 to 1999.

Knowing full well how busy, stressful, and entrenched hospital floors are, I'd say this is short notice. It will be difficult to pass this info along to all the Drs, RNs, Therapists, etc. who need to know. The fax machines on floors spew out announcements continuously, which gather on the floor until a harried nurse tosses them into trash. No time to read the things! No time to check eMail or snail mail box. No time to go to staff meetings. No time to chart completely! Barely time to make rounds.

Equipment printouts are put into an uncategorized "In" box which is sorted later, usually by an exhausted 'float' secretary, and filed ACCORDING TO DATE & TIME. Weird stuff that doesn't make sense is thrown away; there's so much of that. There will be problems. I know. I'm the one who *did* this stuff throughout a big hospital very recently. They don't have a clue about Y2K or related snafus. And they don't want to know. Attitude of "It's not my problem."

Don't get seriously sick for the next two years.

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia, been there done that

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-- Leska (, December 30, 1998.

European Companies Work Against Time To Change Over To The Euro

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Huddled before paper-strewn desks and humming terminals, 80 Dresdner Bank employees were working around the clock to program computer systems to trade in Europe's common currency - the euro.

It was a scene repeated across Europe this weekend.

The euro became the currency of 11 European Union nations at the stroke of midnight Thursday. It hits the financial markets Monday, and hundreds of bank employees gave up their New Year's celebrations to help get ready.

``No one celebrated here last night. The champagne corks will pop on Jan. 5 - if everything has gone well,'' Zbynek Sokolovsky, Dresdner Bank's euro planning director, said Friday. Like most of the team preparing the switch, he wore a dark blue sweatshirt emblazoned with the EU logo of gold stars and the euro symbol: a large ``C'' with two short, horizontal slashes through the middle.

Dresdner Bank has 3,200 employees working to prepare for the euro. More than half of them, 1,700, are at different branches in Frankfurt, where the bank is based.

A key challenge is altering records to reflect the value in euros of shares denominated in other currencies. More than 4,000 separate computer procedures need reprogramming. Preparatory work began in 1996, but financial firms could carry out final reprograming only after the value was set Thursday in Brussels.

The Frankfurt-based European Central Bank, which now sets monetary policy for the euro bloc of nations, has 150 employees ready to intervene in case of glitches when trading begins, said spokesman Manfred Koerber.

If something goes wrong Monday, said Koerber, ``We need to find ways of getting payments made nevertheless.''

Financial industry workers in London also spent New Year's Day in their offices.

Britain is not joining the regional currency, but 500 international banks are based there, and 60 percent of shares traded in London are in non-British stocks. A third of the world's foreign exchange deals are made in London, six times more than in Frankfurt.

Peter Letley of HSBC Investment Bank PLC said that the City - as London's financial district is known - had been preparing for the euro for a couple of years. ``Ninety percent of the work has already been done,'' he told Sky TV.

David Clementi, deputy governor of the Bank of England, warned of possible mistakes next week that could cause transactions to fail and payments to be sent to the wrong bank accounts.

``Everybody is alert for that and during next week we will be monitoring the situation carefully,'' he told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. ``Our overall assessment is that the City is well-prepared.''
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-- Leska (, January 02, 1999.

How many think this same computer programmning rush will replay itself, globally, next year at this time, different topic? Y2K, de ja vu. -- Diane Warning. This link will disappear quite rapidly. Full-text below. art02.htm

Published Saturday, January 2, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News Financial firms race to reprogram networks for conversions to euro BY EDMUND L. ANDREWS New York Times BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Thursday was a day for champagne and confetti. Friday began the long weekend of strong coffee and takeout food. One day after 11 European countries christened the euro as their new currency, financial institutions across the continent began the enormous job of reprogramming their electronic networks before markets reopen Monday. In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank had more than 3,200 people working in shifts around the clock. In London, which remains Europe's financial center although Britain has not adopted the euro, 30,000 workers were camped out in trading rooms and back offices. And in countless smaller cities, local bank managers were converting accounts for customers who want statements in euros now. ``In technical terms, this is by far the most complicated effort we have ever attempted,'' said Susan Kirchhoff, J.P. Morgan's euro project director in London. ``It really is unprecedented.'' The conversion affects thousands of electronic networks involved in almost every aspect of exchanging money: systems that trade global currencies, that buy and sell stocks, that transfer money between banks, that manage customer accounts or simply print out bank statements. All must be ready Monday morning, and none of the actual conversion could begin until the close of business on New Year's Eve. Though euro notes and coins will not enter circulation until 2002, European banks and stock exchanges are required to carry out transactions in euros as soon as markets open Monday. But while almost every institution is bracing for technical glitches, financial executives are warily optimistic about a smooth start. Advance planning Most big banks and investment companies began planning a year ago and began writing new software and procedures months ago. Many banks and brokerage firms have carried out elaborate rehearsals. In France, financial regulators organized a full-scale test that simultaneously involved most of the nation's top banks, brokerage firms and exchanges. ``It's appropriate to have a healthy respect for the complexity of it, but I'm not really worried about it,'' said Mitchell Shivers, head of Merrill Lynch's global preparations for the euro. ``The financial industry has been well-prepared for this.'' Never before have so many separate financial institutions had to coordinate so much change in such a short period. Instead of pricing and trading stocks in 11 currencies, traders will suddenly have to do so in just one. Brokers' computer systems will have to calculate stock valuations, like price-earnings ratios, in euros even if the company still reports its earnings in marks or lira. Even more daunting is the wide range of institutions involved, most of which transfer vast amounts of money and data among each other over electronic networks. The list includes banks, stock exchanges, brokerage firms, clearing companies and big institutional investors. ``There have been so many different institutions that it will be a big job just getting these different lanes to work together,'' said Victor Bruns, who is coordinating euro conversion at Deutsche Bank. The most intense preparations are under way in London. Even though Britain has refused to join the euro for at least two more years, London's financial district remains Europe's biggest financial center -- particularly for companies that trade securities and raise capital for clients across Europe. Hotels in London have been booked solid for the weekend, in part because transit workers had threatened to strike on Sunday and companies feared they wouldn't be able to bring in workers from out of town. The strike has been postponed, but the hotels are still booked. J.P. Morgan has deployed about 800 technical and financial workers for its conversion efforts. Like most other big institutions, the company has carefully choreographed the entire procedure, based on its experience during several full-scale rehearsals in the past several months. Kirchhoff is overseeing the project from a central command room, which monitors progress on thousands of separate steps that have been scheduled in advance. Similar plans are under way at Merrill Lynch, which has about 900 workers on duty during the weekend. Shivers estimated that his company has to convert more than 200 systems around the world and is measuring progress against the schedule of 5,000 separate ``milestones'' -- each of which has scores of steps. One measure of the confidence about euro conversion is that financial institutions have not sought to delay or stretch out the process over a longer period. For all the complexity, the banks have not protested the timetable set by government leaders. ``We've gone through the entire conversion in our rehearsals and we've done it within the required time limits,'' said Kirchhoff at J.P. Morgan. ``We knew what was happening. We knew what was coming. It's definitely doable.'' Deutsche Bank began its planning more than a year ago and moved into intensive preparations as soon as European leaders decided last May which countries would take part in the euro. Bruns at Deutsche Bank estimates that the entire conversion would cost his company several hundred million dollars. But most banks would have spent considerable money anyhow on normal technological upgrades. In addition, banks are combining efforts on euro conversion with preparation for the year 2000 problem, which may afflict many computers a year from now. Protocols ironed out Industry executives say European leaders helped as well by smoothing out many procedural differences between countries. Until those differences, like the ways for calculating interest, could be reconciled, financial institutions had difficulty rewriting their own procedures. ``Our anxiety would have been a lot higher if we were doing this six months ago, because at that point there were a lot of protocols that had not yet been set,'' said Shivers of Merrill Lynch. But most of those problems were ironed out in the last several months, he said. That does not mean things have been easy. Actual conversion could not begin until after European leaders locked in their exchange rates on New Year's Eve. Indeed, most institutions had to wait until Friday because they had to close out their year-end books before embarking on the euro project. Another problem is that many banks have tested their systems in individual areas but not all at once. That is because they would have had to build almost an entirely separate storage system just to back up all their data. Banks have also had to deal with uncertainty among their corporate customers, many of which have been unsure about when to change their own accounts into euros. Under the laws governing the phase-in of the euro, non-financial institutions can continue to use local currencies until 2002. But as the euro's arrival has drawn nearer, many abruptly decided to convert sooner. As the euro weekend ended its first day Friday, industry executives and regulators said conversion appeared to be going smoothly. But no one knows what will happen Monday, when all of Europe's various financial players open for business under the new set of rules.

-- Diane J. Squire (, January 02, 1999.

Diane and other HTML-newbies:

Remember that as soon as you incorporate a hot link (or _any other_ HTML command) into your posting where you've also copied an article's text, this forum's software stops treating the blank lines that were in the article text as paragraph separators, so you have to add "<" + "p" + ">" (or other HTML formatting) to separate each paragraph of the article.

-- No Spam Please (, January 03, 1999.

No Spam Please,

Sorry. That was my first try with a long article. Think I've got the way of it now.


-- Diane J. Squire (, January 03, 1999.

There's a web site devoted to nothing but information on the Euro and a collection of articles on it.

"Euro Information"

-- Kevin (, January 03, 1999.

Here's a combination Y2k / euro website:

Year 2000 and euro: IT challenges of the century

which has recently evolved into a pair of websites:

Year 2000 computer problem at


IT impact of the Euro at (Check out the stork delivering the new baby euro!)

-- No Spam Please (, January 03, 1999.

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