What happened on 1/1/99?

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Given all the hype that there was about 99 (9999 & 9/9/99) as default values causing problems, did anything much happen on 1/1/99 or since? I heard about some Stockholm taxi company, or was it in Singapore? Have there been many other 99 failures? Or 1 year look ahead failures? There seems to be a lot of hot air to date, and not much evidence!

FYIs: European banks managed to introduce the euro into just about every computer system VERY VERY smoothly (there were a few minor errors, usually involving billions of euros, but they were few & far between - I work for a European bank). Doesn't this make things look a little less dramatic. I don't worry about banks, they're busy testing with each other at this very moment. I worry more about transport, government, health, etc.

-- Tony Maye (tonymaye@yahoo.com), February 04, 1999


wrong. do your research, troll

-- stamp out trolls (trollfinder@alert.com), February 04, 1999.

Given all the effort and the European priority (Euro) where does this leave Y2K remediation in Europe. The scarce resources were assigned to Euro, now Y2K is comiing down the track.


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), February 04, 1999.

"...a few minor errors, usually involving billions of euros, but they were few & far between...."

If I were the supposed owner of a "few billion euros" that were mine any more, I'd be more than "minor" upset.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), February 04, 1999.

Year 2000 Problem Sightings

-- Other Lisa (LisaWard2@aol.com), February 04, 1999.

Whoever unjustly branded Tony Maye a "troll" either hasn't been around very long, has a short memory or is simply malicious.

Some of you (who are enamoured or limericks) will remember this:

Tony Maye is new, and wonders just like you, "Am I nuts, or just a putz, or maybe it's all true!"

You may also remember that we all welcomed him to the forum, offered him our moral suport and even solicited his perspective as an insider in European banking.

S.O.B. was right on the money to warn us about "friendly fire"!

How about some serious and thoughtful replies to Tony's quite legitimate questions?


I have participated in discussions as far back as 1996 concerning Y2K and the "9s" problem. It was never given a lot of credence as a major event by anyone I heard, and only seemed to be a possible and obscure thing. As for the Euro, I'd be very interested in hearing what you have to tell us about how it went and whatever you think relevant about its introduction.

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), February 04, 1999.

Tony: Here is a list of Y2K failures - with verifiable sources and links - it includes 1/99 problems.


-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), February 04, 1999.

A small complication for the euro (Electronic Telegraph, 31 January 1999):

Mafia prints millions of counterfeit euros

THE Italian Mafia has printed millions of counterfeit euro banknotes which are already in circulation, police intelligence sources have told The Telegraph.

The disclosure is the first "concrete evidence", as one officer described it, that criminal gangs are stockpiling huge amounts of euros in order to flood the currency markets when the notes are officially brought into circulation in 2002.

Officers from Britain's National Criminal Intelligence Service, which gathers information about international crime, said that the emergence of fake notes so soon after the euro's launch this month confirmed what they have long feared - that the new European currency will be accompanied by a huge rise in money-laundering, counterfeiting and bank robberies.

The new evidence comes just weeks after Serge Bertholme, the treasurer of the Bank of Belgium, gave the most candid acknowledgment yet by a European central banker of the dangers the new currency poses because of its susceptibility to organised crime.

He told a conference organised by the London law firm Stephenson Harwood: "The risk for counterfeiting will be very high since the euro banknotes will be widely used. Organised crime is increasing and modern reproduction technology offers the opportunity to produce fairly good copies of any printed picture."

He said that the European Union's institutional framework for fighting forgers was "far from . . . satisfactory". Although the euro would circulate freely inside and outside the euro-zone, legislation and law enforcement agencies were nationally based. This "dramatically" increased the counterfeiting threat, Mr Bertholme admitted.

Italian police, who have been liaising with NCIS and Europol, the EU-wide police force, say that the fake notes have been designed using the website on the internet which contains details of the currency.

The notes are in circulation because many people in Italy believe they are already legal tender and have been duped into exchanging them for lire. Although the euro has been traded by banks since January 1, notes and coins will not be introduced until January 2002.

Police in Britain, which initially is staying outside the "Euroland" of 11 EU countries signed up to the euro, have also uncovered evidence that organised criminals throughout Europe are buying huge amounts of sterling in preparation for the launch.

Gangsters throughout Europe will have to transfer their illegal cash - more than #100 billion of cash in Europe is of dubious origin - into a form that will survive the pulping of the 11 Euroland currencies in 2002.

For some, this will mean buying gold, diamonds or non-European currencies. But for others it will mean turning to EU currencies not involved in the Euro.

Wayne Smith, the head of specialist crime at NCIS, said there already were signs that criminals were shifting their assets into sterling. He said: "We have identified a significant rise in the number of people already coming to Britain to exchange large sums of cash into pounds at bureaux de change."

Cut and pasted by

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), February 04, 1999.


I'm no expert on this, but I do remember reading that many organizations are currently holding off the JAE by way of date manipulation....a good example are the seven or so states I read about that couldn't process unemployment benefits if they put in dates past 12/31/99 as the end date for paying out benefits. To "solve" this, they simply reduced the term of payout and put in 12/31/99. This, of course, is no solution at all, but a finger in the dam to hold back the water temporarily. Also, I would not expect corporations who have experienced JAE (which was to mostly hit internal accounting systems, from my recollection) to shout it from the rooftop....not something to be very proud of.

Whatever. Only time will tell. Any attempt at using the JAE as a predictor of Y2K fallout is seriously flawed (IMHO).

-- abcdGoldfish (mnoGoldfish@osar.com), February 04, 1999.

I guess we've forgotten bold statements like the enclosed, from Westergaard in '97:

Why the Euro Currency Can't Happen

By Adam Kaplan May 29, 1997

Reports this morning that the German government and its central bank are in a brouhaha over Helmut Kohl's plan to accommodate the transition to a eurocurrency in 1999 by revaluing the country's gold reserves reminds us once again to alert readers that eurocurrency in 1999 is a dead issue and why they bother to keep talking about it is mystifying.

There must be a large army of bureaucrats and editorialists who have a vested interested in promoting the euro idea. It is evident that voters in Great Britain and France do not want it. It is also evident that it can't be accomplished in the face of the upcoming year 2000 date conversion fiasco to which the Europeans, with exception of the British, remain still in denial. Amazing, amazing!!!

You look at the stupidity of European leadership that cannot grapple with a simple management problem of getting year 2000 date conversion done and you realize why Europe suffered The Great War, parts I (1914 to 1918) and II (1939 to 1945). Stupid, stupid people. Our friends tell us Tony Blair understands the dimensions of the problem and intends to convoke a world congress this fall. Good news if it's true. We'll see!!!

Talk about stupidity, we are told, admittedly second hand but from a reliable source, that President Clinton and Veep Gore were told about the Y2K problem 18 months ago. Clinton understood it immediately. Gore didn't. Clinton told Gore to deal with it. Gore hasn't!!! Hmmm...

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), February 04, 1999.

The Europeans had to check virtually every line of source code for the euro, do you think they were too daft to check Y2K compliance at the same time. Anyway, the point I was making was that the euro was a success. Does this not raise confidence in corporate competence when it comes to Y2K?

As far as a few billion euros is concerned, I was speaking rather tongue in cheek. The only few billion euros that I know about (and Im an auditor for a major bank) were credited by accident to customers accounts. It was a scare of course, but immediately recovered. I was expecting MUCH worse.

Thank those who managed to give me a sensible answer. And to hardliner for the comprehension. I was of course expecting some You dont agree with me therefore youre a dummy responses, which help no-one. Whats a troll when hes at home anyway?

Theres a minor problem with your news cutting Old Git : The euro is NOT yet in circulation, so any gangsters silly enough to use any would be caught red-handed!

-- Tony Maye (tonymaye@yahoo.com), February 05, 1999.


You said, "The Europeans had to check virtually every line of source code for the Euro, do you think they were too daft to check Y2K compliance at the same time."

If I didn't know better, I would think you're claiming that all EU banks are now Y2K compliant. That would be fantastic news...much better news than the news here that some U.S. banks missed their December 31, 1998 deadline for remediation.

I also hope the bank you're an auditor for hasn't made loans to any of the 50% of German businesses that are projected to have at least one of their mission-critical systems fail by January, 2000.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), February 05, 1999.

No Kevin, I'm not THAT daft, but what I am saying that a lot of the Y2K work was done in conjunction with euro conversion, and that since the euro went well i feel better about y2k than i did a few months ago.

If this is of interest, here is a posting I made to another (non-Y2K) board on the situation yesterday. Feel free to pick holes in my arguments, if things are going to go wrong I'd like to know in advance:

The countdown has begun : tomorrow is the 330th day BEFORE Y2K. Since airline reservation systems have a 330 day lookahead, problems are predicted as of tomorrow (of the kind experienced with expiry dates on credit cards and sell-by dates on food). There's been a lot of hype about dates in 1999 that could cause problems, we already survived one (1/1/99 : which in theory could cause problems for programs that use 99 in the year field to mean 'invalid' or 'end of file'). There WERE problems on 1/1/99, but not THAT many. The next high-risk dates are 9th April 99 which is the 99th day of 99 and is therefore represented as 9999 in the Julian calendar (used by some systems/applications) - we'll then see if any silly billies have used 9999 to mean 'invalid' or 'end of file'. The same goes of course for 9/9/99 although I worry less about that one since this date will be stored internally as 090999 or 990909 which shouldn't cause a problem. Some people are predicting problems on e.g. 10/1/2000 as it's the first date in 2000 with 5 (or 7) digits, but that's just silly. Computers use fixed width fields, so just as 9/9/99 is 090999 or 990909, 10/1/2000 will be 100100 or 000110. No, the only date other than 9th April that I think will cause a problem (apart from the obvious 1/1/2000) is 23rd August 1999 when Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) clocks tick round from week 1023 (or is it 2047?) to week 0. Since these systems are used not only for navigation, but also for giving the exact time to critical systems, any dependent systems that don't take this week change into account could experience errors. The nice things about all these dates coming now is that they may give us an idea of the degree of problems that might occur on 1/1/2000. Given the few problems on 1/1/99, I feel confident. I may change my mind on April 9. Hold on to your hats. The financial world is obviously not taking any of this into account as they soar to ever dizzier heights (despite the fact that banks are shifting investments away from high risk sectors & countries, and are taking Y2K into consideration when granting credits). If things go wrong it may turn out very bad indeed.

Whilst on the subject of Y2K, I've basically stopped all follow-up of the preparations of our subsidiaries and am focusing on centralised testing. This weekend is a big one as our test systems (representing all the systems in the bank) tick over from 31/12/99 to 1/1/2000 on Friday/Saturday. It's a real headache to organise the tests, as there are teens of people involved in the foreground, and hundreds in the background. The biggest problem has been ageing the data to make it look real. The systems were set to 22/12/99 last Wednesday, and it's taken until today to get the data synchronised. Today and tomorrow data is being pumped into the systems to represent all major transactions (including from external systems such as ATMs, petrol pumps, credit card companies, etc.) and especially those that have an expiry or due date beyond 1/1/2000. I think there'll be lots of fun on Monday trying to work out what has happened. The whole thing has to be synchronised with all the other banks & financial institutions (clearing houses, SWIFT, VISA, the Stock Exchange, ...), so the same scenario is being played out all across the country (and probably the world). There are daily meetings at 9am to discuss the progress. It's a little weird to walk into a meeting room at 9am with 30/12/1999 on the projector and to hear people talking about tomorrow the 31st, or next Monday the 3rd January, ..... Surreal, but interesting.

BTW, given all these preparations (especially in Europe where we already survived the euro implementation), financial institutions, and especially the banks are well prepared for Y2K. Your money is safe! Worry more about telecomms, governm

FYIs, today is the 31st December 1999. Data is continuing to be entered into our test systems. Tonight the input to systems will be cut, and once all transactions are flushed through, they will be stopped and the century will tick over. Tomorrow morning, the systems will be restarted and standard jobs will be run. On Monday, the situation will be analysed and test transactions input again. Testing with clearing houses, other banks, etc. starts on Monday. The reason the systems are being stopped is to see if this is a viable option for the real Y2K, as it may cause more problems (and will certainly cause more work) than simply leaving them on. If they are left on however, then the century roll-over will have to be fully tested. It strikes me that it's better to do the work now and minimise the work for 1/1/2000. Continuing on from my argument about the euro, this is called STEP8 in a series of 12 steps to test euro & Y2K. The first 7 steps took place in 1998 and were focused mainly on the euro.

If anyone is interested, I'll be happy to make a status report next week.

-- Tony Maye (tonymaye@yahoo.com), February 05, 1999.

To Tony and the Forum: I am a 25 year veteran of the computer industry and I am preparing my family for any Y2K problems. However, I have found it very interesting that there are very few comments in the computer trade journals and the regular media about problems associated with Jan. 1, 1999. I emailed Ed Yourdon and he admitted that there were very few problems, SO FAR. I don't know if Ed was inferring that he feels that many companies have "setback" their clocks on the computers to buy a little more time? Maybe another 2-3 months will be all that is needed to get many companies and government agencies programs corrected for the Jan. 1, 1999 date change? I have researched Y2K for over 2 years now and I am amazed at how few articles have been written on the Jan. 1, 1999 issues. Does this mean that our corporations and government agencies are getting the job done? I don't know. Why? Because I can't get enough information on it...and apparently Ed Yourdon can't either!! Some of my friends scream, "media conspiracy". Think about it...there are too many corporations and too many government workers to bottle up this story. The definition of a conspiracy is that EVERYONE has to conspire together. Well folks, there are just too many players to keep this story under your hat. Although I cannot logically conclude that we are better of than I had thought a year ago.... this lack of information is leading me to believe that we are. Lets face it... if April 9, 1999 goes by with a minimum of problems, then I guess good old American grit, work and ingenuity is winning the battle. We should all be happy if this is true. Thanks for listening. Dye Hawley, Otis Orchards, WA.

-- Dye Hawley (coexusa@icehouse.net), February 05, 1999.

On the surface, the setup appears correct for your phase of testing.

Good luck, let us know what happens. Never said the problem was impossible to solve, just very tedious, and difficult to "test" completely with all affected "live" data.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), February 05, 1999.

hey, who's the troll now?

-- tony (tonymaye@yahoo.com), March 10, 2005.

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