READ ONLY - Y2K List of Failures Part 2 - Please do not post to this thread : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

10. Source: Business Today

(This article is also about the embedded systems problem. Below is an excerpt)

Millennium Bug has burrowed in deep to some systems By Lou Kilzer/Scripps Howard News Service

John Jenkins, CEO of TAVA Technologies in Colorado, says there is hope. ``I'm not someone who runs around and bangs a gong and says the sky is falling,'' said Jenkins, whose company has won Y2K fix-it contracts with several major firms, including General Motors. ``A lot of these problems can be corrected by a reboot.'' But some cannot. Overall, the failure rate of embedded systems could be between 1 percent and 3 percent. But in special cases, that number increases. At one hospital, technicians found that 10 percent to 15 percent of medical devices were not Y2K compliant, Jenkins said. In some systems that use custom code, three in 10 had Year 2000 problems. (Excerpts)

Some people think the millennium bug is a hollow threat, and others think it will have cataclysmic consequences. Mainers who are still on the fence about the threatened computer glitch associated with the dawning of the year 2000 may want to consider the experiences of three companies that have already been bitten by the so-called Y2K bug. It struck at UNUM Corp. in Portland in 1995 when it ate part of a list of brokers with whom the insurance company does business. At Consumers Maine Water Co., the bug infested 18 microprocessors hidden inside panels that control water quality and monitor treatment systems. And at Valcom in South Portland, a computer training and consulting company, the millennium bug had been hidden away in the hardware of personal computers it tests for businesses and individuals.

All three Maine companies that found problems were able to fix their computers. David Bettinger, a computer consultant at CST 2000 in Portland, said not all repairs will be so cheap and in some cases, the entire machine or system must be replaced. "In some cases, the chip may be soldered to the board,'' he said. "Then it does become an expensive situation.''

11. Source: Forbes (This article is also about the embedded systems problem and interdependency. Below is an excerpt)

Embedded trouble By Srikumar S. Rao

Warns G.K. Jayaram, chairman of Transformation Systems, a Princeton, N.J. information technology consulting firm: "Come 2000 there will be rolling blackouts across much of the U.S." "In tests, several utilities have suffered system crashes as the date rolls over to 01/01/2000," says Jayaram. "Our electricity transmission network is so highly interconnected that a failure in one sector can easily cascade to others thousands of miles away."

12. Source: Canoe/Reuters

(This article is about how Canada is setting up a "war room" to monitor year 2000 woes. Below is an excerpt that is a quote from Marcel Masse, the minister assigned to oversee federal preparations)

OTTAWA, Jan 13 (Reuters)

"We expect that there will be some glitches. Our goal is to minimize the possible disruption of service to Canadians," he said. "We must prepare and prevent; but we should not panic." Citing possible problems, he described how one Canadian municipality was testing its water system for Year 2000 compliance and found that a subsystem started dumping in too many chemicals, causing a shutdown for a few hours.

13. Source: PC Magazine online

"Recently Scientific American collected some of the Y2K problems affecting both individuals and organizations that have already occurred:"

* A Minnesota woman who is over 100 years old received an invitation to attend kindergarten in her hometown, following a computer error.

* In 1993 Boeing, which uses proprietary networked software to prepare parts orders seven years before filing the orders, got a flood of error messages because of misinterpretation of the date seven years out.

* Unum Life Insurance Co. deleted hundreds of records from a financial reporting database after one of the company's computers mistook "00" in a date field for 1900.

* Amway Corp., which uses networked PCs to track the expiration dates of chemicals it mixes, had a string of chemicals rejected by the network because the expiration dates seemed to be in the year 1900.

14. Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Two short excerpts from the article)

Curious about what would happen when the new millennium ticks in, a water-purification plant in Utah set its clocks ahead to Jan. 1, 2000. With computers ill-equipped to handle the new date, the plant malfunctioned, dumping poisonous quantities of chlorine and other chemicals into the water. It is one story in an arsenal of anecdotes employed by Sen. Bob Bennett, who is preaching preparedness for the so-called ``Year 2000 Problem,'' also known as ``Y2K.''

Bennett's story raises the specter that it also could adversely affect the water supply. Not only could a Y2K glitch cause the wrong mix of chemicals, it could lead to water shortages. Y2K-caused power failures could disrupt sewage-treatment plants, causing sewage to back up into basements or spill into waterways, some of which are used for drinking water.

15. Source: Tampa Bay Online

(I post the following to remind us all that there are computers failures all of the time, even without Y2K, some of them serious - deadly serious. Add these in with actual Y2K related failures and I think you get the message.)

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - People across the country are finding some disturbing information when they open their W-2 forms: They've been declared dead. The problem appears to be that employers used new W-2 forms with old computer software programs. As a result, an ``X'' that should have been printed in the "pension'' box appeared in the space denoting ``deceased.'' At New Mexico State University, hundreds of employees opened their tax forms this week to find an ``X'' printed under the word ``deceased.'' The same thing happened last week to 13,000 city employees in Dallas. In Saratoga Springs, N.Y., 350 municipal employees were listed as ``deceased'' on their W-2's. In Dickson, Okla., schoolteachers were checked off as dead. In Muscogee County, Ga., the tax forms of 6,000 school employees had the fatal flaw. And in Fargo, N.D., state university workers were victims.

16. Source: Denver Post (Excerpt)

What was supposed to have been an inoculation against the millennium bug instead caused a billing snafu at WestPlains, a unit of UtiliCorp United Inc. of Kansas City, Mo. UtiliCorp, which serves customers in eight states, recently installed a new billing system to protect against the Y2K bug. The bug is a programming oddity that can cause a computer to read 2000 as 1900. The billing system got off to a smooth start in Kansas last year. But it had trouble computing bills in Colorado for the small percentage of WestPlains customers whose monthly electricity and gas use had to be estimated. Similar problems may have occurred in Minnesota, Kort said. A utility estimates power use if a meter reader can't get to a customer's meter for any reason, like a snowstorm or a mean dog. The utility doesn't know the precise cause of the billing error, or the number of people who were sent electricity bills typically $70 to $90 off the mark.

17. Source: Computer Reseller News - February 01, 1999, Issue: 827


Some CompTIA folks recently visited water treatment plants in Nebraska to test controllers for Y2K problems at municipal water treatment facilities. Within hours, coliform bacteria showed up in the water systems, meaning some embedded processors aren't quite ready for the new millennium. What's more, there are over 1,000 similar water treatment systems around the country.

Confessions Of A Year 2000 Victim - Heather Clancy


It seems that last month, my bank, which I won't name in this column out of deference to the future of my account balance, has been very diligent in ensuring that its systems will be fully prepared for the dreaded millennium bug. Earlier this month, when I called to inquire about why my statement was taking so long to arrive, I was told the compliance switch was flipped in late December. Thus, the entire statement cycle had been thrown off. Not to worry. At the time, I was impressed by my bank's attention to year 2000 compliance. What neither I nor my bank branch managers realized at the time, however, was that the fix had also obliterated two weeks' worth of account information. You guessed it, by some twist of fate, the very period for which I desperately needed documentation had been unceremoniously vaporized. Fortunately, several frantic phone calls-and the existence of good old-fashioned checks and deposit statements to back up the electronic record-helped the bank and I recover the missing data.

18. Source: Chicago Tribune - By Cornelia Grumman Tribune Staff Writer January 31, 1999,1575,ART-22577,00.html (Excerpts)

In a less-than-sweet bit of confectionary computing, salespeople at Godiva Chocolatier in Water Tower Place last fall couldn't swipe credit cards that expired in the year 2000 or beyond. A clerk there eventually figured out that entering a fake 1999 expiration date by hand allowed the transactions to go through. A University of Chicago hospital billing system briefly malfunctioned six months ago because it is programmed to automatically project 18 months in advance and could not handle the changeover to 2000. Patients could not be registered in the computer for a day. The first Monday in January this year, nearly half the 85 employees of David Sterling's insurance company in Great Neck, N.Y., were locked out when they returned to work from the holiday weekend. A tiny microchip in the brand new security system Sterling installed last fall was unable to handle employee card keys encoded with an expiration date that included 00. "I didn't believe all that stuff about Y2K when I read about it, but I experienced it," Sterling said. "I'm not one of these alarmist people, but I'm going to stock up on some bottled water and maybe a few canned goods." Several hundred taxpayers last year, for example, received notices from the Internal Revenue Service that they owed $30 million. John Yost, who heads the IRS's Year 2000 efforts, acknowledged the notices were an unintended side effect of the agency's effort to bring its system into Year 2000 compliance.

Source: Chicago Tribune - By Cornelia Grumman Tribune Staff Writer February 26, 1999,1051,SAV-9902260226,00.html (Thanks to poster "Deborah " for the tip on this article. It is an example of failures that are directly attributable to when testing is not performed, or performed incompletely. Excerpts follow)

Commonwealth Edison apologized Thursday for the problems thousands of its 3.4 million customers have been experiencing in recent months because of bugs in its new customer information system. The state's largest utility took out large ads in major Northern Illinois newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, expressing regret "for any inconvenience, concern and frustration the billing problems may have caused you." Since July, at least 200,000 customers--including residential, commercial and industrial--have experienced headaches ranging from no bills to estimated bills, late payment charges for bills they never received and trouble getting through to customer service agents. ComEd traces the problems to the hurried installation last July of an Andersen Consulting system. Worried about Year 2000 compliance, new tax laws and last August's 15 percent discount for residential customers, utility officials wanted the new billing and metering software activated before fully testing it.

19. Source: The Cincinnati Post 2/6/1999 Y2K glitches already hit auditor office - By Kimball Perry, Post staff reporter


A tricky conversion to a new computer accounting system is causing some Hamilton County workers to wait for paychecks and some companies who do business with the county to wait for payment. Some of the Department of Human Services' cars can't be used because they are out of gas. The credit cards assigned to the workers who use the cars aren't allowing new charges because the bill hasn't been paid. Some county employees received incorrect pay or benefits. 'I've got 300 people here, and I had 10 bad checks. If you're one of the 10, it's a major problem,' said Tom Gould, chief deputy Clerk of Courts.

20. Source: Excite (Reuters) (Update on the W2's failure - Excerpt)

In Dallas, about 13,000 city employees enrolled in pension plans received W-2s -- the forms that tell workers how much they have paid in various payroll deductions -- with the "deceased" box checked. The problem was caused by old computer software used with a W-2 form that put the "deceased" box where the "pension" box use to be, the Dallas city controller told Reuters Wednesday. The same problem affected some 350 municipal employees in Saratoga Springs, New York and the Chicago Tribune reported. similar snags in New Mexico and Oklahoma. The IRS had no information on the national number of errors or whether the forms would have to be reissued. The agency did confirm that it relies on computerized data when processing income tax returns and that the W-2s are merely a backup and for its files.

21. Source: Associated Press

For Some, Y2K Is Already Causing Problems - 2/10/99


The Year 2000 computer problem is not only striking fear in the hearts of computer system operators, Sen. John McCain says. It's also bringing up dollar signs in the eyes of unscrupulous attorneys. McCain, R-Ariz., has introduced a bill that would limit the amount of damages plaintiffs can collect from companies that cause business failures or sell products that fail because of the problem, also known as the Y2K glitch. Some frivolous lawsuits already have been filed, McCain, who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, told panel members Tuesday. Small businessman Mark Yarsike asked the committee to reject the idea, saying a Y2K glitch turned his first day as a gourmet produce grocer into a nightmare. Happy customers who streamed in and picked out purchases quickly became angry after store clerks tried to ring up purchases on the store's sparkling new $100,000 high-tech computer system. It crashed after clerks tried to process credit cards set to expire in 2000. "People were waiting with full carts of groceries to pay but couldn't,'' he told the committee. "We could not process a single credit card or could not take cash or checks. We could not make one sale.''

22. Source: The Ottawa Citizen

Y2K bug: The first hit - Ron Corbett


Although it isn't as apocalyptic, here's a Y2K problem you've never heard of before. And there's nothing possible about it. It's already happened. The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, in what it admits is a Y2K gaffe, has recently sent out hundreds of notices of fines for traffic infractions that, according to the government, will occur nearly 100 years in the future. "We have received a number of phone calls about this," says Ministry of Attorney General spokesmen Brendan Crawley. "We have met with our technical people, and they have met with the company that produces our notices, and we have identified the problem. "It occurred on a production run while the company was working on making itself Y2K compatible. "No one caught the mistakes, and the notices went out."

23. Source: The Irish Times

Most Y2K bugs will occur - before 2000 - expert - By Karlin Lillington

(While not an actual failure, I felt that this was related enough to be of interest. Consider the source, and his job, and his opinions in light of the failures already posted to this thread, and the many more failures that have undoubtedly occurred which have been swept under the rug that we know nothing about. Selected excerpts follow.)

Y2K: Most computer failures due to the Year 2000 problem will occur well before January 1st, 2000, and contingency plans need to be in place to handle failures by the end of the second quarter of this year, according to Mr Ian Hugo, assistant director of the British Year 2000 action group, Taskforce 2000, and editor of Millennium Watch, a Year 2000 newsletter. "I'm sure that the focus on the first of January, 2000 is wrong," said Mr Hugo during a lecture at Trinity College on Wednesday. He believes that 10 per cent of failures have already occurred (whether detected or not), about 60 per cent of failures will happen during this year, and only about 30 per cent will take place on January 1st or after. All countries are dangerously lagging in their preparations for Y2K, he said, but English-speaking countries are in better shape than others. In Europe, "France and Italy are nowhere", he said, while Germany is behind. The Scandinavian and Benelux countries are in better shape. But according to a Taskforce2000 survey last year, only 45 per cent of the London Times top 1,000 companies reached a benchmark position for Y2K preparedness. Some 10 to 20 per cent of the remainder are "seriously behind", which is "a serious percentage of the total UK economy", said Mr Hugo.

24. Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Test for Y2K problem causes errors on monthly sewer bills Saturday, February 13, 1999 By Phil Sutin


About 50,000 residential customers of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District got incorrect monthly bills this week after a computer program was tested to see if it had a year 2000 problem. Terry Briggs, an MSD spokesman, said a staff programmer was testing the district's customer billing program to make sure it was compatible with the year 2000. To test the computer, the programmer entered 800 cubic feet as the amount of water consumed; the amount is the average monthly water usage of residential customers. The bill for a customer using that much water is $13.23, plus the 24-cent storm water charge everyone pays.

25. Source: Globe and Mail Geac shares bitten badly by Y2K bug problems - Stock falls 29% after company's profit warning Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - TYLER HAMILTON

(It is early March 1999, and Wall Street still does not have a Y2K clue, which is good news for those of you who still have their hard-earned money in equities. Check out this story. Many more like it will be following in the upcoming weeks/months. So, don't push your luck. Excerpt follows)

Geac Computer Corp. Ltd. stock fell 29 per cent yesterday after the company warned that the year 2000 computer bug will gnaw a sizable chunk out of its third-quarter software sales and profit. The announcement follows a string of warnings from Canadian and U.S. software firms, all of which say that fixing the year 2000 computer problem is sucking money out of customers' budgets and leaving little for new orders.

26. Source: MSNBC (Excerpts)

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 15 - The Y2K bug forced the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to spend $600,000 to replace 100 breathalyzer machines. Intoximeters Inc., a St. Louis-based breathalyzer manufacturer sent letters to law enforcement agencies warning them to buy new machines or risk faulty tests that might not hold up in court. The agency now must conduct 120 classes to train an estimated 6,000 officers from the various law enforcement agencies on how to operate the machines, Le said. The department expects to have everything in place by the end of the year

27. Source: Computerworld New Zealand

Y2K: a matter of life and death - Clinical equipment fails Y2K tests despite vendor guarantee of compliance by Paul Brislen


Y2K has become literally a matter of life or death. Clinical equipment in some hospitals will fail on January 1, 2000 if it is not fixed or replaced. "We've looked at six patient-controlled intravenous pumps and four weren't compliant," says Andre Snoxall, manager of information systems at Taranaki Healthcare. "Two of these would have allowed the patient to double-dose if one dose were applied before midnight and one after. The other two do the same, and then they stop working altogether." Alarmingly, Snoxall says they still have eight more pumps to check. "We expect half of them fail as well." But the most disturbing aspect of this discovery is that Snoxall has a written statement from the manufacturer assuring him of the devices' compliance.

28. Source: Cedar Rapids Gazzette No 'guarantees' of power supply - By Dale Kueter

(A link to this article was posted on the CBN site. The url is - Two Excerpts follow)

MidAmerican Energy in Des Moines expects to spend $15 million on the problem. Spokesman Kevin Waetke says 100 people in the utility are directing part of their time to Y2K. Bob Newell, Alliant's Y2K project manager, says the company has a goal of being Y2K-ready by April 1. The utility completed an inventory of potential problems last year. The biggest concerns, he says, are not internal, but those associated with suppliers of computer elements at control centers and generation sites. Newell says some controls provided by vendors failed three times. Last year the company purchased 50 laptop computers, all supposedly Y2K-ready. Half failed tests. Newell says Alliant surveyed 6,000 vendors to see whether their products are Y2K-compliant. The company is waiting for "fixes" from 65 suppliers. All should be installed by April 1, he says. Allan Thoms, chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board, is confident there will be no major disruptions in electric power, "but I think there will be some failures..." Thoms tells of a utility in England that believed it had fixed all Y2K problems. It spun the computer clocks ahead to Jan. 1, 2000. One of its coal plants hummed along for 20 seconds, then stopped. After additional checking, the firm discovered a temperature indicator that had a date and time embedded chip.

29. Source: Bank Rate Monitor By Laura A. Bruce, 2/26/1999

(Thanks to poster "lowprofile" for the link on this. There is more to this article than just the excepts below. Also discussed are the affects, from a litigation perspective, of the lack of standardized definitions for terms such as 'compliant' and 'Y2K ready' - Now think about the estimated $1 Trillion dollars in litigation costs from Y2K - Excerpts follow)

When a clerk at Produce Palace, an upscale grocery store in Warren, Mich., tried to process a customer's credit card, the cash register crashed. Sometimes, just one credit-card swipe could make all 10 of the store's registers crash. The store had to take the customers' word that their credit was good. Clerks handed out roses to unhappy customers who had to wait while charges were hand-written. In what is believed to be the first Y2K-related lawsuit, Produce Palace sued Atlanta-based TEC America, a leading supplier of information systems and equipment, including electronic cash registers. Produce Palace had shelled out $100,000 for the 10-register system in April 1995. According to the lawsuit, Produce Palace was promised that the TEC system would meet their needs better than any of the products of TEC's competitors and that they'd have a system free of problems. Instead, the grocery store says it bought a system that couldn't process credit cards that expired on, or after, the year 2000. The system was down 150 of the first 500 days that it was online. The lawsuit was recently settled for $260,000. Produce Palace attorney Brian Parker calls it a "nuts-and-bolts warranty litigation case."

30. Source: NRC Office of the Executive Director for Operations - Weekly Information Report

(Here is an excerpt from the weekly report of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding a Y2K Failure)

Peach Bottom Unit 2: Loss of Plant Monitoring System Computers During Y2K Testing

On February 8, 1999, while performing testing for a Y2K remediation modification to the Unit 2 rod worth minimizer (RWM) system, operators experienced a lock-up of both the primary and backup plant monitoring system (PMS) computers. As a result, operators also lost the following PMS-supported systems for about seven hours: safety parameter display system (SPDS), emergency response data system (ERDS), and 3D Monicore thermal limit monitoring system. Engineers had taken the backup PMS computer off-line and had advanced the PMS clock to a year 2000 Date. This led to a lockup of the backup PMS, and the system transferred to the primary, on-line PMS computer. The engineers did not recognize that the system had transferred and, believing that the original command was not accepted, again advanced the system clock, causing the primary PMS to lock up also. Several initial attempts to restore the PMS computers were unsuccessful, and operators determined that this constituted a major loss of emergency assessment capability. The PMS computers are not Y2K compliant, but the engineers believed that this would not impact the testing. Operators did not expect the testing would affect the on-line PMS computer. However, before the testing began, operators took contingency actions to lower Unit 2 power slightly to ensure shift average power levels were not exceeded. The licensee plans to perform a full root cause analysis of this event.

-- Rob Michaels (, March 05, 1999

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