World finally realizing it might have a problem : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

World finally realizing it might have a problem

Monday, April 12, 1999


Scripps Howard News Service

Taxi cab meters in Stockholm and Singapore have already broken down because of imbedded computer chip errors related to the infamous millennium bug.

The Russian Federation, if it fixed all of the problems in its critical computer systems, would have to spend nearly 7 percent of that struggling nation's gross domestic product. Virtually none of the critical government systems in Moscow have been repaired.

A telecommunications company in Great Britain has already committed to spending $600 million to correct thousands of programming and electronic errors that result because older mainframe systems cannot tell the difference between the years 1900 and 2000.

In short, the world is waking up to the frightening realization that many of its electronic technologies could, and probably will, fail in just eight months. Although it has dominated the news in the United States for nearly a year, the so-called Y2K bug is only now being realized in many developing nations.

"The Y2K problem requires much more attention than it has, so far, received. The good news is that over the last 12 months . . . a lot of good efforts have taken shape," concluded Carlos Braga of the World Bank. "The bad news is that time is running out, and in many cases countries have just started to address the problem."

The World Bank, under the auspices of the United Nations, has created an international volunteer group called the YES Corps (or Y2K Expert Service) seeking people worldwide with managerial, governmental, and technical skills necessary to help developing nations correct information technology systems and prepare contingency plans if systems fail next year.

The United States is well ahead of the rest of the world in correcting the computer problem. The federal government alone is spending at least $6 billion to repair and check its critical systems, nearly 20 percent of its entire budget for information technology.

But other nations are just beginning to address the issue and only recently have appointed committees and individuals to work on Y2K remediation.

"Some countries have gotten started later than others. But I think there is still time to address these problems," said Bruce W. McConnell, director of the Washington-based International Y2K Cooperation Center.

Professional computer programmers are less optimistic. "If you aren't already working on this problem, it's too late," said computer systems expert Ed Yourdon, author of the best-selling book "Year 2000 Time Bomb."

But United Nations technology experts argue that even belated efforts to prepare for the problem are better than total inaction. The UN approved creation of the international Y2K center, which opened its doors last month.

"Y2K is a global issue," said Ahmad Kamal, Pakistan ambassador to the UN and chairman of the United Nations Working Group on Informatics. "Only if we sustain a vision that goes beyond national and regional issues to a recognition of our global interdependence will we succeed."

The international center is both seeking volunteers to provide Y2K expertise and inviting nations to apply for help, information, and volunteers. Not all of the expertise is coming from the United States.

"The reality is that some of these countries, like India and South Africa, are exporting their expertise to other countries," said Howard A. Rubin, chairman of the department of computer science at Hunter College in New York City.

The most badly needed expertise, Rubin said, is in management skills to coordinate repair and contingency efforts. "The solution is not just in throwing programmers at the problem of making (computer) code conversion. We are looking for people with more broad-based experience in the problem," he said.

Copyright ) 1999 Bergen Record Corp.

-- Gayla Dunbar (, April 12, 1999



-- Gayla Dunbar (, April 12, 1999.

Hi Gayla, That was a good link. It is so frustrating all the spin that is out there. It really makes it hard to discuss the facts with people. Thanks for all your hard work. I wish I had more time to spend searching out things the way you do. I appreciate all the time everyone puts in on this.

-- Moore Dinty moore (, April 12, 1999.

I was just wondering if the U.S> being involved in a war has slowed down any of our efforts to fix the bug here at home?

I also wanted to mention that war often times leads to bad times economically. If this is still going on whenever Y2K comes My 4 or 5 opinions will probably become a 10 real quick!


-- OH (, April 12, 1999.


Thanks for posting this. I will probably pass this one on to others.

At the risk of showing my ignorance (again ;-) what is the Scripps Howard News Service? Do you have a link to this? Thanks again!

-- Deborah (, April 12, 1999.

sounds like those other countries need to hire a good PR firm...

-- a (a@a.a), April 12, 1999.

Thanks, Gayla.

Scripps Howard News Service is prestigious, Deborah.

Links to all their other newspapers & media: scrippsnet.cgi


-- Diane J. Squire (, April 12, 1999.

"sounds like those other countries need to hire a good PR firm... "

LOL! I nominate a@a for the first ever Koskinen parody sound-a-like award!


-- Arlin H. Adams (, April 13, 1999.

Also see this related link, the United Nations Y2K project... <:)=

Interesting New Sight --- International --- Volunteer y2k Corps

-- Sysman (, April 13, 1999.

Oh, and this link...

Q&A with Bruce McConnell, Director of IY2KCC <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 13, 1999.

"although it has dominated the news in the United States for nearly a year".........Dominated? REALLY? Guess I haven't been paying attention.

-- EYE ON Y2K (, April 13, 1999.


Thanks. I remember now, "The Penny Press" model for contemporary newspapers...duh.

Eye, "although it has dominated the news in the United States for nearly a year"...

Isn't that crazy?! If y2k dominated, what did the impeachment do?

-- Deborah (, April 13, 1999.


"Dominated"? I had to gag on that little bit of spin too.

Mike ===================================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, April 13, 1999.

Hhmmm. How many Y2K broad-based experienced successful management experts are going to volunteer their time in a foreign country? Aren't they drawing megabucks fixing ssshhhhhh glitches here? If they are that experienced, why would they want to get stranded in another country, especially now that Americans' popularity is enjoying such an upswing overseas. As in effigy.

xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, April 13, 1999.

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