Gov't. Y2K Expert Predicts Failures : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

By TED BRIDIS Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Computer failures related to the Year 2000 technology problem could extend well beyond New Year's Day, President Clinton's top Y2K expert said Thursday.

Although John Koskinen predicted a national ``sigh of relief'' in the early hours of Jan. 1, he also anticipates scattered electronic failures over the first days, weeks and even months of the new year.

Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, said in an interview with The Associated Press that some failures may not become obvious until the end of January, the first time after the date rollover that consumers review their monthly bank statements, credit-card bills and other financial paperwork.

``It won't evaporate until after that,'' Koskinen said. ``Clearly, this is more than a January 1 problem.'' But he also slightly hedged his predictions: ``None of us are really going to know until after January 1.''

Unless repaired, some computers originally programmed to recognize only the last two digits of a year will not work properly beginning in 2000, when those machines will assume it is 1900.

Some computer systems may shut down quickly with obvious failures, and others may gradually experience subtle problems or degraded performance that may take weeks to notice.

``The more difficult problem will be where the system looks like it's doing it correctly but it's doing it all wrong,'' Koskinen said.

Some failures won't be recognized until the work week starts Jan. 3, as employees return to their offices and turn on their computers for the first time.

Repaired computers also will need to recognize 2000 as a leap year, even though most years ending in ``00'' don't need to adjust for Feb. 29, he said.

A new $40 million Information Coordination Center being organized down the street from the White House will operate until March, sharing information about failures with states, federal agencies, corporations and foreign governments.

Koskinen urged people to prepare for possible trouble as they might for a winter storm or a hurricane: Buy flashlights and batteries, keep enough cash, food and water for several days and make copies of financial and medical records.

But he also cautioned against stockpiling supplies, which could lead to local shortages, or draining bank accounts, which could strain the nation's financial system.

``If we get a couple hundred million Americans doing anything differently, we're going to create economic problems,'' he said.

An AP poll this month found most Americans don't expect major problems, but nearly one-third plan to stock up on food, water and other supplies. About one-quarter of Americans planned to withdraw cash in case of trouble.

Koskinen predicted the most widespread problems will occur in developing nations that were slow to begin repair work. He named certain regions that recently suffered financial problems, including Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia. But he acknowledged that parts of Africa, Central America, South America and the Caribbean also were likely to suffer.

``Clearly, some of the developing countries of the world are going to have some difficulties,'' he said, adding that only 25 to 30 of the world's nations were well prepared. ``Many more countries are going to have problems than not.''

The State Department will begin issuing travel advisories in September for U.S. citizens about which countries to avoid.

Koskinen also disclosed that the U.S. government will consider evacuating American citizens from countries with widespread failures. He said each U.S. ambassador will make that decision.

-- Mild Mannered Reporter (clark@super.duper), July 30, 1999


Yup. 3 day storm, lasting 30-45 days.

Yup. Foreign countries are expected to see widespread disruptions, which wil have NO effect on the US.

(just like the asian economic flu had no effect, except that Greenspan, et al were out fighting that one with EVERY weapon in the armamentarium)


-- Chuck, a night driver (, July 30, 1999.

Also see this thread from yesterday about John Koskinen's comments:

-- Linkmeister (, July 30, 1999.

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