(OT?) More GPS incidents

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Filed at 9:26 a.m. EDT

By The Associated Press

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- A glitch in a satellite-based navigation system caused many users to lose contact with the system, U.S. Coast Guard and Japanese officials said.

Pilots, boaters, motorists and even hikers with hand-held devices use the Global Positioning System to pinpoint their locations with the help of satellite signals. To account for variations in the Earth's orbit and rotation, the system requires an exact measure of time.

Many older units were only designed to count a fixed number of weeks -- a maximum that lapsed Saturday. Their time clocks had to be reset, making some users vulnerable to a break in service.

GPS, originally designed for the military, is booming in the commercial market, often offered in luxury cars. Aviators and boaters have been using the system for at least a decade and in recent years hikers have begun to use hand-held units.

A nationwide, private tow boat agency, Vessel Assist Association of America, based in Newport Beach, reported scattered GPS outages Sunday.

``The biggest problem is that it takes us a long time to find the mariner in distress if we don't have an accurate position. We had some delay in serving boats today,'' said Bob Cunningham, an agency dispatcher. No boaters were in any serious danger, he said.

The Coast Guard in California received at least two calls: one boater hadn't yet left the harbor when his GPS failed, and another was lost and had to fire a flare to summon help, said Petty Officer Dawn Butler.

The Federal Aviation Administration had no reports of problems, said agency spokesman Les Dorr, adding that private plane pilots had been warned to check their systems.

In Japan, where as many as 5 million drivers rely on the system to navigate the country's maze of roads, a top Tokyo manufacturer of auto devices, Pioneer Corp., was flooded with thousands of complaints about its machines going haywire. But there were no reports of traffic accidents.

-- PH (spin@on.ca), August 23, 1999


Oh my, the coast guard got 2 calls. Someone please drive me to Costco so I can get a pallet of Hard Red Wheat.

Was this posted to show how bad Y2k is going to be by using all the "tragic" events caused by the GPS rollover?.

-- GPS boy (GPSboy@gps.org), August 23, 1999.

GPS is only relevant to the Doomers when it suits their needs, otherwise it has nothing to do with Y2K. How's that for logic?

-- (Doomers@suck.com), August 23, 1999.

GPS Boy,

There are a few things I came away with regarding the GPS transition.

#1. The problem was well debated and researched here and though I had no prior understanding of the issues through that dialogue I was able to understand that the GPS problem would not be a large one.

#2. The problem was covered well in the news media AND through notification by manufacturers and other parties including the FAA, and the DoD including the Coast Guard.

#3. Even though the problem was well covered there were still people who didn't have a clue.

There are other interesting tidbits of info in this article but the bottom line is I'm thankful that I was able to gain insight into the problem and have my mind set at ease. Much of that insight was gained right here and I thank those more in the know for their help.

In fact, on one thread I even got to help "Tempest" by saying I thought their premise that the power would go out was faulty. In all honesty, I'm pretty sure "Tempest" was a troll out to do a little "scare mongering".

In the end, Boy, I could care less what you think. I've been educating myself to the issues and Y2k is a very, very different animal than the GPS. Believe what you want to believe. I'm certainly not responsible for changing your mind about anything.

In the end I'm just thankful this went as smoothly as it did.



-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), August 23, 1999.

I'm w/ you, Mike. As a postscript to GPS boy et al: For what it's worth, The first "Rollover No Problem" article was filed on AP at 5pm Central time on Sat., *right at* the rollover. Of course no problems were reported! But this is the article that made its way up the chain to the NY Times online, CNN, etc. Now, as more information emerges, it's peripheral--as per spin.

-- PH (spin@on.ca), August 23, 1999.

Ooooooooh! This sure affected my life! It's a wonder I was able to sleep through the night.

-- cd (artful@dodger.com), August 23, 1999.

The more important point, and one that most here have missed, was that MANY people were simply telling UNTRUTHS about the GPS rollover. I have seen MANY posts claiming there were problems with the SATELLITES! It is now amply proven that the posters DID NOT HAVE A CLUE ABOUT GPS ISSUES - THEY WERE EITHER PROMOTING AN EOTW AGENDA OR MERELY SPOUTING OFF TO SEE THEIR NONSENSE READ BY OTHERS!

AND THEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM! How do you tell the clueless from those who know, when all you have to go on is a shadow on a computer monitor.

How about this for starters - few people who truly understand the issues will troll or harass other posters. Those who KNOW are not in fear of information or re-evaluation of their position. And just how many people who DON'T harass others are actually past a 3 or 4? Think about it - you may want to re-evaluate your own position.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), August 23, 1999.

If you think about the situation, we won't find out about the most likely GPS failures until the lost hikers/campers/hunters finally straggle out of the woods, wondering why their whiz-bang GPS units kept leading them in circles for a week. ;)


-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), August 23, 1999.

Um..Paul, you started to make sense until your last sentence.

If you're not passed a 3-4 yet, then you haven't been listening to the DoD and you're still gobbling up the government's spin.

I've never harrassed you just for the records, and I'm passed a 4. I just like to point out idiotic reasoning.

-- Chris (%$^&^@pond.com), August 23, 1999.

Here, as everywhere else, there are those who will be rude, arrogant and disrespectful as they go about the business of life ... I try to ignore them as much as possible. They were born and bred to be spoilers, in my opinion, and I won't waste my valuable time and attention on them; I'd rather have it to give to more deserving people who are ready to meet others half way.

On Y2K, I am a 2 or a 9+, the difference being based on whether the electrical grid and utilities have minor or major glitches, but why would that lead me to be less respectful and civil on the web than in person? The reason I come to the forum is because I love ideas and participating in the process of lots of different people try to figure out new ideas and thoughts, what is true for each of us, what doesn't make sense. Rude behavior doesn't ever enhance dialogue and problem- solving processes. I don't think we need to make excuses for bad behavior... or assume that those who are rude here are rude because the subject is Y2K. I imagine that they are just generally rude and arrogant, as much as they can get away with it, and that they come in all types of packages, otherwise. IMHO...

-- Kristi (KsaintA@aol.com), August 23, 1999.

This is a prime example of the "over-estimation" of the net effect of Y2K on society.

A small, reparable problem? Yes. The end of civilisation? No.

Andy Ray

-- Andy Ray (andyman633@hotmail.com), August 23, 1999.

I think anyone who equates the GPS with Y2K has missed the point. The GPS rollover was well publicized and massive failure would tend to indicate how folks are listening to warnings. In and of itself, it obviously has nothing to do with Y2K. Something similar happened last January 1. The EPA required a new type of gasoline storage tanks for gas stations. They gave the stations 10 years to comply. I was amazed how many gas stations in my part of the world were shut down the first couple weeks of January because they had not replaced their tanks. Ten years and some put it off to the last day (actually, after the last day!) Obviously, this also has no direct bearing on Y2K, but it shows that businesses are not always so smart or "selfish" as to fix all their problems well in advance when given a warning. Will Y2K be the same? Cannot say for sure.

-- Porphyry (paladin456999@yahoo.com), August 24, 1999.

Impact of GPS Rollover is Not Fully Determined -- Yet

CARLSBAD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 23, 1999--Although many news agencies are reporting that the GPS rollover came off without a hitch, the calls that Computer Economics received on its GPS Troubleshooting Hotline indicated that problems could still be lurking.

The questions that consumers asked on the GPS hotline showed that the general public did not widely recognize or understand the problem.

"Many consumers who called did not understand what was involved in the end of week rollover, what the consequences would be, or if their receiver or the satellites would be affected," said Computer Economics Vice President of Research Michael Erbschloe. "This means that the GPS problem is not over yet. Many GPS owners could still be unaware of the problem and not realize that their GPS device is malfunctioning until they have to use it. Some users may receive misinformation and not even realize their device is not working properly."

Uninformed GPS users could go camping, hunting, or sailing without checking their GPS devices. After progressing into the wilderness, these explorers could find themselves lost without a functioning GPS device. To avoid this problem, Computer Economics encourages all owners of GPS receivers to turn on the devices and run a test. The accuracy of the location and date should be checked.

Although many individual consumers were confused by the rollover this weekend, large organizations seemed to have handled the glitch well so far. The U.S. Air Force's GPS preparation efforts were successful and helped to mitigate disaster. As yet, the U.S., Europe, and Australia are reporting no large problems. However, the conclusion that there will be no more problems is premature. Comprehensive reports are not in from all parts of the world, and as with the consumer devices, some large-scale problems may not yet be recognized.

Computer Economics is an independent research firm specializing in helping IT decision makers plan, manage, and control IT costs through advisory services, analyst support, an innovative Web site, and printed reports. Based in Carlsbad, Calif., Computer Economics serves 82 percent of the Fortune 500. For further information, please visit the Web site at http://www.computereconomics.com

-- whatever (whatever@what.ever), August 24, 1999.

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