Local (Bakersfield) businesses bit by bug.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

And this is from the city that wouldn't let us raise chickens in the city limits...

Local company stung by Y2K bug Filed: August 24, 1999

By MARC BENJAMIN Californian staff writer e-mail: mbenjamin@bakersfield.com

Y2K glitches happen to even the most computer savvy folks.

Wayne Moule, president of Northwest Metrology, a company that calibrates electronic test equipment for federal agencies and major corporations, is a case in point. Moule sees the damage every day and still is counting losses  $80,000 and growing  because software he owns fell victim to a year 2000 problem. The glitch occurs when the year 2000 appears as "00" in the date field of a computer, and the date is read as the year 1900.

Not only has the Y2K difficulty cost Moule money, but it has set his H Street and Golden State Highway business weeks behind in servicing efforts.

And he wants other business owners to know they should take Y2K seriously.

"Be prepared because it shut us down the first two weeks of January," he said. "We weren't prepared for it. It wasn't even in our minds ... But after January 1 it became a mainstay in our lives."

Moule is not alone.

Claudia Wilkerson's date with destiny occurred April 1. But it was no April Fool's joke.

She did not know the software overseeing her pool servicing records would fail at the start of the second quarter, the beginning of her busy season. It took her business, with 1,300 customers, almost three months to recover.

"I am just getting to the end of it," she said. "Just my time on the phone was huge trying to appease everyone."

As Wilkerson will attest, computers and software with date sensitivity is nothing to trifle with.

"I didn't realize software that was 5 years old is just a dinosaur," she said, after losing about $20,000. "I couldn't bill anyone, so I had no money coming and I had to deal with my creditors."

Wilkerson is telling everyone she knows to get their businesses prepared for the year 2000.

"I didn't just lose everything  it put me in the year 2010 and when I tried to transfer the data to my new software, there was something in the files that didn't transfer it so I had to input everything by hand," she said. "I don't think year 2000 will be a major apocalypse, but people are going to be affected."

As for Moule, he said he conducted a Y2K test on his computers late last year and found them to be in sound working condition. But in the first week of January, he learned differently.

"There wasn't a problem," he said, as he stood behind a counter with a microwave frequency counter, temperature calibrator and modulation analyzer in front of him. "But I have hard proof there is a problem."

Moule's computers are programmed a year ahead because much of the equipment testing conducted by the company is calibrated on an annual basis and the federal government audits machinery Northwest Metrology calibrates.

"Our paperwork was wrong," he said, referring to dates on each analysis conducted by his company. "We shut down the first two weeks of January. We couldn't hand out paperwork or do any calibrations."

Initially, a customer noticed the date problem, and within days the government was knocking on his door.

"We used the same software for eight or nine years and then some federal agency calls us and tells us our data is all wrong," Moule said.

All data the company kept in its computers with Y2K problems had to be manually typed back into the company's computers using handwritten back-up documents, he said.

"It was nine years of data, and I guess the only thing good about it is that we had back-up documents," Moule said.

But the work of typing the information back into the computers is time-consuming and monotonous. It also put the three-employee firm further behind in its work.

"We are pushing our on-site (calibration) schedule up," he said. "It's taking longer because we have to re-input all this data."

Rick Kreiser, president of Carney's Business Technology in Bakersfield, said many of his company's steady clients may not be fixing their year 2000 problems.

"Less than 50 percent of (300) clients we speak with have addressed it in any meaningful manner," Kreiser said. "Our assessment service program is winding down and the time to think and plan is getting short. The long process is becoming a much more truncated, shorter process."

He said the issues are more than fixing computers and ensuring software reliability, but also making sure suppliers are ready, too. He said major corporations are spending millions to fix potential problems.

"If this whole thing is just a non-issue, we have hopefully taken advantage of the time to do something positive for our businesses, even if it's unbudgeted or unplanned," Kreiser said. "But I didn't cook this up and neither did Bill Gates."

Copyright) 1999, The Bakersfield Californian | Email the Webmaster Associated Press Copyright Notice | Privacy Policy Statement

-- Drew (kolosky@prodigy.net), August 25, 1999


link: http://www.bakersfield.com/top/i--1276597210.asp

(crosses fingers...)

-- Super (slfsl@yahoo.com), August 25, 1999.

"...I don't think the year 2000 will be a major apocalypse..."

Could someone tell me what the difference is between a Major Apocalypse and a MINOR one???

Well, well, here it is...evidence of failures climbing forever upwards.

Got Water?

-- mar (derigueur2@aol.com), August 25, 1999.

lol Mar, I think a MAJOR apocalypse is a little harder to digest mentally : )

Yep, we have actual proof of a Y2k glitch AND a fiscal year end problem and maybe even JAE problems.

But hey...it only made these small businesses with limited resources suffer, right? Those big entities with huge supply chains and large client bases can't be affected...THEY wouldn't let this happen.

Amazing. I guess over the Grapevine to Bakersfield isn't a great bug out plan.



-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), August 25, 1999.

Another JAE problem that is just now being admitted? I thought there were *no* problems last January, and all doomers were accused of being hysterical.

Hmmm, another one for the list.

-- Margaret (janssm@aol.com), August 25, 1999.

Thanks Drew,

Suspect it's a little tip of the small business Y2K iceberg.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), August 25, 1999.

Actually, Diane, it's not just the tip of the small business iceburg. I am a GI lurker who lives in one of the beach cities in western Ventura County, California. For those in the rest of the country, we are the northern fringes of the greater LA area. Anyway, I received my new insurance card from the insurance company named after the people who grow our food. Yes, I am new at this and a little nervous about naming names. I am sure that you can figure it out. They are huge. My insurance is renewed at six month intervals. On the card, the effective date was 10/16/99, the expiration date was also 10/16/99. My finacee's father, with the same company, had the same problem. When he went to get it straightened out, the agent told him that "millions" of renewals were sent out like that and that the mistake occurred because their computer could not read past 2000 and defaulted by just listing the same value for effective date and expiry date. Granted it's not the end of the world, but it leads to one to certainly wonder. If a seemingly simple problem hasn't been fixed by such a big company this late in the game, what about other companies and government with more complex systems?

-- zeus ferguson (jessbedatyou@webtv.net), August 25, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ