9-9-99, Dry Run for y2k Glitch-so says Reuters article

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Saw this in today's paper and thought it would be worth the time to type in. (Please excuse me if the formatting is messed up.)

Being Prepared to the Nines

Upcoming Date Will Serve as Dry Run Test for Y2K Glitch

Washington (Reuters)--A little-known computer glitch that could cause system failures Sept. 9 --9/9/99-- is about to get a lot of attention.

In a kind of dry run for the Year 2000 glitch, authorities and computer scientists worldwide will be scrutinizing networks that Thursday for any fallout from the so-called "Nines Problem."

At issue are effects of an old programming convention that used four nines in a row --9999-- to tell computers to stop processing data or to perform a special task.

In the relatively unlikely case that systems misread Sept. 9 as 9999 --without zeros (sic) as in 09/09-- they might confuse the nines with what programmers call an "end of file" marker.

Four nines in the date field could also trigger a grand total or a sorting operation, said Jim Kelton, president of Software Unlimited, an Irvin, Calif., software consultant specializing in networks and the Y2K bug.

"All nines could be interpreted as almost anything," he said. For instance, the nines might cause computers to disregard data received after Sept. 9, causing a cut-off in the updating of bank records.

The glitch, which the financial industry has been fixing as part of its $9 billion Y2K preparations, could figure in customized applications written in decades-old computer languages such as FORTRAN, COBOL, and RPG, experts said.

Robert Banghart, director of development at Unisolve, a Costa Mesa, Calif., software company working on the Y2K glitch, said a string of nines long had been used to tell computers to "end a routing" or no longer execute certain instructions.

In a worst-case scenario, four nines in a date field could spark problems not unlike Y2K, a coding glitch that threatens to keep ill-prepared computers from distinguishing 2000 from 1900.

The U.N.-backed Internationl Y2K Cooperation Center, a global clearing house for millennium bug data, is using Sept. 9 to rehearse a plan aimed at keeping up-to-the-minute tabs on how the world is faring as it enters 2000.

"It's a dry run for the rollover date," said Lisa Pelegrin, spokeswoman for the Washington-based World Bank-funded center. "We will be testing our reporting system."

That reporting system, to be updated in real time on the center's Web site, www.iy2kcc.org, ultimately will reflect the input of 170 or more national Y2K coordinators.

On the center's Sept. 9 shake-out run, about 15 countries are expected to take part. For the most part, they are members of its steering committee--Britain, Bulgaria, Chile, Gambia, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Philippines, South Korea and the United States.

New Zealand and Australia, also active backers, are also expected to join. Graeme Inchley, Australia's Y2K coordinator, said he is "absoluted convinced" Sept. 9 will go by without a hitch.

Sept. 9 also will mark the first test of a $40 million interagency Y2K center meant to give U.S. decision-makers a round-the-clock view of Y2K problems in their areas of responsibility.

Likewise, Sept. 8 and 9, the North American Electric Reliability Council, an industry group, will rehearse an emergency scenario to test operating, communications and contingeny responses for the Y2K transition.

(There you have it, folks, billions of $ spent on events which will pass "without a hitch." Plus, we now have a web site where we can watch that "nothing" happen across the world.) Back to lurking, Linda

-- newbiebutnodummy (Linda@home.com), August 27, 1999



Thanks for finding and typing that article. It's that kind of committment to research and breaking news that keeps this forim worthwhile.

Also see this recent thread:


"Y2K Chiefs Prepare For Dry Run On 9/9/99"

-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), August 27, 1999.

By definition a "dry run" is not real. It has no relation to y2k.

-- rambo (rambo@thewoods.com), August 27, 1999.

Linkmeister-Thanks for the gentle 'rebuke' on redundant posting. I did look for anything similar and didn't find it, hence the post. I'll try to look closer next time. Sorry, folks.

-- newbiebutnodummy (Linda@home.com), August 27, 1999.


It's no rebuke. Thank you for taking the time to type out that article. I just thought you and others would like to see the commentary on the article so far.

This forum is getting so busy that no one person can keep track of all of it now. Some of the bigger news items now get posted three or four times by different people!

-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), August 27, 1999.

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