Florida - Y2K shaping up to be 'grand non-event'

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From todays Ft Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

Y2K shaping up to be 'grand non-event'

Staff report      
Web-posted: 12:42 a.m. Aug. 31, 1999

TALLAHASSEE -- The Y2K problem may turn out to be no problem in Florida, a new survey of governments, police departments, airports and hospitals showed on Monday.
    "There is every reason to believe the Y2K phenomenon will be one of history's grand non-events," said Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan.
    State agencies had virtually completed work to allow their computers to continue operating when Jan. 1, 2000, arrives. Roughly 87 percent of Florida's cities were on schedule with their Year 2000, or Y2K, repairs, along with 90 percent of counties and more than 85 percent of sheriff's departments, according to a survey conducted by Team Florida 2000, Gov. Jeb Bush's task force to assure computer-dependent services throughout the state continue to operate smoothly through the new year. Hospitals in Florida also reported they were 88 percent finished with their computer work, while airports were 87 percent complete.
    The state has spent $91 million making its computers capable of reading the year 2000 date, while Florida utilities have spent $277 million to make sure their power plants and lines will operate. The costly upgrades are needed because computers had been programmed with two-digit date codes that went no higher than '99.' Once the year '99' passed, experts feared many computers would stop functioning or erroneously read '00' as the year 1900. Among the possible Y2K woes: traffic lights shutting down, drawbridges not working, problems with 911 calls and payroll and inventory breakdowns.
   Statewide, 53 cities, counties, police departments and 911 coordinators also were of "critical concern." They made the list for reasons that ranged from failing to complete at least 80 percent of their upgrade to not responding to the Team Florida survey.
    Among them were eight cities in Miami-Dade County. But for the most part officials of those cities were unaware of the governor's report. In Broward County, Miramar officials said most of the their computers are Y2K compliant. Some workstations are not compliant, but those computers will be phased out or repaired by 2000.
   Some agencies considered on track for Y2K readiness raised questions. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, for example, was termed 85 percent ready. But airport officials conceded the remaining work would be completed only by Dec. 31, 1999 -- which state authorities say is cutting it too close.
   In Palm Beach County, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Manalapan, and Palm Beach Gardens were on the "critical concern" list.
   Police departments in Boynton Beach and Lake Park also were cited.
   Walt Scrivens, Boca Raton's information systems manager, said Monday he didn't know why the city was on the list. "We don't anticipate any Y2K problems," he said. He said the software the police department uses for its reports is the last area to be made Y2K complaint.
   The city recently hired a firm to do the work by Dec. 15, he said.
   In Boynton Beach, Doug Solomon, a technical service manager, said the state based its conclusions about the city on an outdated survey done in April.
    Some new hardware will be purchased beginning in October, the beginning of the next fiscal year, he said. "The city is sitting very well in Y2K compliance," he said.
   Sgt. Wendy Danysh, spokeswoman for the city's police department, said equipment has been approved and ordered for records management. She said the city wants to have the equipment installed by the end of the year. Otherwise, she said, "we're all set."
   Staff writers Jill Rosen and Merle Augustin contributed to this report.


-- Bob (bob@bob.bob), August 31, 1999


Sgt. Wendy Danysh, spokeswoman for the city's police department, said equipment has been approved and ordered for records management. She said the city wants to have the equipment installed by the end of the year.

Better hope the vendor doesn't have any delaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyys....

-- Dennis (djolson@pressenter.com), August 31, 1999.

I guess Taz is living in the best state! I live in Alabama and the last survey showed that our state gov. was #50 out of 50 in remediation efforts. Does Taz have any guest rooms?

-- Steve (bibleout@tds.net), August 31, 1999.

This offers a pretty good example of why many are so distrustful of reports such as this.

Last night, Gayla started a thread about 108 hospitals in Florida that were behind in remediation efforts. "One hundred and eight hospitals, including some of the largest in Florida, didn't pass muster in the first round of Y2K readiness reporting," the report read.

State officials said they were of "critical concern."

Little wonder people are confused.

-- Vic (Rdrunner@internetwork.net), August 31, 1999.

An Analogy

But, they still aren't done. I guess miracles can happen. Listen everybody, "finish all repairs, 100% correct, on time in the month of December." It seems that everybody is saying this.

It like saying: "Kids finish your test all at the same time and you all simply get all the questions correct. This is no big deal." Aww... come on, let's not be a doom and gloomer by saying some will get a C, D or E or some may not finish on time at all. Come on, this will not happen. Why? Because we don't want it to.

Boy those doomers. They like to face reality don't they? Really, pollys. This is how stupid you look. Really.

-- Larry (cobol.programmer@usa.net), August 31, 1999.

In Boynton Beach, Doug Solomon, a technical service manager, said the state based its conclusions about the city on an outdated survey done in April.

Wow....the city accusing the state of using outdated information. Guess they learned the "dance of the spinning pollies" well from Koskinen.

-- Bob (bob@bob.bob), August 31, 1999.

Those 108 hospitals were included in the 12 per cent reported as not finished. Lets see now is a City owned utility plant considered part of government? I distinctly remember a report back in March 1999 that the Tallahassee owned city electric utility was 25 per cent finished at that time. They made fantastic progress. Have they tested the embedded systems? Yes? I thought the embedded systems were extremely difficult to test. This is the state capital. What happens to State government if the city electricity is not working. I am not selling my generator. Are there over 1,000 hospitals in Florida? I doubt it.

-- Ed (Ed@amazed.gom), August 31, 1999.


For what it's worth, most of these utilities aren't really testing their embedded systems. But not to panic quite yet, provided these systems have been exhaustively tested elsewhere, and your utility is just using one of many copies of the same systems.

Ah, you say, but that isn't sufficient! Why, we've heard tales of two apparently identical systems, yet one passed and the other did not!

Yes, this is possible. Being killed by a meteor is also possible. When you buy a car, that car has never been driven. When you buy a computer, that computer has never been exercised either. Yes, a few are pulled off the lines and tested substantially and randomly. Sample testing has proved very effective.

Now, you can go ahead and panic anyway, on the grounds that testing is "extremely hard" and these utilities have been "amazingly fast" about achieving compliance. Just so you understand that your panic is based on policy, not reality.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), August 31, 1999.

Gov. Parris Glendening-Md. was told by our Y2K Task force in Annapolis today that although we shouldn't expect any major problems, we have back-up plans just in case, with the state police and National Guard standing by.(that is all)

-- KoFE (hearditontheradioin@the.car), August 31, 1999.

Regarding Florida's so called survey ... I work in a large nursing home chain with about 20 facilities all across Florida (400 nationwide). When I received Florida's survey regarding Y2K readiness, our facility wasn't allowed to complete it in-house; we had to send it to our corporate office for completion.

Well, the corporate office completed one form and listed all the names and addresses of its 20 facilities in Florida and sent it to Tallahassee (and a copy to our facility). All 20 facilities had the same survey responses -- it was a blanket response from our corporate office.

Our corporate office has never laid one foot in our facility for Y2K assessment, remediation or testing. The staff (and I do mean minimum wage maintenance and clerical workers) tested the PCs with a disk sent by corporate to check for Y2K compliance, changed the dates on the fax machines for testing, checked our own generator, medical equipment, building equipment, etc. We have been responsible for contacting our medical suppliers and equipment vendors to ensure their compliance, which again meant that some maintenance man or secretary called a vendor to ask if they were Y2K ok -- everything was reported at face value and never verified. And our so-called corporate 2000 Project Team has never even been to Florida! We do occasionally get memos from our corporate office telling us about medical equipment that must be upgraded or replaced.

Anyway, I can tell you that our facility did not receive that survey from Tallahassee until July 1999.

-- (Too Shy@tosay.com), September 01, 1999.

The report from Too Shy above has more credibility than Task Force 2000 in my humble opinion. The response from Nursing Home headquarters is probably typical and the task force believed it? Instead of fixing the problems, they are going to talk them better. All fixed so don't worry. Duh.

-- Calvin (Cal@amazed.ccc), September 01, 1999.

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