New directory leaves out thousands (computer problem)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
New directory leaves out thousands
By Anne Colden Denver Post Business Writer
Nov. 12 - T. Allen, where are you?
Joan Basso, an office manager in Downtown Denver, was looking you up and discovered that your name wasn't in the hot-off-the-presses new edition of the US West Dex Denver Metro area white pages.
Neither is anyone with the last name of Allen whose first name follows Mandy in the listings, which skip to Amabile.
Then there are the G's, which proved even more problematic. After Fred Gonzales, the listings skip to Gary Graalman. Twelve pages worth of names are missing there, said U S West Dex spokeswoman Robin Caputo.
In all, a computer glitch zapped T. Allen and thousands of others - 17 pages worth - from the 1999-2000 edition of the U S West Dex Denver Metro area white pages.
Caputo said several thousand of the new directories were delivered beginning last week before the problem was brought to the company's attention by a customer.
"Luckily we were very early in the process,'' she said. "We stopped delivery immediately and stopped printing to correct it.''
Only about a fourth of the 1.4 million white-page directories that U S West Dex delivers in the metro area were printed before the problem was spotted.
Caputo said she didn't know the nature of the computer error or how much it would cost the company.
Delivering the telephone books usually takes the company about six to eight weeks, depending upon the weather. Delivery of the corrected white pages will start Monday, she said. Distribution of the yellow pages, which are believed to be free of flaws, is continuing as planned, she said.
In the meantime, customers with access to the Internet can check listings on the company's Web site, uswestdex.com, or call directory assistance at 1-411.
"With that many names and numbers, you'll have individual errors,'' Caputo said.
But Caputo said that in her eight years on the job, she had not seen a computer error that affected so many names.
Basso, for one, was concerned not just as a user of the phone book but as an investor in US West.
"As a stockholder,'' Basso said, "I resent the inefficiency.''
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), November 12, 1999
They missed 17 pages of names, and nobody noticed?
When I learned programming, back before the web and objects and Java, we actually did something called "end of job totals", where we looked for reasonable numbers, like the total records read, estimated pages to print and the actual number printed, stuff like that.
Is that out of style?
-- bw (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 12, 1999.
Not that it will matter with telecoms out next year ...
-- no phone home (email@example.com), November 12, 1999.