Skeptics take note -- bug bites early (FL - Y2k glitch) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Skeptics take note -- bug bites early

David Damron of The Sentinel Staff

Published in The Orlando Sentinel on December 20, 1999 .

TAVARES -- It is not even New Year's Day, and the Y2K bug already has struck in Lake County.

The state says that John E. Campbell is 100 years overdue in paying the registration fee on his big rig that sails the highways from here to California. They wanted the cash by Feb. 11, 1900.

"How can I pay a penalty when I wasn't even born yet?" the Tavares truck driver said.

"I don't even think my daddy was born yet, and they were all probably driving around in horse-and-buggies back then."

The bill that Campbell got from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said he needed to pay his fee by Feb 10. Campbell likes to keep on top of his bills, and he mailed the payment last week.

But that wasn't soon enough to satisfy the computer. The statement from the motor vehicles folks said that "if payment is not received before February 11, 1900," a $300 penalty will be tacked on.

"It's kind of funny, I guess," Campbell said.

"But in a way, it isn't funny."

State officials proclaimed last week that nearly all of the state's most important computers would avoid any Year 2000 glitches. Foul-ups are expected worldwide on computers not corrected to handle handle the century switch; gummed up computers will revert to 1900.

List the Department of Motor Vehicles computer among the gummies.

Tom Joyce, the assistant director of the Division of Motor Vehicles, said the Y2K gaffe that threw Campbell's bill into a 100-year time warp also nabbed about 50 other Florida truckers.

Joyce said they caught the error and will notify truckers to ease their worries about a late fee. All will be OK as long as payments are received by due dates in 2000.

"It's a concern. Obviously we don't want it happening," Joyce said. "It was just one little glitch though, and we corrected it."

Last week, a policy coordinator with Gov. Jeb Bush's Year 2000 Project said the state's computer systems were 97 percent compliant.

But, officials added, no one can say for sure what will happen when a new century dawns in a computer-driven age.

Lake County Tax Collector Bob McKee, who runs Lake County's tag agencies, said he hasn't seen any problems like Campbell's.

"That's the first I've heard anything like that," McKee said.

Once burned by Y2K, Campbell said he plans to hold off on his normal trailer hauls to California. He delivers chemicals from Florida and brings back produce that goes to Miami and then to the Caribbean.

He doesn't want to be caught on the road Jan. 1 if Y2K bugs start appearing and wreak havoc across the country.

"I'll be loaded up, but I'm not going anywhere," Campbell said.

-- Homer Beanfang (, December 20, 1999


Lake County Tax Collector Bob McKee, who runs Lake County's tag agencies, said he hasn't seen any problems like Campbell's.

"That's the first I've heard anything like that," McKee said.

Priceless. McKee must be living under a rock.

-- (, December 20, 1999.

"It was just one little glitch though..."

Try saying that ten times real fast in a missile silo.

-- snooze button (, December 20, 1999.

The Y2K public relations campaign continues with a perfect example attempting to show Y2K problems are nothing to worry about. Wrong year on a bill. Everyone knows the right year is 2000, not 1900. Ha, Ha Y2K is no big deal. Doomers are fools. There's nothing to worry about. etc.

Examples showing Y2K IS something to worry about (Royal Doulton china, Hershey chocolate) are tough to find in ordinary newspapers. No need to get the sheeple nervous! The registration fee due in 1900 was published as a typical Y2K problem (and I would agree). Typical "cosmetic" Y2K problems may be funny, but are not very important in reporting the Y2K story. A more serious Y2K problem should have been included for balanced reporting. Computer software date problems began in 1970 and have been accelerating this year -- certainly one more serious problem could have been found for the newspaper article.

-- Richard Greene (, December 20, 1999.

Computer glitches are always typical, so is taking a crap, it happens everyday--panic only when you get constipated.

-- plopp (ploppp@ploppp.xcom), December 20, 1999.

OK, a 1900 demand isn't too serious (as long as you can get a human being to deal with your case before it goes to court) but I wonder how hard the pollys will laugh when the demands start arriving not with 1900 on them, but just a couple of weeks out How? negative numbers converted to unsigned integers give wierd values. Some of them will be incorrect but plausible.

-- Servant (, December 20, 1999.

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