Y2k is already a source of small computer conniptions

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By THOMAS HARGROVE Scripps Howard News Service December 20, 1999

- If state emergency leaders require any further proof that the Y2K computer glitch is real, they need look no farther than Arizona, where computers refused to give Polly Rosenbaum an accurate driver's license.

Rosenbaum, a former state legislator who celebrated her 100th birthday in September, applied for a new license a month earlier. Her approaching birthday caused the state's driving license database to throw a statistical conniption.

"The driver's license system had been fixed (for Y2K problems) but was bridged to deal with the calendar rollover. Consequently, Rep. Rosenbaum was issued a license with a 1999 date of birth rather than 1899," said John Kelly, spokesman for the Arizona Government Information Technology Agency.

State officials assured Rosenbaum that no policeman would question her age. But she insisted upon accuracy and was issued a handwritten license. "I cannot anticipate how many problems we may have on the road from centenarians driving with misleading dates of birth on their licenses," Kelly said.

Yet the incident was confirmation that the millennium bug is at least a nuisance.

A survey of all 50 state governments found that 12 states report they've already been bitten by the bug, sometimes in embarrassing and humorous ways.

"We've had some recent failures," said Bob Poe, Y2K senior project manager for Alaska. "The state jury duty notification system notified some of our citizens to show up for duty in January of 1900. But any problems that have occurred have been minor ones and all have been caught and immediately fixed."

The Arkansas public university payroll system had to be taken off line for 24 hours because of millennium-bug-related problems. Dates on several forms in Massachusetts were printed as 1900 rather than 2000.

The database for Human Services caseworkers in Utah crashed for a day because of Y2K, and South Carolina's Child Welfare Support System had to be taken off line for several days for millennial repairs.

Most of the 50 state officials interviewed said they are confident more problems will surface come New Year's Day. But their experiences so far indicate these problems all have solutions that can be implemented fairly quickly.

"With especially critical systems _ such as food stamps or family benefits _ we tested the system by rolling our (computer) clocks forward," said James Hall, chief information officer for New Mexico. "We found a few problems and fixed them. We didn't interrupt service."

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@imbellfry.com), December 20, 1999


I mean no offense to Ms. Rosenbaum (who is probably a better driver than I am), but I question the concept of giving centenarians a driver's license in the first place.

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), December 20, 1999.

Polly Rosenbaum

How ironic....


-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), December 20, 1999.

Boy, was this an important thing to share. My level of fear just went up several points!


-- Frank McGraw (communic@excite.com), December 21, 1999.

Wellllllll - let's see here:

So far, Alaska, FL, Philly, Atlanta (maybe others) have publicized jury summons sent out with orders to appear Jan 3, 1900.....

Let's hope these kind of items are typical....but "It's starting.."

Even this little "summary" story doesn't come close the whole truth - for every item the writer cited, there are dozens of others that are skipped.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 21, 1999.

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