Jan. 1 isn't end of Y2K

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Another day old story, but since we were down... <:)=


Millennium bug could cause problems for computers on several dates in 2000

NEW YORK (AP) -- Y2K computer worries won't go away this weekend, even if nothing goes wrong. Glitches are likely to occur weeks, even months, into the new year. And a few may linger until 2001 and beyond.

The Gartner Group, a technology consulting firm, estimates only 10 percent of all Y2K failures will occur during the first two weeks of January.

Yet an Associated Press poll taken this month found that only 16 percent of respondents think Y2K problems will last more than two weeks. And the number who think the problems will be confined to less than a few days has increased from 22 percent to 36 percent.

Most Y2K planners are aware that Jan. 1 is no magic date, but they fear a quiet weekend might leave the public with a false sense of security.

"There is too much focus on New Year's weekend,'' said Bruce McConnell, director of the International Y2K Cooperation Center. "If you think that the only time to worry about the Y2K bug is on Jan. 1, then you're underestimating the problem.''

Besides having new problems appear later in the year, glitches that strike Saturday might go unnoticed initially, even after employees return to work and restart computers. The full effects might not be felt until smaller glitches compound and disrupt business supply chains.

Several weeks must pass, McConnell said, "to have a good idea just how big an event Y2K is.''

Ron Weikers, a Philadelphia attorney specializing in Y2K litigation, warned companies not to declare victory right away. Such statements, he said, could come back to haunt them.

Still, New Year's weekend will be a peak period for Y2K problems, and most major companies and government agencies will be watching their systems closely. John Koskinen, President Clinton's top Y2K adviser, will preside over a $50 million crisis center built for the occasion.

If there are any problems involving embedded chips that control power plants and other major equipment, Koskinen said, they most likely would strike around Jan. 1.

Beyond that, most glitches probably will be administrative, causing inconveniences such as incorrect billing -- but no catastrophe. And they'll be more manageable, because they won't hit all at once.

The government has identified three crucial time periods:

* Friday, when the rest of the world celebrates the new year;

* Saturday, when the new year arrives in the United States; and

* Monday, the first business day, when systems experience peak usage.

Koskinen's group also will look for trouble on Feb. 29, because some computers might not recognize 2000 as a leap year.

Even Dec. 31, 2000, could be problematic because some computers might not be expecting 366 days next year.

The Y2K problem stems from a once-common practice of using only two digits to represent a year in computer programs and embedded chips.

Left uncorrected, "00'' might appear as 1900, throwing off systems that control power, phones and billing.

In an AP telephone poll of 1,010 people, taken Dec. 15-19, the most frequently mentioned concern was the power supply, a topic brought up by a third of those responding, followed by banking and financial services, the transportation system, phone systems and food distribution.

The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Jan. 1 is not necessarily the first time a computer will encounter 2000, and some problems already have appeared.

A few years ago, some merchants began having trouble with credit cards expiring in 2000.

In early October, some federal computers needed repair because Oct. 1 starts the federal fiscal year.

And in a twist from Maine, model 2000 cars were incorrectly marked horseless carriages -- the designation that the state uses for pre-1916 vintage vehicles.

Notices with 1900, not 2000, also have come from banks, courts and at least one college.

Some problems also occurred during Y2K testing, or as Y2K fixes introduced new errors.

The National Federation of Independent Business cites a recent survey that Y2K already hit one in 20 small businesses.

Most glitches were fixed quickly, the federation said.

According to the Gartner Group, 30 percent of all failures will have occurred before 2000.

And problems, growing steadily each quarter, will peak early in the new year. But they won't completely disappear until after 2001.

"Systems only fail when transactions are run,'' said Lou Marcoccio, Gartner's research director.

For example, glitches may arise when businesses finish their first billing cycle of the new year.

That could happen anytime in January for monthly billing, or later for less frequent billing.

Some computers also will have to generate monthly, quarterly and annual reports, leaving room for problems later in the year.

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), December 31, 1999


So you take ten steps into a million acre jungle with a bloody piece of meat strapped to your back and say whew! no tigers in here, thank God! Brother! the only reason Peter Spinnings is in Sydney is to control the spin on Y2k. You will have to look elsewhere if you want any good info on failures etc. I thought it was telling that their program was supposed to be on Y2k and the celebrations, and they wound up going on a fifteen minute diatribe on the women's movement and the horrible opression of women in bad, bad countries like India, Pakistan, Russia, etc. We have an AGENDA driven ADVOCACY major media not journalists. Just wait and see what they blame any failures on when the do happen.

-- doktorbob (doktorbob@mindspring.com), December 31, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ