U.S. Already Defending Billions Spent on Y2K

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-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), January 01, 2000



maybe this explains the sudden shift to "uh...well...it aint over yet..."

and just think, we have all the lawsuits that will come soon too.



-- Mike Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), January 02, 2000.

Eight billion dollars is chump change for a G-8 government.

-- Truk (truk@loa.moc), January 02, 2000.

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

Friday December 31 6:49 PM ET

U.S. Already Defending Billions Spent on Y2K

By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As 2000 dawned in Asia largely unmarred by the dreaded Y2K computer glitch, the White House defended Friday the billions of dollars spent worldwide on computer upgrades and predicted major benefits to come.

Even before the world's most computer-reliant nation rang in the new year, U.S. officials said they were expecting plenty of second guessing based on overseas computers' whirring and purring past the potential Jan. 1 pitfall.

``I think one of the questions you've begun to see surface a little around the edges is, 'well, has this all been hype'?'' said John Koskinenen, President Clinton's top Y2K trouble-shooter.

The answer is no, he said, repeating his oft-stated view that preparing for the 2000 technology challenge was ``the biggest management challenge the world has had in 50 years.''

``And to the extent that we see the results of a phenomenal amount of effort by individuals and the expenditure of a substantial amount of resources resulting in a positive result, I think that we should not underestimate the nature of the problem that was originally there,'' he said.

``Thus far, no news has been good news,'' Koskinen added, speaking at a $50 million command center set up by the White House to gather Y2K updates from industry, state, local and foreign governments.

The Commerce Department has estimated the United States will spend as much as $100 billion to fix the glitch, including more than $8 billion by the federal government.

With the date change just hours away, the only known Y2K-related problem in the United States was with about 150 slot machines at horse racing tracks in the state of Delaware, Koskinenen told reporters.

``The state of Delaware has advised that it did experience a Y2K problem with a small number of slot machines operated at the three racetracks,'' he told reporters.

The glitch in the Delaware slot machines apparently involves an internal clock that looks ahead for three days. As of Thursday, ``it started to look into the year 2000, it had difficulty recognizing that date, and so they simply wouldn't function,'' he said.

The State Department, citing updates from U.S. embassies, U.S.-based multinational companies and international organizations, reported that automated systems were sailing smoothly into the brave new century.

``Countries in Asia, South Asia and the Middle East have now made the transition to the year 2000 with no reported difficulties in national infrastructure systems,'' Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering told a news briefing.

Twenty countries -- including India, Pakistan, Kenya and China -- reported all sectors were operating normally shortly after the century date change, the United Nations-backed International Y2K Cooperation Center said at 4 P.M. EST (2100 GMT).

Also reporting no glitches in any of the 11 key sectors being monitored were Fiji, New Zealand, Tonga, Australia, Japan, Palau, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Maldives, Mauritius and Qatar.

Pickering, the No. 3 State Department official, defended the U.S. decision to lean heavily on other nations -- for instance by issuing special Y2K travel advisories -- to find, fix and test billions of lines of their computer code.

``And indeed we have seen some impact of that already in what's been happening'' as 2000 rolls in without known major problems, he said at a joint briefing with Koskinen.

The top U.S. aviation official, Jane Garvey, boarded a commercial flight Friday to reassure the public that airplanes would not be falling from the sky because of Y2K.

Koskinen said it was ``far too early to declare victory'' in combating the computer design flaw even though no major Y2K disruptions were reported in Asia and the Pacific, the first to enter 2000.

``But I don't know of anyone who has spent any time on this problem at all who doubts that had the effort not been made, had the money not been spent, we would be in a very different situation here right now,'' he said.

The Y2K problem stems from a storage-saving convention of dropping the first two numbers in the dates of years. Left uncorrected, computers might have misinterpreted ``00'' as 1900, not 2000, and generated bad data or shut down.

Koskinen said the Y2K upgrades would also pay other benefits thanks to the inventories of information systems that were carried out.

``Individual organizations of virtually all sizes for the first time now have an inventory of what the information technology is they're using,'' he said. ``And large companies in the United States and large government agencies have never had that kind of an inventory,'' primarily because of the rapid growth rate of computer dependence.

Perhaps most important from a national-security standpoint, the enormous effort to track Y2K has brought together in a new way government and private industry, which operates more than 90 percent of the critical infrastructure.

``We have begun to look at the question of how can we build on this, sort of, unprecedented amount of cooperation and work together,'' Koskinen said.

``We have private sector associations and industries headquartered right now in federal agencies, working together hand-in-glove, exchanging information, making sure that if there any issues, we all deal with them immediately,'' he added.

U.S. businesses have also gained because, in preparing for Y2K, they have consolidated information systems and begun ``to think much more systematically about their future (technology) spending,'' said Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America.


-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), January 02, 2000.

Pollys! Look! Go gettem! ;p

-- Servant (public_service@yahoo.com), January 02, 2000.

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