AP: "Americans find it's `business as usual' in Y2K"

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

AutosBoston.com homeBoston Globe OnlineBusiness & LawCareersGoing Out / ArtsHealthReal EstateShoppingSportsTechnologyTrafficTravelWeatherYellow Pages DirectoryYour Town News wires Northeast Sports Business Technology Washington Nation World Health -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Regional news All Northeast Massachusetts New Hampshire Rhode Island Maine Vermont Connecticut New York SEARCH: Keyword This site/Globe The Web with: Americans find it's `business as usual' in Y2K

By Brigitte Greenberg, Associated Press, 1/3/2000 18:40

WASHINGTON (AP) From Main Street to Wall Street, Americans returned to work Monday, logged onto their computers, checked their e-mail and found that whatever Y2K bug there may have been had largely crept back from whence it came.

The government's chief Y2K adviser, John Koskinen, declared victory over the once-dreaded glitch, saying ''business as usual'' had resumed around the world with a few minor exceptions.

''I think ... we can safely say that what has been referred to as the Y2K bug has been squashed,'' he said.

A few problems became evident Monday, however.

A computer that tracks nuclear material at the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee malfunctioned. The actual accounting of material was not affected, officials said.

In New Mexico, Motor Vehicle Division offices could not issue driver's licenses for a time.

The presidential campaign Web site of Vice President Al Gore also was bitten. Gore's ''Internet Town Hall'' site touting his presidential candidacy briefly carried the date ''Monday, January 3, 19100.'' Gore's campaign called it a minor glitch that was quickly fixed.

Koskinen cautioned that more glitches would occur in the coming days but predicted they would be ''localized and transitory and will not pose a threat to the nation's economy.''

Aside from a few minor irritations, most Americans appeared relatively unaffected. An estimated $100 billion was spent preparing for Y2K, and some people have looked askance at the price tag, considering that no major problems surfaced.

Koskinen, who said the money was well-spent, compared it to insurance.

''You have a house for 10 years, and you have an insurance policy and never have a fire. You go out and buy a new house. Do you buy insurance? The answer is you probably do,'' he said.

The government's Y2K center is to reduce operations significantly in coming days. The global monitoring center established in Washington by the United Nations canceled its remaining briefings for reporters.

The U.S. banking system opened so smoothly that billions of dollars in extra currency distributed to banks to avert any financial panic were shipped back to the Federal Reserve.

U.S. securities markets were mixed in Monday's trading. The technology-heavy Nasdaq market closed with a solid gain of more than 60 points. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down around 140 points.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reported a problem with electronic licensing and registration of gun dealers. Koskinen said the ATF would license and register dealers the old-fashioned way, on paper, until the problem is repaired. He said the bureau's ability to conduct background checks on gun buyers had not been affected.

The U.S. Postal Service said it easily fixed two minor problems one in some old retail terminals, which showed the wrong date, and another in a system that sends in reports of mail volume.

A problem with U.S. Housing and Urban Development computers temporarily prevented people from terminating FHA mortgages.

Among 36 states, half reported no problems and the other half reported a wide range of minor problems, none critical.

Trivial problems popped up in various places.

In New York City, the Godiva Chocolate Co. discovered that a Y2K-related glitch triggered at the start of its work week prevented cash registers from working until it was fixed.

Computers crashed twice at a video store in Lincoln, Neb. A customer returning a movie to a rental shop in suburban Albany, N.Y., was presented with a $91,250 late fee after computers showed the tape was 100 years late.

Some computer screens flashed ''1900'' at four small airports around Chicago. Doppler weather systems also shut down for a few minutes in Chicago.

Similar problems were reported internationally. In Italy, computers at several courthouses mixed up some dates by 100 years.

In Portugal, isolated glitches were found in ministerial databases, government payment processing and hospital admissions. A small part of a Danish bank's payment system was erased.

The next date that could pose a problem, Koskinen said, will be Feb. 29. Years ending in 00 include a leap day only every fourth century, and some computers may not be prepared for that.


-- John Whitley (jwhitley@inforamp.net), January 03, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ