Gummy Software : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Skokie company's patch gums up software

Tuesday, January 11, 2000

PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (AP)  For at least one customer of a Skokie software company, the Y2K cure was worse than the bug itself.

A balky software patch distributed by Computer Information Systems Inc. to protect its customers' computers against date-related problems wound up crashing part of a software package at the Perry County Sheriff's Department.

The patch gummed up software used to track and bill for delivery of civil lawsuit notifications and subpoenas, Sheriff Keith Kellerman said.

"We did what everybody else did," he said. "Now we have a problem. Maybe we should have just taken our chances."

A second version of the patch and several hours of telephone work failed to correct the problem, and Kellerman said the company has told him to expect a working version of the patch this week.

Computer Information Systems contracts manager Art Yefsky did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Monday.

The problem surfaced in mid-December while workers were trying to install a Y2K software patch distributed by Computer Information Systems. The fix was needed to make sure the program would not mistake the date 2000 for 1900. To save memory, some programs and computers were engineered to recognize only the last two digits of a year.

Although Kellerman's computers suffered no Y2K problems, the patch shut down part of the department's computer system, preventing the department from properly billing for civil process services, Kellerman said.

The problem does not affect the software package's other functions  jail management and records management  nor has it diminished the department's law-enforcement readiness, he said.

But it has proved costly: the department is losing about two man-hours each day as workers must partially enter the information into the computer, then make a backup copy by hand, Kellerman said.

It has also proved annoying: the department had just sent a $20,000 check for its annual service contract with CIS when the breakdown occurred.

The department won't be renewing its contract with CIS next year, Kellerman said.

"I'm not wasting the taxpayer's dollars on this," he said.

Like most of the minor glitches attributed to the Y2K bug, the problem appears to be an isolated one.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce Vice President Jim Beaumont said his group had not received any reports of businesses suffering computer outages as a result of bad Y2K fixes.

) 2000 Associated Press  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

-- Martin Thompson (, January 11, 2000


So what?

-- (gummy@rum.dummy), January 11, 2000.

SO what? Well, not much unless you need to keep the court on schedule. Things like subpoenas are pretty critical to court cases. More delay means more aggravation and expense.

-- Forrest Covington (, January 12, 2000.

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