Michigan - Water system - Y2k and computer problems

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Y2K bug gets N. Branch computer

by CHARLIE FOX staff reporter

NORTH BRANCH - The Y2K bug has claimed at least one victim.

The village needs a new computer to manage the water system. The old computer stopped working properly Jan. 1. While the computer still does some of the jobs it's supposed to do, it's getting worse every day, according to Department of Public Works Supervisor Ronald Seaman.

The software overloaded the water tower Wednesday night and has not been providing accurate data readings this week, Seaman told village council members Thursday. Seaman asked the council for a $4,800 new computer and software package. The council unanimously approved the purchase.

"If we need a new computer and we can't use the old one then we don't have much choice," council member Doris Sloan said. "We need it to run the water."

According to Seaman, the readme file on the DPW's InTouch software clearly said the software would not work after Dec. 31, 1999. He said he simply never read the file before Jan. 2, when he first noticed the water problems.

"So you didn't check into this before the end of the year?" council member Dena Stratton asked.

"No," Seaman replied. "If I had looked into the readme file before this happened, I would have seen that it wouldn't work in the year 2000. We'd be in no different situation than we are now except that we could have headed it off before it crashed."

Seaman recommended that the village purchase a Dell computer with at least 400 megahertz in processing speed. He estimated the cost of the computer at about $2,200. A new software package will cost $2,065, and installation labor costs $560 per day.

THE UPSIDE is the new system won't have to be replaced in the foreseeable future, Seaman said. The current computer--a 120 megahertz Gateway--was purchased in 1995. With regular upgrades, Seaman said, the new one would last much longer than five years. He said the village could "patch up" the old computer system, but it would have to be replaced in two years.

"If we replace it, we shouldn't ever need a new system again," Seaman said. "We may need upgrades, but we shouldn't have to replace the whole thing."

"It was a shame that the last one only lasted five years," Mayor Ronald Ward said. "But it sounds like this one will last a lot longer than that. It looks like we're going to have to get something. If this is something, we're going to have to get it."

Once ordered, the computer should arrive in two to six weeks, Seaman said. A worker from Western Michigan Instrumentations, a company that designs software for governments, will install the software when the computer arrives.

~ snip ~


Source: The County Press, Lapeer, Michigan, (no date shown) http://www.countypress.com/cgi-bin/LiveIQue.acgi$rec=16814?LCPsearch

* Thanks, "Y2k Glitch Central" http://www.ciaosystems.com/glitchcentral.htm for this report

-- Lee Maloney (leemaloney@hotmail.com), January 12, 2000


I wonder which salesman told this guy if he buys a special new computer now that it will never have to be replaced again? With the new, lower price computers it is easier to replace the whole system. As for yupgrading, I've been there, done that! Outside of some minor enhancements it costs more (and is a big hassle) to upgrade. Dell is a good computer. It's just that next week (or next month) you know that something more powerful will come along, and software manufacturers will write software to take advantage of that greater power.

You know what P T. Barnum said: "There's a sucker born every minute".

-- K. Nolan (infosurf@yahoo.com), January 12, 2000.

5 years on a PC system is great! Upgrading forever is about like expecting a pair of shoes to last forever just because you resole them once a year.

-- Sally Strackbein (Reston, VA) (sally@y2kkitchen.com), January 12, 2000.

Way to go on keeping abreast of potential y2k problems. How many others are we going to see. Like Houston's waterlines breaking at record numbers and for what reason? Any thing goes in 2000 and keeps on coming in, no problems, right.

-- cd (whoopie2004@onebox.com), January 13, 2000.

What we have here is a human glitch. The water company just waited to see if their system would work or not on Jan 1? If they had looked into this and tested the system prior to year end, even years prior, they could have made the changes necessary to bring the system into compliance. Human error caused this problem.

To the person who mentions broken wastewater lines as Y2K problems - Show me a concrete pipe whose structural integrity is controlled by the date on a computer system and I'll by that as a Y2K issue. Otherwise, stop looking for problems where they don't exist.

-- Lee Barrentine (Wrknman042Legacy@aol.com), January 13, 2000.

I've come across numerous articles about small communities that are planning to upgrade their water and sewer systems this year. Many underground pipe systems are considered "ancient" so it's no wonder that pipelines are breaking. Fluctuating temp's also cause stress on the lines.

Guess we'll have to wait and see why Houston is having an unusual rate of breaks.

I don't understand what types of software, switches, sensors, etc are also in these systems, but I hope that the estimated 50,000 non-Y2k- compliant sewer systems we heard about last December will be upgraded soon. Add to the expenditure list OSHA's deadlines for controlling emissions into the rivers.

Where will small communities find the money to fix so many problems?

-- Lee Maloney (leemaloney@hotmail.com), January 14, 2000.

That's the EPA, not OSHA!


-- Lee Maloney (leemaloney@hotmail.com), January 14, 2000.

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