The January 16th early reports are now up on our Y2K News Centre page... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The January 16th early reports are now up on our Y2K News Centre page...

-- John Whitley (, January 16, 2000


'Y2K News Centre' page link

-- John Whitley (, January 16, 2000.

JANUARY 16th, 2000:

REUTERS: "Computer glitch gives Canadian Microsoft Web site" - 'A Canadian had a taste of what it meant to be a media mogul after owning two prime pieces of Internet real estate for an hour, The Globe and Mail reported on Saturday. Chris Gronski, 31, an e-business manager, was the proud owner of and after he discovered a small computer glitch on Friday at the Web site of Network Solutions Inc., the leading U.S. company registering dot-com Web site addresses. The company said the glitch was an internal software problem, unrelated to the Y2K bug, and it lasted only an hour. But it was long enough for Gronski to register the names for $50 each on his credit card. Gronski was on the Web site registering another address for business purposes when he decided to check if his own last name -- -- was available, since it was not before. When Gronski found it up for grabs, he suspected something was wrong, the newspaper said. He then searched for Microsoft and Yahoo. Both names were available so he registered them for himself. While he made the credit card payment, the company says Gronski never owned the names, even if it appeared that way. But Gronski has "no illusions" of keeping the names. He did, however, make a printout of the screen that "confirms" his registration of and "I think I'll put it on my resume: Once owned for 35 seconds," he said.'

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: "FT kills records in Y2K bug scare" - '...Up to 25,000 investors had online records of their portfolios wiped out after bosses at the Financial Times ruled it would be too costly to make its share tracking software Millennium bug resistant. Former investors who used the FTQuicken site to monitor the value of their equities must now re-input details of shareholdings into a new FT site, which could take several hours for bigger portfolios. The FT scrapped its online venture with Quicken, a US specialist in personal finance software, to set up its site, FT Your Money, on December 5. FT Your Money says it knew the older site was unprotected from the bug, but expense and the new venture meant making FTQuicken Y2K compliant was not cost-effective. Copies of investment records were made before the January 1 deadline. FTQuicken investors were e-mailed before the December 5 switch telling them how to re-register...'

MICHIGAN LIVE.COM: "County reports a glitch in paying its employees Although Washtenaw had few problems with Y2K some staff had erroneous payouts, no paychecks" - 'Washtenaw County government has survived the Y2K scare, but minor computer glitches caused some paychecks issued with incorrect amounts last week. The New Year's first biweekly payday was Jan. 7, with checks issued under a new system by the firm of J.D. Edwards. The conversion from the old MSA system had been made in conjunction with precautions to deal with any Y2K problems. But in many cases, the check amounts were incorrect by a few dollars to a couple of hundred dollars. A dozen of the 1,300 employees didn't get checks at all, and they were issued exception checks immediately, according to County Administrator Robert E. Guenzel. "Everyone got paid," he said. Guenzel said most of the errors were minor, such as contractual pay raises of 11/2 percent and United Way deductions not reflected. "We bought the new financial package, and it's just a much better system, but a fairly new system," said Guenzel. "The vendor was somewhat late in terms of perfecting the program, and some adjustments had not been picked up...'

REUTERS: "Russia, U.S. End Y2K Monitoring Without a Hitch" - 'Russian and U.S. military experts on Saturday shook hands and took group snapshots as they successfully ended an unprecedented program to make sure no Y2K computer bug touched off a deadly nuclear accident. ``This is a great day. Another chapter in the cooperation between two great nations, Russia and America,'' Air Force Major General Tom Goslin, director of operations of the U.S. Space Command, told reporters. Since Dec. 30, the experts have been working side by side at the ``Center for Year 2000 Strategic Stability'' at Peterson in Colorado Springs to ensure that the world's two largest nuclear powers were in direct contact during the rollover in case a computer mistakenly indicated a nuclear missile launch...'

AP: "Russian-US Y2K Missile Center Shuts" - 'No news was good news as a Russian-American center established last month to monitor potential Y2K-related missile mishaps closed Saturday -- with nothing to report. The former enemies created the joint unit at Peterson Air Force Base to make sure there were no accidental missile launches at the dawn of the year 2000. They wanted to ensure, for example, that their systems didn't mistake a radar failure as a threat or misidentify a commercial aircraft as a bomber...'

THE OBSERVER: "Russia Y2K bill 'shows West overreacted' " 'Russia spent just $200 million on preparing for the millennium bug - 2 per cent of the United States' bill, the expert handling Moscow's Y2K problem told The Observer this weekend. The disclosure by Professor Andrey Nikolaevich Terekhov, head of Russia's Competency Centre for Y2K issues and the country's leading authority on the problem, will bolster claims that the West massively overestimated the extent of the problem - and overspent. Last week a number of agencies suggested the threat had been dramatically over-hyped, resulting in a pay bonanza for information technology experts. Influential IT analysts International Data Corporation estimated that the US might have wasted $40 billion. The British government and its agencies spent #430m tackling the issue, and the total cost for UK businesses will run into billions. BA alone spent #280m, compared with the $1m devoted to the problem by Aeroflot, the Russian airline. Overall, analysts at the Gartner Group believe up to $600bn will be spent worldwide. 'Nobody knows exactly what Russia spent because a lot of the information is not published, but I estimate that the government and its agencies - including the military - spent around $50m and Russian businesses around three times that,' Terekhov said...'

The Utah Statesman [Utah State U.]: "Computer failures cause long lines, frustration for Utah State U. students" - 'The word of the first week of the semester for many Utah State University students has been: AAAAAAAARGH! With the USU computer system failing sporadically since Jan. 4, registration and cashier lines as well as computer labs have been full of antsy students wondering what is going on. The answer? Nobody is quite certain, but Computer Services is working like mad to find out. "The problem has been related to the student information system and the mainframe," registrar David Roos said. "We were not able to handle the load of students accessing the system and it crashed." The problem is software-related, according to Barbara White, dean and chief information officer for Information and Learning Resources and Kim Marshall, associate director of Computer Services. The university purchased software, called CICS8, in October, Marshall said. Because it was purchased after the registration and tuition payment rush, it was never forced to handle a full load, he said. Thus, it was never fully tested. And, the real crunch comes during the last few days of fee payment, he said. Add to the scenario the fact that the holidays resulted in more students paying their tuition toward the end of the payment window, and there is a massive amount of information to process. However, the problem doesn't exactly lie in the amount of information or the number of transactions, but somewhere in the type of transactions being processed. The system is designed with a central processor called the transaction manager, which is responsible for accepting information from terminals at places such as the Registration Office and Cashier Office. It also accepts information from the QUAD program via phones and the Internet. So, when it goes down, everything goes down. White and Marshall said the problems arise within this system when it receives a certain type of transaction. For example, Monday the system had problems when the registration office was attempting to update a more-than-3-year-old transcript, Marshall said. When the system receives a transaction it doesn't like, it shuts down and has to be rebooted. This usually takes about 5 minutes, Marshall said. There is someone constantly watching for shutdowns to get the system up and running as soon as possible, Marshall said. But, there are probably 100 different types of transactions and the only way to find out which is the problem is to sort through a "dump," or history of transactions, Marshall said. Right now Computer Services is working with IBM and SCT, the software vendors, to do just that. "We keep thinking we've found the problem and it doesn't fix anything," Marshall said. White said she realizes frustration levels are extremely high, but with technology there isn't always an easy solution. "We can't just go in and always just switch a button to fix it," she said. "It takes a whole lot of deduction." And, with anywhere from 10,000 to 14,000 transactions an hour (about 167 to 233 per second) going through the system during peak times, there are huge pileups when things go wrong, Marshall said..." [and this example is probably typical of the wasted time, inefficiency, frustration, and re-direction of otherwise-productive staff and effort that identifying and fixing the causes of computer data corruption or rejection is causing across the continent and around the world right now!]

CBS MARKET WATCH:"Soapbox: OPEC's role in the new year" - 'OPEC and Y2K stockpiling have significantly affected U.S. crude supplies in recent months. But what role will OPEC play this year and when will the effects of Y2K oil stockpiling begin to wind down?...'

SUN-SENTINEL: "Y2K pessimists wondering what went wrong" - 'I was a Y2K scoffer. But then I hedged my bets. In an early December column, I poked a little fun at Y2K survivalists while I asked for people to write in about their preparations. I was trying to get a better idea of whether there would be a last-minute rush on the stores. Initially, I heard from South Florida residents, most of whom told me how much fun they were planning to have on New Year's Eve, and how little they were worried about Y2K. Then I started to get e-mail from people who were making pretty serious preparations. One was a woman who was telling me about her cabin in the woods near a stream where her family could shoot elk if necessary. Hmm, it doesn't sound like you live in Tamarac, I wrote back. It turns out my column had been posted on a Y2K bulletin board frequented by people who were extremely worried about Y2K. After I'd heard from a few of them, I started to get a little nervous. I heard from "Y2Ksafe Minnesota," who referred me to his Web site, which urged me to "Get out of the city! Do what you can, while you still can, to locate your home out of any future battle zone." He wrote to me using a female identity from an anonymous mailbox, apparently so his e-mail wouldn't be traced. One of the postings on his site notes that it is not advisable to shoot it out with uniformed looters; that is, police or soldiers...'

COMPUTER CURRENTS: "The George W. Bush Citation for Inspiring Confidence" - 'At least as of October, the Royal Bank Financial Group's Web site contained a strong assurance that the financial institution was ready for the year 2000. "We guarantee that on and after January 1, 2000, our clients' money will be safe in their accounts, and that our records of client assets and transactions will be protected." But if you visit the site, reports one reader, a cookie is put on your hard disk that says, "This cookie will persist until Wed Dec 31 19:00:01 1969." ' [Scroll down the linked page, headed 'Gigglebytes - The 1999 HAL 9000 Awards', for this January 11th story]

PRNewswire: "What's Your Vulnerability to Power Surges? The More You Own, the Greater the Risk" - 'How vulnerable is your home to lightning and power surges? That depends on how many sophisticated electronics and appliances you have and how reliant you are on modern communications systems. Surges and lightning strikes can enter the home through three different systems: electrical, telephone and coax cable. Surges can even be created inside the home by power tools, vacuum cleaners and other equipment. While lightning strikes often destroy equipment, power surges usually create minor damage that goes unnoticed. Over time surges can shorten the life of equipment. Computer chips built into today's smart appliances and electronic equipment are particularly vulnerable to surges. The more you own, the greater the risk from surges...'

ATLANTA-JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: "SATURDAY TALK: CONVERSATION STARTER: "Response shows what we can do" - 'What the world accomplished in response to Y2K demonstrates what we can do with sufficient concern and desire for success. Imagine our world if a specific completion date were put on cleaning up our water and air, paying off debt and controlling population. - BARBARA SCOTT' [That's more like an 'argument-starter' than a 'conversation-starter'!]

MSNBC: "Tax benefits for Y2K: Rep. Larry Combest (R-TX) presents a weekly roundup of issues he feels are important to his constituents." - 'We are finally celebrating the new millennium and thankfully, no major complications from the dreaded Y2K bug occurred; the traffic lights are still working, your money is still secure at the bank and commercial airlines are still flying. Some important changes did take place, although most Americans probably didnt realize it while they were bringing in the New Year. Due to several pieces of legislation that Congress has passed, a host of new tax benefits went into effect on January 1st that go a long way to provide more money for hard-working Americans to save, invest and use to raise their children. These tax changes affected everything from pensions to education to estate taxes, and will benefit millions of Americans...' [Not really about Y2K, but we just know that every tax- paying American reader is going to eagerly click through to this story!]

CANOE [Sun Newspapers]: "Y2K bugs pale in comparison with fatal flu" - 'Predicting the future is always fun, so it's not surprising that as the 21st century dawns we look to the start of the 20th century for some clue as to what the new age will bring.'...' There has already been a rash of thoughtful books about the First World War (I've got two of them), all dedicated to ensuring that turn-of-the-century arrogance doesn't lead to the same terrible mistakes. You can't be complacent about the future. So it was inevitable that somebody would quickly get around to thinking about the first pandemic of the 20th century: A killer which took more lives than either world war. The Spanish influenza of 1918. The great plagues of the Middle Ages have received far more ink than the 1918 flu, perhaps because they moved relatively slowly and in their time were considered divine retribution.'...'Could it happen again? According to the experts, it's not a matter of if, just when. Every 20 to 40 years or so they expect to see a particularly virulent mutation of the flu virus, and we haven't seen one since 1968. We're due....'

WALL STREET JOURNAL SUNDAY: "High On Drugs" - '...One caveat on this otherwise excellent business: Hospitals stockpiled drugs recently over Y2K fears, which could boost fourth-quarter and depress first- quarter results, and cause a hit to the stock in the second quarter. We think, however, that would present an even greater buying opportunity.' [This is the last story on the linked page]

ARIZONA DAILY STAR: "20th century prosperity holds clues for the future" - 'Now that the dust has settled on millennium fever and the catastrophic scenarios about Y2K have evaporated like soap bubbles, it's worth analyzing the meaning of the 20th century, with the world having lurched into the 21st. Herman Kahn, the founder of the Hudson Institute, argued that, from the Industrial Revolution till sometime in the 22nd century, historical evolution will undergo a statistical ``spike'' of prosperity, a period when wealth, health, security, comfort and longevity increase geometrically...'

JACKSONVILLE.COM: "Police report: Following are crimes and other incidents reported recently on the Westside to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office." 'Burglary: A couple returned home from church Sunday to find that $15,000 in new $100 bills had been stolen from their apartment in the 2000 block of Hyde Park Road. The couple said they had withdrawn the money from their bank out of Y2K concerns...'

-- Hokie (, January 16, 2000.

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