The July 17th early Y2K reports are now up on our 'Y2K News Centre' page..greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
[Today's early Y2K-related reports and stories [plus two interesting ones on 'Y2K flu'] are now up on the Y2K NEWS CENTRE page. You'll find live links beside each story there; the summaries are given below]
JANUARY 17th, 2000:
SILICON.COM: "Behind the Headlines: the bug is alive and well, claim Y2K gurus" - Key experts claim that many firms could still suffer death by a thousand cuts from the millennium bug even though there has been little sign of disruption in UK businesses so far this year. In Silicon's first Behind the Headlines programme of the New Year, Gwynneth Flower, managing director of Action 2000, and Karl Fielder, Y2K guru and CEO of software outfit GMT, both claimed it's too early for industry to breath a collective sigh of relief. Gwynneth Flower, managing director of Action 2000, said: "We always said it was wrong to focus on the 31st of December. The bug problems struck businesses before the 31st and is doing so continuously now and will continue for quite some little time to come." Fielder added: "We are still waiting to see what the effect will be. There are problems out there." While one survey claimed there had been only 67 major instances of the bug striking across the world, Flower preferred to focus on the more minor - but potentially equally significant - incidents, and added that the UK was right to spend as much money as it did preparing for the new millennium. "If the UK hadn't prepared [properly], there would've been chaos," she said...'
CANADIAN PRESS: "False reminders issued" - 'Hundreds of Nova Scotia drivers with ancient drunk-driving convictions have accidentally been sent curt reminders to mend their ways. "We hope that you realize the consequences of this inappropriate behaviour and drive responsibly in the future," Paul Arsenault, Registry of Motor Vehicles compliance director, said in the letter sent recently to about 3,000 people. The letter was supposed to go to drivers whose licence is suspended. However, a pre-Y2K computer glitch meant as many as 600 drivers with old convictions - or none at all - received the letter. "It wasn't until we started getting the calls that we realized there was an error with our system," Robyn MacIsaac, registry spokesman, said this week. The letter's intent was to inform motorists of new changes to drunk-driving laws in the province, as well as other Criminal Code convictions resulting in licence suspensions.'
IT Week: "Lawyers probe Y2K costs" - 'Many fears about the millennium bug may have been unfounded, but lawyers predict that businesses will be looking to recoup Y2K costs that could have been avoided. After spending billions of pounds making computer systems Y2K-compliant, some chief executives are instructing their lawyers to find ways of recouping some of their investment from IT companies that may have done unnecessary work. IT lawyers are already receiving such requests from their clients. Simon Halberstam, head of Internet law at City practice Sprecher, Grier & Halberstam, said clients had asked him to look at possible claims against suppliers. He added that the crucial question would be whether the money that had been spent had avoided a crisis or whether it was completely unnecessary...'
FAYETTEVILLE (N.C.) OBSERVER: "Death rates, Y2K linked" - 'Some funeral home operators in Fayetteville and the Cape Fear region said they noticed a higher-than-normal number of deaths shortly after New Years Day. It may be part of a national trend, suggesting to experts that some terminally ill patients held onto life just long enough to see the new millennium arrive. The will to live can be pretty powerful, said Robert N. Butler, founder and president of the International Longevity Center. The death rate in New York City, for example, jumped by more than 50 percent during the first week of January, according to preliminary numbers from the New York Department of Health, The New York Times reported Sunday...'
LOG CABIN DEMOCRAT: "County guardsmen work on New Year's" - 'Members of the Arkansas National Guard's 212th Signal Battalion celebrated the new year by serving their state. The 681-member battalion, with units in Hot Springs, North Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Benton, was on duty Jan. 1 and 2 as part of its regular monthly training. Some members were also on duty New Year's Eve so their training would coincide with the state's Y2K preparedness needs. Members of the unit set up equipment at five locations, including the state Capitol. The purpose of the exercise was to provide extra training for the soldiers while ensuring that state government would have communications capabilities in the event of Y2K-related problems. "This is something we do just about every drill. We set up our equipment and train," said Major Anita Long of Conway, the unit's full-time administrative officer. "It is nothing different than what we do every time we go out in the field." Major Long said the 212 provides secure communications to combat commanders in wartime. During this peacetime exercise, that service was provided to the state's commander-in-chief, Gov. Mike Huckabee...'
REUTERS: "Kuwait exceeded OPEC quota on client Y2K worry" - 'Kuwait's oil minister said in remarks published Sunday the emirate's December crude output had exceeded its pledged OPEC limit because clients wanted early deliveries to avoid possible millennium disruption. "Many of our clients, who had oil shipments scheduled for January, asked to receive oil in December on fears of (Y2K) problems and this showed up as an increase in output during December and thus a decline in the level of our compliance," Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah told the London-based daily al-Hayat.'
ISRAEL'S BUSINESS ARENA - "Money Supply Surges 8.8% in December, Peaks by 18.7% to Record NIS 25.9 Bln in 1999" - 'The money supply (cash and current account deposits) soared 8.8% in December. This is the highest rise posted in a single month for many years. In the whole of 1999, the money supply rose by a cumulative 18.7%, compared with 12.7% in 1998. This emerges from figures published by the Bank of Israel today. The sharp rise in the money supply in December comes partly from seasonal reasons and partly from large-scale cash hoarding by the public over Y2K fears. The payment of salaries to public sector employees was brought forward, which also contributed to the steep increase in the money supply...'
CINCINNATI ENQUIRER: "Banks call Y2K updates good investment" - 'Banks had to dig into their own pockets to prepare for the year 2000. U.S. banks invested an estimated $80 billion to ensure that their computers were ready for Y2K. And banks with sizable operations in Greater Cincinnati were no exception. A breakdown of what the largest invested: - Fifth Third, $10 million. - Provident, $10 million. - PNC, $30 million. - Huntington, $31 million. - KeyCorp, $50 million. - Firstar, $65 million. The banks said the cash they spent to be Y2K-compliant depended on several factors, including size, the state of their computer systems and the number of individuals and businesses they serve. For example, Bank One Corp. invested a whopping $350 million to get its systems Y2K-compliant, including the ability to serve 70 million banking and credit-card customers. But banks say the tab was worth it to better serve their customers and make their operations more efficient. The investment enabled the industry to make the Y2K issue a big yawn instead of what many people thought would be a nightmare, Bank One spokesman John Russell said.'
SEANET CORPORATION [Internet provider] Web site: "Dear Seanet Customer: As many of you are aware, some of our customers were billed two or more times during the first week of January. This multiple billing was apparently caused by an error in the software used to transmit credit card batches to the credit card clearing service. Our customers who have a billing date of 30, 1, 2, 3, or 4, and are using a credit or debit card for payment are the only ones affected. Bank of America Merchant Services informed us a combination of IC Verify(the makers of the software) , Visa Net (the credit card clearing house) and Merchant Services would handle the refunds to the customers. We were told this morning (Friday 1/14) that the credits have gone through to the various credit card issuers and customers should contact their individual credit card company if they have any questions. We are again processing credit cards. Because of the delay in the processing and the work involved, you may receive a past due notice from us. This is a result of our automated billing system which invokes various dates for various functions which are performed automatically. If you believe you have received such a notice in error, we apologize."
GRAND FORKS HERALD: "One more look back at the Y2K phenomenon" - 'Before Y2K completely disappears from the global radar screen, it's worth taking one more look at the whole phenomenon. The fact that very little happened compared with even the more benign predictions has led to the following lines of thought: - It was a scam perpetrated by computer companies, itinerant programmers, liability attorneys and insurance companies. - It was a very real threat, but the comprehensive efforts of the last 18 months prevented disaster. - It was a mild threat at best, but once the scare industry and their allies in the media got hold of it, it was overblown beyond recognition. Here's where I come down: I don't believe it was a scam. I do believe valiant efforts were made, and I know for a fact that billions of dollars were spent to forestall trouble...'
ORLANDO SENTINEL: "After Y2K: Some companies see revenue start to climb again" - 'Girded with $100 billion of techno-armor, American business and government repelled any serious threat from the so-called Y2K bug. The much ballyhooed Jan. 1, 2000 -- a date some feared would bring computer chaos -- arrived like a lamb. Meanwhile, the loudest roar came from critics who complained the Y2K price was overinflated and from true believers who were burned by the false predictions of doomsday prophets. Although the Y2K bug may still crop up throughout 2000, most experts say the biggest threat is past, and it is now time to move on. That would be good news for many enterprise software companies, which produce major financial systems such as payroll processing, record-keeping and database-management. Those companies' sales dwindled as their business and government customers virtually stopped buying while preparing for Y2K...'
FRESNO BEE: "Earnings reports should help Wall Street find its way" - '...Many technology companies cited Y2K computer worries for slumping sales in the second half of 1999. Meanwhile, the basic industry sector is facing easy comparisons to the fourth quarter of 1998, when many companies were hammered by the Asian financial crisis...'
HUNTSVILLE TIMES: "Experts ponder: Whose thoughts are hate letters?" - '...Hammer said the letter could be dangerous if it can be determined that the letter writer was a member of a Christian Identity, militia or white supremacy group. If the letter reflects the group's philosophy, it could signal an escalation from rhetoric to violence. For instance, the letter's references to Y2K and the year 2000 fall in line with the apocalyptic beliefs of several of the groups mentioned in the Megiddo report. ''The letter is probably more dangerous because the individuals have given it more thought,'' Hammers said. ''They've articulated it with a plan.''...'
NEWSBYTES: "From Y2K To Cybercrime" - 'While failure of Y2K to manifest itself as a wholesale information apocalypse may have taken the issue off of the congressional front burner, there is still strong support for potentially morphing the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem into a permanent cybercrime committee, a committee staffer told Newsbytes today. "Regardless of the fact that there weren't a lot of information attacks (during the rollover) there is still a lot of interest" in creating some sort of permanent congressional committee to focus on cybercrime, Senate Y2K Committee staffer Don Meyer said. The idea of morphing the Senate Y2K committee into a cybercrime/cyberterrorism committee was floated last year when the committee's exploratory efforts surrounding Y2K repeatedly exposed non- Y2K-related vulnerabilities within government and corporate computer systems. As it stands, the Senate Y2K Committee is set to close its doors forever on Feb. 29...'
FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK: "McConnell joins growing list of feds fleeing government" - 'One of the government's top Year 2000 trouble-shooters and an information policy expert for three presidents has decided to look for work in the private sector. Bruce McConnell, head of the International Y2K Cooperation Center, said he will not return to the Office of Management and Budget this spring when the Y2K Cooperation Center shuts down but is "planning to go into the private sector in April."...'
COMPUTERWORLD [Australia]: "Shark Tank: Things change" - 'Y2K was going to be a sizable IT chore until 2002, maybe 2003. Remember? All the gurus said so. With straight faces, even. Well, the layoffs are hitting already. Heck, some outfits started canning Y2K staff before the rollover. Honest. One pilot fish, a Y2K program manager at a smallish consultancy, watched four of his programmers get axed on Dec. 27. No time to pull together a goodbye lunch -- along with three others, he got nailed himself nine days later. When he interviewed in 1997, the pilot fish says, "I asked what was going to happen after 1/1/2000. I was told we would use current customers as a base for non-Y2K business." So much for Plan A. So, Tanksters: You did the job so well that you're not needed anymore. Shark condolences go out to everybody else who's in the ejection seat.'
PC WEEK: "Digital certificates: Another kind of Y2K issue" - 'Year 2000 computer problems, overall, turned out to be a yawner, thank goodness. Evidently, all that fear-mongering that we did two to three years ago did its job. Oh sure, you'll get some bills in the mail with wacko dates, and there was that German guy whose bank credited him with millions of dollars in interest because the software thought his account had been active since 1899. But the lights stayed on, the stores didn't run out of food, and nothing fell out of the sky. However, I was inundated with a different kind of Y2K problem - expiring digital certificates...'
PC WEEK: "Katt sees potty, er, petty problems amid post-Y2K haze" - 'After running out of Slim Jims and bottled water, a cautious [Spencer] Katt emerged into the post-apocalypse atmosphere to find his life largely unchanged. Closing the books on the anticlimactic Y2K rollover while eyeing the next milestone date (02/29/00), El Gato siftedthrough numerous anecdotes of Y2K gotchas, none of which threatened to bring down modern civilization. Here are the highlights. How afraid were some financial institutions of the Y2K threat? A Katt crony at Lehman Bros. was strongly encouraged to report to work on New Year's Day to ensure that things were running smoothlyeven though the employee's job in no way relates to IT. Receiving the ultimate in worst-case-scenario support, all New Year's Day workers were assigned face shields and freeze-dried food. Myriad Web sites and e-mail servers were struck with date woes caused by shoddy programming. The most common errors: years represented as 100, 3900 or 19100. Even Gartner Group - which sternly and endlessly warned how poor Y2K preparedness could result in nothing short of disaster - had a 19100 date in a research alert it e-mailed to a client on Jan. 1...'
SM@RT RESELLER: "Money Well Spent For Y2K. Despite what the critics say, fighting Y2K problems was money well spent." - 'So we all breezed through the turn of the century after all. It's not that there wasn't a very real threat from the double zero. But somehow, this industry managed to engineer its way out of potential danger before it caused havoc. The fact that we made it into 2000 without any serious glitches is a testament to the effectiveness of the service-provider industry. It's largely due to the consultants who mapped out all of the things that could go wrong, and to the integrators who rolled up their sleeves and did the remediation work, either by retooling code or by replacing servers and migrating data to more current systems. In the wake of all this, naysayers are coming out of the woodwork and insisting the Y2K bug was nothing but hype. They'll go to their graves arguing that point. Trying to convince them otherwise is like trying to prove washing your hands before touching your food really can prevent illnesses. That's like saying if you can't see the germs, they don't exist. Indeed, germs did exist in the technological fabric of business around the globe. One dead spy satellite and a few malfunctioning nuclear plants in Japan attest to that fact. And left untreated, those germs would have multiplied and struck at the very core of things like public confidence in computers and the economy as a wholenot to mention the people who are supposed to fix things. Getting sucked into high-profile lawsuits would have a lasting impact on everyone involved, creating a distraction for years to come. All told, analysts estimate the tab for Y2K preparedness topped $100 billion - maybe even twice that amount...'
NEWSBYTES: - "$581Mil Spent On Y2K In Thailand" - 'Government and the private sector in Thailand together dished up a whopping 21.4 billion baht (US$580.73 million) to patch up Year 2000 defects and prepare for contingencies as the world entered the New Year with few signs of serious computer failures. Pairach Tatchayapong, director of the National Y2K Command Centre, said that the private sector alone had spent about 20 billion baht ($542.74 million) in the past three years, while Thaweesak Koanantakool, director of the National Electronic and Computer Technology Centre, said the government and state enterprises had run through at least 1.40 billion baht ($37.99 million) in curing the millennium bug. "It is professional opinion that the problem of the two-digit year is a real one and required complete attention," said Pairach...'
DEVHEAD: "JS Survival Kit: Part 1: Civilization may have survived Y2K, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't prepare for new crises. Kids, don't leave home without your very own Rick Scott JS Survival Kit!" - 'Y2K apocalypticians, keep the faith! Okay, it's true, from all superficial indicators, civilization has survived the 1/1/2000 rollover. But what of the hidden, deeper, infinitely darker truths that roil beneath the surface? Is the world infrastructure dangling on a microthread? Are fleets of emergency kerosene-driven generators just barely keeping the power grid together? Have the international stock markets collapsed without anyone even noticing? Or, even more insidious, is the Y2K superBomb just biding its time, waiting around patiently for the true Third Millennium debut: 1/1/2001? As a scriptular talisman against the Y2.01K cataclysm, allow me to present the JS Survival Kit: A set of ten well-documented, easy-to-use, all-purpose scripts. This month, I'll unveil the first five...' [For Javer Scripters]
BERGEN RECORD: "Don't drop right to sue credit firm [general page header]" - 'Are you among the millions of people who stocked up on batteries to be prepared for potential millennium mayhem, and now find yourself stuck with a multi-year supply? If you're like many consumers, you'll consider storing them in the refrigerator to extend battery life. Don't bother, said Ann Davin, a spokeswoman for Duracell. "The best storage conditions are as close to room temperature as possible, Davin said. There might be "a tiny incremental benefit" if you keep them refrigerated, but the added moisture could hurt. Some of the latest batteries, such as Duracell's "Ultra," have a shelf life of seven years, so you should have no problem with your Y2K supply.' [This is the last story on the linked page]
SALON: "A no-crash guarantee. TheGreatCrash.com promises a chance to invest in a Black Tuesday-proof instrument. Hint: It's wearable." - 'Think an economy yinning out of control must come yanging down to Earth? Convinced there is a limit to prosperity? Ready to bring your economic pessimism out of the closet and throw it at dot-com maniacs? You and your bah-humbug attitude may just find your very own e-haven in TheGreatCrash.com, a site unabashedly hoping to make money off anti-prosperity nuts. The latest work of Zack Exley, an online provocateur of George W. Bush, TheGreatCrash.com appeared Jan. 1, just as the feared Y2K bug crawled quietly away without wreaking havoc and wrecking markets. "You thought Y2K would be your moment of glory. Surely an 'I told you so!' was just around the corner," the site whines. But, no disaster, no glory. Still, you can hold out hope for a stock market crash that will make 1929 look like a trip to bountiful. If your mother disowned you after you convinced her to sell her portfolio and buy bonds in 1998, you might go for Exley's latest investment instrument: "The Great Crash Will Burst Your Bubble in 2000" T-shirt. It sells for $35. "It's an investment," Exley, a Boston computer programmer, says reassuringly. "Thirty-five dollars may be a little inflated for a T-shirt, but nowhere as inflated as the stocks of all these Internet companies. It's nowhere near as stupid as the hundreds of Internet companies worth billions of dollars right now." Besides, as his site puts it: "In 20 years time, as we're clawing our way out of the second Great Depression, these items will be selling on eBay (whose stock price may finally be nearing its 2000 peak) for hundreds -- maybe even thousands -- of dollars." The T-shirts come with a no-crash guarantee. If the stock market slinks its way through 2000 with the sky intact, Exley will send you a replacement shirt, predicting the crash in 2001, instead. But if you lose your shirt in a market tailspin, at least you'll have commemorative clothing. ("Crash" defined: The Dow or NASDAQ falls 60 percent from its peak and stays below 50 percent of its peak until the end of the year. But 50 percent is peanuts, the site warns; brace for a 90 percent drop.)...'
TORONTO SUN: "The world is reeling from the Y2K flu bug" - '...For me the great epidemics aren't just accounts in dusty encyclopedias but in family lore too. The Spanish flu of 1918-19, estimated to have killed 21 million worldwide and 50,000 Canadians, almost killed my uncle and critically exhausted my father, two of the doctors who had to shrug off chills, nausea and high temperature to treat the patients who trusted them. It was a close call for Uncle Lou. He was the only doctor, and dentist and pharmacist for that matter, in Lanigan, Sask. In winter, it was a steak and a glass of rye and then into the horse and sleigh for a long, frigid day, often treating people in miserable sod huts where he didn't dare eat anything. This pandemic flu, which traditionally strikes a worn-out world after an upheaval like a war, destroyed families on the prairies but was worse in Quebec, where it wiped out villages...'
HUNTSVILLE TIMES: "Official: Sales pitch fuels flu 'epidemic'. Drug firms' marketing gets blame for scare" - Influenza kills 20,000 people a year in the U.S. The virus hospitalizes another 110,000 a year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 10-20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year. Several unofficial reports put that number higher this flu season. Rumors of ''outbreaks'' and ''epidemics'' are suddenly common. But why? Is flu much more rampant this year? ''Depends on who you believe,'' said Dr. Larry Robey, the director of the Madison County Health Department. ''There is no true, unbiased monitor out there.''...'Call it a kind of cat-and-mouse between micro-organisms and humans. Most years, the mouse escapes, with the help of the vaccine - 1918 was the last catastrophic flu epidemic in the U.S., when the virus killed 600,000 people...'
-- John Whitley (email@example.com), January 17, 2000
Our ever resourceful lawyers have covered all the bases. Since there doesn't seem to be many fees to be earned from suing suppliers, they are encouraging their clients to sue the consultants who persuaded them to spend big bucks fixing non-existent Y2k bugs. Their $1 trillion windfall evaporated along with all the viruses and computer malfunctions that failed to materialize.
This version of reality is being brought to you by Alan Greenspan and friends.
-- Michael, (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 17, 2000.
John, hell of a job!
Love that Log Cabin Democrat story: This is what we do all the time, there's nothing unique about this, our regular exercises, un huh, we do this everytime we train, ...who's he tryin to convince? Sheez! Field exercises in a civilian area is not typical, and should never be passively accepted. Esp. since the NG was under fed control through that time band.
-- Hokie (Hokie_@hotmail.com), January 17, 2000.