Y2K NEWS CENTRE - the early January 18th Y2K-related stories are now up...

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

[Here are the summaries of today's early Y2K-related stories, now up on the Y2K NEWS CENTRE page. You'll find complete newspaper live links for each of the following stories there...]

JANUARY 18th, 2000:

MOSCOW TIMES: "Ministry Preaches Year of Gloom and Doom" - 'Y2K may have proved disappointing, but an entire new year of imminent disasters promises to make up for it - so the prognosis goes. For Russia, the year 2000 could very well be one of deadly atomic explosions, radioactive fallout, nuclear waste catastrophes, floods and fires. And the prophet isn't Nostradamus this time around, but the Emergency Situations Ministry. The potential disasters awaiting Russia were laid out in great detail Monday by Emergency Ministry specialists in the daily newspaper Segodnya. By their confirmed expert accounts, there are few safe places to be found in Russia's 11 time zones. Given the nature of the potential disasters - most being of a nuclear nature - there's relatively little citizens can do to protect themselves. At the very least, drinking the water here is inadvisable. If the past is anything to go on, Russia's future crop of bad news will verge on the apocalyptic. A roundup of 1999's headlining disasters reads like a page out of Revelations: "Locusts Attack Siberian Crops," "3 Electrocuted on Bus," "Chernobyl Still Causing Health Woes," "Nuclear Plant Ablaze," "Radioactive Fish Fed to Orphans," "Radioactive Cranberries Discovered in Market," "Toxic Sludge Threatens St. Pete Water." Topping off the ministry's list of potential disasters this year are imminent nuclear catastrophes - all too familiar to survivors of Chernobyl - at any number of the country's atomic energy plants, nuclear waste dumps and nuclear recycling plants with facilities badly in need of serious repair. According to the ministry, Russia's nuclear energy complexes are all located within 30 kilometers of 1,300 populated places; catastrophes at these plants would endanger the lives of 4 million people...' THE TIMES: "Bug lists babies as aged 100" - 'Thousands of newborn babies have been listed officially as 100 years old. Computers at English register offices are refusing to recognise the year as 2000 and are printing 1900 on birth certificates. The millennium bug in computer software has meant that staff are writing birth certificates by hand with a promise to parents that a printed certificate will be sent later. New software is being sent to all 382 register offices. A spokesman for the Office for National Statistics said last night: "We have found a problem with the software which was affecting the date. It has meant that printed birth certificates have not been available. Births are still being collated in each register office's main records book, but a copy cannot be printed on the computer." The problem has not affected offices in Wales and Scotland, which have different systems. With an average of more than 600,000 births in England a year, the problem could have affected registrations of 25,000 babies in the first two weeks of this month.'

THE INDEPENDENT: "Millennium bug bites one in 14 UK businesses" - "One in 14 British businesses - 7 per cent - were hit by the millennium computer bug, the first official Government survey of the problem showed yesterday. A further 2 per cent suffered from higher wage costs and a slump in demand. But one leading expert said it was too early to say the millennium had had little effect on corporate activity...'

BYTE: "Y2 Hey! Letters To The Editor" - '...A minor comment on your editorial. What did people want from the Y2K situation? I think you missed the point. What people wanted was to feel that the paranoia spread by people in authority, and the actions taken by concerned people in response to their warnings, were justified. That means that what "should" have happened (in an ideal world) is that people who invested in Y2K protection were saved from being affected by the situation due to their preparations, and the people who didn't got hurt at some tangible level. We got only half of that equation. The people who went to some trouble to guard against Y2K indeed were not hurt, as planned. BUT -- the people who did nothing at all seemed not to get hurt, and THAT'S what has led some people to wonder whether the situation was overhyped, and whether too much was spent on the situation. If some tangible losses had been suffered by people who did the grasshopper thing (as opposed to the ant thing, for those who like fables) then it would have reinforced such traditional values as forethought, hard work when you could be playing, money invested to ward off evil, etc. Having it turn out otherwise makes people wonder whether they were the subject of a scam...'

REUTERS: [this is from our 'Thank goodness the power stayed on or we'd have missed all this!' department] "Appliance Makers Plan Smart Devices" - 'Sunbeam and Maytag are moving to perk up home appliances for the Internet age by adding electronics to coffee makers, alarm clocks and refrigerators. Sunbeam, the Boca Raton, Fla., maker of the Mr. Coffee and Health-O-Meter lines, said it was developing "smart" consumer appliances like electric blankets, bathroom scales and an alarm clock that can communicate with other appliances. Maytag, based in Newton, Iowa, said it was allying with Microsoft to develop appliances based on Universal Plug and Play standards. The new appliances would interact with new television and the Internet. Maytag said the technology would, for example, let a consumer send a recipe from an interactive TV to a refrigerator, which would take an inventory of ingredients needed. The refrigerator could generate a list and place an order with an online grocer.

BANKOK POST: "Infection alert" - 'Just when you thought it was safe to start ignoring Y2K warnings and other computer scare stories, Reader B.K.S. alerts us to a potentially lethal new virus:

"If you receive an e-mail entitled \"Badtimes\" delete it immediately. Do not open it. It will not only erase everything on your hard drive, but it will also delete anything on disks within five metres of your computer.
"It demagnetises the stripes on all of your credit cards. It reprograms your ATM access code, screws up the tracking on your VCR and uses subspace field harmonics to scratch any CDs you attempt to play.
"It will re-calibrate your refrigerator's coolness settings so all your ice cream melts and your milk curdles. It will program your phone auto-dial to call only your mother-in-law's number.
"This virus will mix antifreeze into your fish tank. It will leave dirty socks on the coffee table when you are expecting company. It will replace your shampoo with Nair and your Nair with Rogaine, all the while dating your current boyfriend or girlfriend behind your back and billing their hotel rendezvous to your Visa card. It will give you Dutch Elm disease and tinea.
"It will rewrite your backup files, changing all active verbs to passive and incorporating undetectable misspellings that grossly change the interpretations of key sentences. If the message is opened in a Windows 95 or 98 environment, it will leave the toilet seat up and leave your hair dryer plugged in dangerously close to a full bathtub.
"It will molecularly rearrange your cologne or perfume, causing it to smell like dill pickles. It is insidious and subtle. It is dangerous and terrifying to behold.
Please, please forward this message to everyone you know!
"Then lighten up and get a life."
[This is the last item on the linked page]

FOX MARKETWIRE: "Hackers vandalize popular Library of Congress Web site" - '...The electronic vandalism also came amid renewed emphasis by the government on keeping safe its most important computers, which generally don't include those running its Web sites. Officials astonished at the scope of risks to the government from Y2K bugs have called for tighter security of their systems.'

REUTERS: "Investors brace for IBM report, but Y2K pickup ahead" - 'International Business Machines Corp. , the worst bitten among major computer makers by the Year 2000 computer bug, is set to post lower fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, but may provide clues to when a rebound in spending could once again power its results. The world's largest maker of computer hardware, software and services is set to report results for the fourth quarter and year after the stock market closes Wednesday.'...'IBM officials have blamed the shortfall on a spending pause on business computer systems by some large corporate customers as they sought to avert potential millennium bug computer crashes. Such delays could stretch into first quarter 2000, they have cautioned'...'"With Y2K passing uneventfully, spending freezes could end sooner in Q1 (first quarter) than expected," Goldman Sachs analyst Laura Conigliaro said last week. "This raises the potential of Q1 upside for IBM," she said, referring to the possibility that first quarter results will handily beat the lowered expectations the company had set previously'...'The impact of the long-anticipated "Y2K threat" to computer makers was felt mainly among suppliers of mainframe computers and software to run them, with IBM, the world's largest maker of mainframes, the hardest hit....'

ORLANDO SENTINEL: "Struggling HTE chooses chief executive" - 'After a stream of executive exits in 1999, financially troubled software developer HTE Inc. of Lake Mary reversed the tide Monday, appointing industry veteran Joseph M. Loughry III as its president and chief executive officer. Loughry, 54, becomes the company's second chief executive in less than a year as HTE suffered a series of multimillion-dollar losses, sales plummets and management shake-ups in 1999.'...'The company, which produces software for utilities and government agencies, cited Y2K as one of the causes of its woes. Sales shrank as many customers spent money instead on solving their problems with the so-called Y2K bug, officials said...'

ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE: "Georgia's gun business boomed during 1999. But downturn expected in 2000" - '...Georgia gun retailers interviewed for this story reported that their sales increased from 1998 to 1999 between 15 percent and 35 percent. They gave the healthy economy some credit for the increase, but most dealers said fear of the overhyped Y2K bug drove sales. "It doesn't matter if it's bullets or lingerie, people are going to buy things when they are concerned the world is going to end because of that Y2K thing, and you can't blame them for it," said Cecil Neal, a manager at The Bargain Barn in Jasper, which ranked No. 3 for approved gun transactions among individual Georgia gun retailers. Approved gun transactions during the last two weeks of 1999 totaled 26,285 and account for about 11 percent of the state's total approvals in 1999, the GBI data show. "We had the best year ever and a lot of it had to do with that Y2K thing," said Kevin Grant, whose store, Grant's Pawn Shop in Dalton, ranked No. 9 in the state among individual retailers with 1,735 transactions approved...'

DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL "Paranoia stifles our celebration" - '"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt. Denver boosters that claim we are a "world class city" must have been taken aback on New Years Eve. While true "world class cities" around the globe invited their citizens to take part in elaborate, once-in-a-lifetime civic celebrations, Denver officials decided to bag parking meters in Lower Downtown. Our city, which owns the mountain time zone, projected an out-of-date image of vacant streets and tumbleweeds. A cow town without the cows. The city's response to New Year's Eve demonstrates a troubling paranoia that threatens Denver's evolution to a 24-hour city'...'What is most disconcerting about the city's lockdown of downtown on New Year's Eve was the message it sent to this community. This city did not trust its citizens to celebrate in a responsible way. Furthermore, the bagging of meters and deployment of police kept people away from downtown. These actions suggest we do not have the civic confidence that characterizes more mature urban centers. The official line from City Hall on declaring virtual marshall law on Dec. 31 was to focus on Y2K issues and prevent a repeat of recent Bronco celebration melees...'

BALTIMORE SUN: "Survivalists create Idaho haven, not doubting meltdown is near. Covenant communities await disasters, stocking supplies to last years" - 'This is supposed to be the safest place in America. Good ground-water table. Tillable land. Lots of protein running wild in the hills. No nearby military installations. And the closest big city -- if anybody would call Boise a big city -- is 274 miles away. Want to make it through the dawning of a new era, the Y2K bug, the end of the world? Go to the place created by the dynamic duo of survivalism, Bo Gritz and Jack McLamb. Their Idaho mountain redoubt was designed as a fortress against one-world government, urban crime, smog, traffic, zoning laws, the Antichrist and errant computers. If you feel safer now that all appears well with the arrival of 2000, just wait. "We got lots more coming at us," Leonard Michael said recently from his nuclear-proof underground retreat on the outskirts of Doves of the Valley. "What I've said is it's going to be a slow thing -- a little thing here, a little thing there. But it's still coming." "I think it's real interesting the government has spent this much time to build this whole Y2K thing up, and then nothing happens," added Mike Cain, whose own supply cache is considerable. "I think Y2K was just a little incident. It has nothing to do with the whole new world order scheme. It's still full steam ahead. It's inevitable."..."Y2K was an artificially created situation, and now those that created it are going to have to come up with some kind of activity to keep from looking like story-tellers and liars," Rauquist said. "Anybody who won't go along with Slick Willie's program is called anti-government," Rauquist said, referring to Clinton administration policies. "How dare they call us anti-government, when we are the government?" he said, calling federal officials' "usurpation of authority" a criminal act. "It smacks of treason," Cain interjected.'

ARIZONA DAILY STAR: "The paranoid's creed: If you cannot shoot at it, don't worry about it" - 'So here we are in the Year Aught, the millennium's over, the Christmas tree is down, we're in debt, and here comes January, February, Ry-Krisp and cottage cheese. Now is the winter of our discontent, so I think we ought to coordinate our paranoias. I've been worried about our paranoias lately - we don't have them in order. Some of us got all paranoid about the Y2K bug, while the media enjoyed a late-year terrorist boomlet. Traditionalists are sticking with the Russians and still want to build Star Wars...'

JERUSALEM POST: "Dollar drops to NIS 4.08, seen falling further" - 'The shekel gained almost another 0.5 percent against the US currency yesterday, pushing below NIS 4.10 for the first time since mid-July, with dealers saying that no one was interested in holding dollars.'...'Dealers said the market was characterized by what they called a "lack of dollar buyers," which they attributed to expectations that the US currency still had some way to go before it would go lower. They said that although NIS 4.10 to the dollar had been widely seen as a key resistance level, the shekel sailed through it with no special problems'...'The dealer added that the market might also be affected in coming days by the expiry of dollar futures contracts, which were purchased by the business sector last year on fears of the possible impact of the Y2K problem...'

NEW YORK TIMES: "Software Softens Taxing Task" - 'The good news is that the U.S. government survived the Y2K menace. The bad news is that this includes the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS Web site declares that Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti ``regards improving customer service as a long-term goal.'' However, since there's no indication that the IRS intends to provide the ultimate service of going away, it's time to consider tax-preparaion software....'

NEW YORK TIMES: "Internet Privacy Safeguards Sought" - 'Companies are poised to spend billions of dollars to streamline electronic commerce, but the Internet could become a Trojan horse if businesses fail to employ appropriate security safeguards, experts said Monday. With the Y2K threat behind them and increasing consumer acceptance of the Web for conducting business and getting entertainment, businesses are shifting their attention to the challenge of securing data transmissions between everything from computer networks to pagers, cellular phones, electronic organizers and automobiles...'

MSNBC: "Microsoft certificate bug crashes Netscape browser. Negotiations between server, browser over security break down" - 'The global, Internet economy knows no boundaries, except, perhaps, when it comes to cryptography. A recently discovered digital certificate bug in Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) causes Netscape Communicator 4.7 browsers to crash while negotiating encryption key lengths with affected Microsoft servers. Touching both Macintosh and Windows browsers, the problem stems from a miscommunication between Communicator 4.7 and Microsofts IIS 4. By default, international versions of Communicator 4.7 come prepared to accept 56-bit digital certificates (American companies doing business overseas can use these certificates). But IIS 4 does not correctly support 56-bit certificates, so when Communicator tries to step up to the highest level of security (128-bit key length certificates), it simply crashes with an invalid page fault in NETSCAPE.EXE...'

BLOOMBERG: "Japan December Key Money Supply Rises Annual 0.6%, Growth Slows, BOJ Says" - 'Japan's most watched measure of money supply rose at a slower pace in December from November, as the amount of money held in time deposits shrank for the first time in two years. M2 -- which measures cash in circulation, regular and term deposits plus certificates of deposit -- rose at an annual pace of 0.6 percent pace last month, seasonally adjusted, from a revised 2.9 percent rate in November. From a year ago, M2 and CDs rose 2.6 percent, less than economists' forecasts of a 3.2 percent gain. Time deposits, which accounts for more than half of M2 plus CDs, shrank 1 percent in December from a year earlier, as workers had less money to save after receiving smaller winter bonuses. "What I suspect was behind all of this was the weak winter bonuses, and people not having the money to put in to these time deposits,'' said Ron Bevacqua, senior economist at Commerz Securities (Japan) Co. "On top of which interest rates are low, and they're not interested in time deposits anyway.'' Sumitomo Bank pays 0.12 percent interest on one year time deposits. Growth in money supply slowed even as the central bank flooded the money market last month to ward off a possible shortage of funds amid concern computers may malfunction at the turn of the century. Consumers also withdrew extra cash, because they were urged to keep some cash handy in the event of any problems'...'On Dec. 30, the last business day of the year, the central bank left a 22.6 trillion yen ($215 billion) surplus in the banking system, compared to its usual daily surplus of about one trillion yen. This was not reflected in the report because it is an average taken over the whole month, said the BOJ. Also, most of the cash was stored at financial institutions, without being used. "Currency growth may seem a little small,'' said Kiichiro Sato, the chief manager at the BOJ's economic statistics division. "But money supply figures exclude cash held by the government and financial institutions.'' Whatever the Y2K effects, the economic picture hasn't much changed, with banks reluctant to lend and companies winding back borrowing. "Demand for capital in the economy is so low, that you're not likely to see a major recovery in money supply growth even at interest rates near zero,'' Commerz's Bevacqua said. "It should be telling the BOJ that the economy is still too weak to consider an interest rate hike.''...'

YAHOO NEWS: "Tokyo stocks ease, hurt by BOJ liquidity cut back" - 'Tokyo stocks eased by midday on Tuesday, falling into a natural correction amid concerns that Monday's sharp rise of more than 2.5 percent in the benchmark Nikkei average may have been overdone. The Nikkei was down 249.25 points or 1.28 percent at 19,187.98 by midday. March Nikkei futures <0#JNI:> fell 60 to 19,240. Profit-taking was also fuelled by disappointment after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) on Tuesday ended its Y2K-related excess liquidity supply to the financial markets, traders said. There was a vague hope that the central bank may continue its extremely accommodative market operations at least before the Group of Seven (G7) meeting this weekend to encourage other G7 members to agree to the view that a firmer yen is undesirable. The BOJ cut back the fund surplus to the de facto norm level of one trillion yen on Tuesday. The BOJ had left trillions of yen in surplus since late November to address possible computer failures, a part of which apparently flew into the stock market...'

BANKOK POST: "Revenue Department's tax haul below target by 9%. Low interest rates, VAT cut blamed" - 'Tax collected by the Revenue Department between October and December, the first quarter of the fiscal year, was 9% below target, said spokeswoman Paitoon Pongkesorn. However, the department was confident that the shortfall would be made up in the second and third quarters, boosted by receipts from tourism. Many tourists had postponed trips to Thailand in the last quarter of 1999 because of the Y2K problem, she said...'

MSNBC: "Credit card fraud  it was easy. E-commerces dirty little secret surfaces after teen-ager grabs and gives away thousands of credit card numbers" - '...When the break-in was reported, Brad Greenspan, chairman of CD Universe parent company eUniverse, blamed credit-card processing software called ICVerify. The New York Times also reported on Monday that Maxus told the paper he exploited a flaw in ICVerify. Recently acquired by Cybercash, this is not the only black eye ICVerify software has received recently. Just last week, a Y2K bug connected to the software was reported. After Jan. 1, in some versions of the software, the system began charging credit cards repeatedly for the same purchase. According to the company, in that situation, merchants were at fault for not updating their software to Y2K-compliant versions; and all the multiple charges were stopped by major credit organizations like Visa or Mastercard before they reached consumers credit card bills...'

DULUTH NEWS: "Renewable energy best for future [Letter to the Editor]" - 'Environmental issues columnist Andrew Slade's thoughtful opinion, ``Earth, not Y2K, the right reason to stockpile renewable energy'' (Jan. 9), offered excellent reasons why government, industry and the public should seek sustainable, long-term solutions to meet our energy needs. There is another reason to support genuinely renewable energy: that of human rights. Today, Minnesota buys "renewable" hydroelectricity from Manitoba Hydro. This electricity is generated on the backs of Pimicikamak Cree Indians whose culture and way of life have been all but destroyed by flooding huge areas of northern Manitoba's boreal forest. This mega-hydroproject produces pernicious greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, and methylmercury that poisons fish and aquatic mammals. But if we built more windfarms on Buffalo Ridge in southwest Minnesota and on Indian lands in the Dakotas, the electricity generated would displace the ``need'' to buy damaging Manitoba Hydro. Then Minnesota really would have an equitable energy policy to sustain our economy and lifestyles for seven generations and beyond.
Ann Stewart
Pimicikamak Cree Nation
[We really have a high regard for the Cree - a fine people, who deserve more consideration and exposure of their concerns than they usually get in the mainstream press. So, from James Bay south, east, and west, our hearty Y2K good wishes to the historic Cree Nation, and here's our publicity contribution...!]

NATIONAL POST "Would the real prophets of doom please stand up" - '...In his Jan. 4 editorial, Mr. Corcoran makes an interesting analogy between concerns over the Y2K bug and global warming, but his logic eludes me. Just because a "Y2K meltdown" failed to materialize, how does it follow that action against global warming is unwarranted? According to this reasoning, we should also cancel our health and life insurance because there was no Y2K disaster. That whole "insurance" thing -- what a scam!...' [If this 17th January story has disappeared into the National Post's archive, use the Search box on the left of the newspaper's home page to locate it]

ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS: "Y2K bug not nearly as scary as the upgrades it spurred" - 'The Y2K bug. Yawn. I don't know about you, but at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, 1999, my toilet flushed, my microwave zapped burritos on demand, and my VCR continued to dutifully tape another airing of the Jerry Springer show each night as I had asked it to for years. My bank balance showed that negative amount as it had for months and the elevator in my office building worked just fine. In other words the Y2K bug affected nothing in my life. But unlike a large majority of the population, and almost every friend, relative and neighbor I know, I didn't do a thing to my computers. And you know what? Nothing happened. Chalk it up to skepticism, laziness or just plain forgetfulness, but I did nothing to any of my computers to prepare for Y2K. And you know what? Nothing has happened - yet. For example, my old 386 Packard Bell computer I use as my voicemail, faxmail and overall system to confuse and frustrate people keeps right on answering the phone even though I haven't downloaded, installed or otherwise stuffed any upgrades into it. And that laptop I bought three years ago and have done little to except to upgrade to Windows 98 doesn't seem to have a problem adding up numbers, writing letters or getting onto the Internet. There are no problems with either the Compaq or HP 433Mhz Intel Pentium systems I recently purchased. And of course my four trusty old Macintoshes keep churning away because, well, Apple designed them to work up until the year 2040 (actually a little longer if you really want to get technical). Too bad everyone didn't have a Mac; then of course Y2K would have been a real non-issue. I can't say the same no-problem fate has befallen many of my friends and associates who ran out to get the latest and greatest update. Three people I know had problems when they tried to upgrade their BIOS, the special chip on the computer's main board that provides an interface between the system components like the clock, the drives and the processor. Another accidentally erased all her information stored in her spreadsheet folder when she upgraded her Excel software, while another client reports her accounting software does nothing but bomb out now that she installed the new Y2K patch. So do I think all this hoopla about Y2K was a hoax? A scam perpetrated on the world? Yes, and no. I think people, on average, are so naive about the inner workings of computers that many will take whatever a self-proclaimed expert says to heart and quickly do whatever those experts say. (And you who have a basement full of SPAM know who you are.) I think this Y2K thing is a big example of computer experts being wrong (in some regards) and whipping the media into a frenzy that eventually sent many gullible types running scared to the computer store or the Internet to upgrade what most likely didn't need an upgrade...'

BILLINGS GAZETTE: "Y2K was Y2-pffft as far as I'm concerned" - 'Now that the dust has settled from the Damocletian threat posed by the arrival of a new year, a new century and the millennium they brought with them, a few random thoughts:
The world is still here without having heard even the suggestion of a bang or the hint of a whimper as the calendar did its chronological grand slam.
And listen though one might for sounds of battle, the plain of Megiddo was silent.'
'...there was another friend who, after pooh-poohing the millennium bugaboo along with his wife, suggested gently one day that possibly they might lay in a few bottles of water in case of a power failure and their pump was no longer able to supply them with water for morning coffee. It would probably only last a few hours if it happened at all, he said. His wife gave him that look that wives often can give husbands before replying. "And if power fails so that we can't get water for coffee, dear," she said, "then how do we manage to brew coffee in an electric coffee maker?"...'

CANADIAN PRESS "Hydro Quebec says peak electricity demand no cause for concern" - 'With the province in the grips of a cold snap, Hydro-Quebec churned out more electricity on Monday than it has on any other day this winter. The utility says it has plenty to spare. "Our system was conceived with these kinds of temperatures in mind," said Hydro-Quebec spokeswoman Sylvie Tremblay. "People shouldn't worry. We still have a huge margin of error." At 5:36 p.m., the utility was putting out 31,150 megawatts of electricity -- with 4,000 megawatts still available. Hydro-Quebec expected demand to rise to 31,500 megawatts today because temperatures were expected to drop to as low as -28. "Heating requires, by far, the greatest amount of customer demand," Tremblay said. "But we always reduce exports at this time of year to prepare for the cold weather."

TORONTO SUN "Cold enough, eh? Arctic air triggers alert to get homeless in shelters" - 'The return of bitter arctic weather -- and its potential to kill homeless people -- triggered an extreme cold-weather alert by the Toronto board of health for last night, today and tomorrow. "It is a short-term emergency response," said Liz Jansen, public health spokesman. Jansen said the alert is intended to ensure the homeless can get help and have somewhere warm to go "when it is extremely cold." Last night's temperature plummeted to about -26C with the wind-chill factor. Environment Canada's Mike Adamson said the biting cold is not going to let up. He's calling for a low of -17C tomorrow and -15C on Wednesday. The extreme weather alert puts more street patrols in place and opens more beds in hostels and shelters. Free TTC tickets are available at drop-in centres like Evergreen and Street Outreach, and the Canadian Red Cross is available to provide emergency transportation. An advocate said the deep freeze is especially difficult for those without shelter. "The cold weather is very stressful," said Clive Jones, of Street Helpline, a 24-hour service that picks up the homeless and takes them to available shelters. "They are very scared." Jones urges the public to call Street Helpline at 416-392-3777 if they see someone sleeping outside. The City of Toronto funds 50 hostels for about 4,500 people.' [Thank God - literally! - that the power grid stayed up during the Y2K rollover...]

COMPUTERWORLD [Australia]: "Worst is over, so take advantage of the Y2K windfall" - ' "Every kind of nut, charlatan and headline-seeker will be making pronouncements about Y2K and our previously obscure profession." Say, who said that? Oh, now I remember - I did! More than a year ago, in fact, in my last column of 1998. I was talking about the downside of all the light that would be shining on the information technology profession during 1999. Did we want all that scrutiny? Did we want to be in the position of being either the creators of the bug that ended civilization as we know it or alarmists like Chicken Little? Well, the headline-seeking came to pass, and Y2K was hyped beyond belief  despite, I might add, my repeated assurances in this column that it would have minimal impact on the economy. My company has even gone on record with an estimate of how much the world overprepared for the millennium change ($65 billion to $75 billion). Nevertheless, there seems to be little fallout from the overhyping of Y2K. Those nuts, charlatans and headline-seekers have all pretty much declared victory over the Y2K plague and gone on to other business. They're crediting themselves for raising the alarm and the IT profession for eradicating the bug. I only know of one foreign minister who had to resign for whipping his population into a froth over Y2K. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to take advantage of this post-Y2K euphoria. Here are some tips:..."

AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING COMPANY: "Goulburn rocks Y2K" - 'An album entitled Cluster Y2K - music for the new millennium from the Goulburn region is to be released at the end of the month. The CD which will be launched at a concert in Goulburn on January 29, was put together with the help of Goulburn Youth Council, the Southern Tablelands Regional Arts Program and the local council. Local youth Anthony Kranitis, 16, is a band member featured on the CD and says a number of local groups are part of the compilation. "There is us, Posiedon, another Goulburn group called Sapien and Beggars Temple, Akrya, Vitamin Z, Blusion, Angry Picasso and the Sydney band, iNsuRge," he said.' [You heard it here first. Get those Y2K music orders in...!]

JERUSALEM POST: 'THE YEAR 2000 Crisis By All the Top Cartoonists (http://www.cagle.com/Y2K/ bug25.asp) is an altogether different sort of database, that will allow you to have the last laugh at millennial alarmism. Scroll these one by one and, when you're ready to move on to matters more immediate, make use of the site's other cartoons, listed under topical categories.'

MONTREAL GAZETTE: "Y2K edition of The Gazette " [There's still time to download your own commemorative edition of this issue for your Y2K digital nostalgia collection - hey! you are putting something aside for your grandchildren, aren't you?]


-- John Whitley (jwhitley@inforamp.net), January 18, 2000


Thanks for keeping us informed, John.

-- Mostly (a@lurker.now), January 18, 2000.

THAT'S the Y2K News??????? There is NOTHING!!!!! Sheeeeesh! Literally nothing. They've got posts to cartoonists reviews and a dozen fluff pieces. Useless

-- Squirrel Hunter (nuts@upina.tree), January 18, 2000.

Yawn....... THAT's ALL???? Makes a chicken little mighty proud to have a years supply of tuna fish and Spam in the pantry....

-- gee (bored@beyond.tears.com), January 18, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ