Y2K NEWS CENTRE: January 25th Y2K-related stories now up...

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[The January 25th Y2K-related stories are now up on the Y2K NEWS CENTRE web page. Summaries are given below; full newspaper links for each story are given there]

JANUARY 25th, 2000:

STAR-TRIBUNE:"Y2K bug detected at Metro Airport" - 'A previously undetected Y2K problem has emerged in computers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the leader of a radar technicians union says. The problem does not pose any dangers to travelers, and it does not affect flight operations, said Al Gardy, principal representative for Michigan and Wisconsin for the Professional Airways Systems Specialists Union. PASS represents about 160 radar technicians in the two states and about 11, 000 nationwide. Gardy said Monday that technicians discovered the problem Friday at Metro when Federal Aviation Administration personnel tried to extract data about a recent incident in which two aircraft had flown close to each other. The computer was unable to retrieve the stored data, Gardy said. And the date on the computer' s editing program read January 1970. The problem affects only the retrieval of stored data. It has nothing to do with ongoing air traffic control operations. Gardy said FAA officials told him the problem is national but that a software upgrade due to go in this week will correct it. The problem might have arisen because of efforts to prevent Y2K problems. " It did not occur until a Y2K patch was put in, " Gardy told the Detroit Free Press for a story Tuesday.'

THE PRESS [New Zealand]: "Great Y2K anti-climax" - 'It was the biggest anti-climax in history. Amidst predictions of widespread problems, economic collapse, and follow-on law suits, we have entered the new millennium with hardly a hiccup. On one of the few year 2000 websites that still seems to be active, I found a list of just 122 glitches reported worldwide, many of which may not be Y2K problems. Only one of our many clients has reported a problem. In this case the application software was showing a date of 1980, and had to be reset each day. It sounded like a non-compliant PC. Of course it raises the question as to whether there was a need to spend the billions of dollars that were spent worldwide on Y2K remediation and preparation. There is absolutely no doubt that there was a Y2K problem, and it was going to cost billions to fix, but we could argue in hindsight whether we went overboard. Time magazine reported that the US military spent $US4 billion, but the Russian military spent $US4 million and did not seem to suffer from being badly prepared. I notice, though, that one reported glitch is that the Kremlin press office's computer communication system has been paralysed by the millennium bug. One person's estimate was that 30 or 40 per cent of the US expenditure of $US100 billion was unnecessary. This included an estimated $US2.7 billion to staff crisis centres that ended up without a crisis. I agree that there was a lot of wasted effort, but the old problem arises: which part of the effort was unnecessary?...'

FOX NEWS: "Only a few minor Y2k-related glitches were reported during the switchover to 2000:"

UNITED STATES - Naval Timekeeper Malfunctions
The U.S. Naval Observatory, the nation's official timekeeper, experienced a Y2K glitch on its Web site Saturday morning when it declared it was now the year 19100, a Navy officer said. The error was quickly detected and fixed at 2:10 a.m. EST.

UNITED STATES - Power Plants Clocks Off
Eight power plants in the East and Midwest experienced a date-related computer glitch after passing midnight Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), but service was not disrupted and the problem was fixed quickly, officials said.

TOKYO - Nuke Plants Hiccup
Japan reports minor failure of computers linked to radiation monitoring devices at two nuclear plants, but said it wasn't considered serious enough to shut the plants.

SYDNEY, Australia - Ticket Machines Jam
Ticketing machines on some buses in Australia briefly jammed, but the problem was soon fixed.

PARIS - Weather Map Flips
A weather map flips from showing the year 1999 to 19100. Problem was soon fixed.

DELAWARE - Slot Machines Fail
Slot machine at several Delaware racetracks shut down, believing the date to be Jan. 1, 1900. The machines were repaired and are now operating normally.

SPACEDAILY: "Y2K: Looking Ahead, Looking Back" - 'After more than a year of intense preparation -- as well as media hype and occasional hysterics -- for a millennium bug that, in the end, barely took a nibble out of key information systems throughout the world, it might be hard to do little more than yawn as the next Y2K deadline draws near. - But DoD -- just like it did during the Year 2000 rollover -- is leaving nothing to chance for the leap year transition period at the end of February. Bill Curtis, principal director for DoD's Y2K repair effort during the past two years, said the Pentagon's Y2K cell will be fully operational from the end of February through the first few days of March to monitor and fix any glitches that may occur during the period. The Y2K leap year problem results from the fact software developers long ago failed to add the extra day into their programs. Normally, "century years" -- 1800, 1900 -- are not leap years. However, when a century is divisible by 400, as well as by 100 -- such as is the case with the year 2000 -- it is a leap year. Therefore, unless systems have been repaired, it's likely they will not recognize the leap year. Curtis said Y2K tests conducted during the past 18 months uncovered almost as many glitches caused by the leap year problem as they did from the Year 2000 rollover. But he remains confident that the end of February will just as much a non-event for DoD as Jan. 1. "I don't believe we're going to see a lot happen over the leap year," Curtis said. "We had things show up during our [Y2K] testing that focused people on the issue. I suspect the period will go very much like the first of January did. The key thing is, if there are problems, our first team will be right there watching. And if anything needs to be fixed, we'll fix it." Except for a satellite-based intelligence system that experienced a Y2K failure and was inoperable for a few hours, DoD experienced only a few minor Y2K failures on Jan. 1, and they did not affect military operations or readiness. Although the leap year problem is seen as the last major Y2K battle, Curtis said DoD will watching throughout 2000 to catch problems that may pop up down the road...'

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL: "Oil dealers urge customers to ride out price spike. The message from dealers: Don't buy it if you don't need it because the increased cost won't last." - ' ``I want to know who is responsible,'' one woman complained, after paying $1.75 per gallon for heating oil this weekend. ``It's a fiasco.'' Tell us about it, heating oil distributors said. Some were having to call customers to raise the prices for orders made hours earlier. They were being yelled at, accused of price-gouging, and still they might lose money. ``It's ridiculous,'' one said. Remarked another: ``There's something wrong here.'' There's no question about it: The price of heating oil has skyrocketed in the last few days. At Colonial Oil, in Providence, for example, general manager Joseph Iannucci said wholesale price increases forced him to go from $1.219 per gallon Jan. 15, to $1.339 last Thursday, to $1.569 early Friday, to $1.839 Friday night. For a 150-gallon delivery, the difference would be $93 -- from $185.85 to $275.85. A&A Fuel Service, in East Providence, was only slightly lower: $1.79 per gallon, according to Alan Perry, the owner. The Brennan Oil & Heating Co., in North Providence, was charging $1.82, or $1.72 for cash customers. Wood's Heating & Oil was charging similar prices, but its automatic-delivery customers were protected by a $1.099 price cap. Why is oil more expensive now than during the Gulf war? Blame the cold. And the strong winds. Perhaps some poor planning by wholesalers, and an eagerness to profit from the consequences. And Wall Street speculation. And the Arab nations' export policies. A close look shows that at every level, the pennies are adding up. Rhode Island heating oil distributors can buy their oil from 11 suppliers in the state, though many tend to stick to one or two. Perry, of A&A Fuel Service, said the latest price quotes he had received were in the $1.42 to $1.43 per gallon range. Iannucelli, at Colonial, said he was being charged $1.469 by his supplier. Carl Benker, owner of Wood's Heating & Oil, in East Providence, said he was being quoted $1.36 to $1.46. Retailers interviewed yesterday disagreed about whether there's a shortage of oil. Perry said he had received a fax Saturday from Global Petroleum ``saying there's an ample supply of oil.'' But Benker said Wood's was ``on allocation'' at Mobil, its main supplier, and Northeast Petroleum was ``giving it out by the spoonful, . . . trying to limp through by giving it out in small amounts.'' Dennis Brennan, owner of Brennan Oil, said Mobil had been unable to sell him oil since Thursday; Sprague Energy was only taking regular customers; and Global Petroleum, which he said normally operates around the clock, had shut down its East Providence terminal Saturday afternoon, to reopen today at 7 a.m. ``Product is tight,'' Brennan said. ``The supply of fuel was only good for two weeks. You catch a cold snap like this, and you've got to run.'' Some people seem to be buying oil they don't need precisely because they hear there's a shortage, Brennan said. Benker suggested an additional reason for the increased demand: The gas companies give lower rates to large commercial customers who are willing to be shut off when there's a high demand for gas. When the demand spikes -- say, during a bad cold spell -- the ``interruptible'' gas customers need to find an alternate heating fuel, so they also buy oil. Jim Grasso, a spokesman for Providence Gas Co., confirmed that the company has shut off interruptible customers in recent days. Efforts to reach oil wholesalers yesterday were mostly unsuccessful. But Betsy Eaton, a spokeswoman for Mobil in Fairfax, Va., did return a call from The Journal and confirmed that the oil supply had been very low. The cold snap boosted demand, Eaton said, and while normally Mobil could refill its tanks soon, the weather made that impossible, too. The waves were too high to bring a barge into the East Providence terminal mid-week, she said, so it only made it in last night. An allocation system was put in place to ensure the supply was distributed ``fairly and equitably,'' she said. Asked how much Mobil was charging, she said she didn't have the latest figures, but in general, ``pricing is very much a supply-and-demand situation, and very competitive.'' The demand at the New York Mercantile Exchange, where heating oil futures are traded, had ``an element of hysteria'' on Friday, one analyst told Reuters. The price rose by 10 cents, to 93.50 cents a gallon, within hours that morning, reaching a nine-year high. Also on Friday, the Journal of Commerce reported all-time high heating oil prices for barges in New York, $1.10 to $1.37 per gallon, surpassing Gulf war records. A week before, the prices had been in the 79- to 80-cent range, the business paper said, nearly double the 40- to 48-cent price a year ago. The rapid price hike has been attributed to the rise in demand in the Northeast and to reports last week that output limits set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have excessively reduced worldwide oil supplies. It's unclear whether reduced oil reserves have spurred panic buying. Perry, of A&A Fuel Service, said he is waiting for the New York traders to come back to their senses. ``All of this is based on innuendo,'' he said. ``In New York, they look out the window and if it's cold, the price goes up. People who have called me for oil, if they have enough to wait three days, I'm telling them to wait, because if the temperatures moderate, the price is going to drop.'' Al Iannucci, owner of Waldo Oil Service, said he isn't even filling his regular customers' tanks all the way, because the price ``is going to kill them.'' ``I'm telling them -- I'm being honest with them -- `If you don't need it, don't buy it, because this can't last,' '' Iannucci said. ``I really don't believe it's going to last. . . . I think if the weather breaks this week, it should crack it.'' '

STAR-LEDGER: "Y2K fear becomes footnote in history" - 'The President's Council on Y2K Conversion is mighty lonesome duty for a press spokesman these days. Call Jack Gribben the Maytag Repairman of the New Millennium. Heck, just call him. "It's a lot quieter," he said, remembering that halcyon weekend three weeks ago when hundreds of reporters hung on his every word, inside a $50 million Y2K center where government officials teemed like protozoans in a petri dish. Now, as the Millennium Bug assumes its rightful place beside the Pet Rock, skeleton staffs in Washington are left to tidy up after the greatest noncalamity of the 21st century. Sure, Y2K had some big losers. Boris Yeltsin. Wall Street's Ed ("70 Percent Chance of World Recession") Yardeni. IBM, which blamed the bug for lousy earnings. Starving lawyers with no disasters to litigate. And some surprises still may await companies that process payments at month's end. Likewise, next month's leap year day could throw some computers for a loop.. .'

REUTERS: "FOCUS - India diesel buying hits the accelerator" - 'Key Asian gas oil buyer India has imported more diesel than expected in its latest purchase tender for March, traders said on Monday. It also surprised the market by issuing another tender to seek diesel deliveries for March, raising the prospect that its first quarter buying -- already as much as 855,000 tonnes, or 6.4 million barrels -- would continue. In its latest tender, state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) awarded up to 255,000 tonnes of diesel in seven cargoes for first half delivery. ``We were looking at seven to eight cargoes for the full month ... the buying was, therefore, more than expected,'' one trader with a Western oil company said, referring to the tender issued at the weekend for more diesel. ``India is giving ongoing support to the market, already we see some key Indian players bidding for gas oil.'' Singapore gas oil swaps returned to more than $30.00 per barrel on Monday, after easing to $29.80/$29.90 late on Friday. The market had surged nearly $2.00 on Friday to more than $30.00, a level not seen for at least 36-months. India's sudden demand this year for diesel is exacerbating the Asian price effects of a squeeze on crude by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which has forced benchmark crude prices to nine-year highs. These crude prices tend to set global oil prices trends. Last week, traders had expected IOC to slow down its rate of imports after an earlier tender awarded fewer cargoes than had been expected. Refinery problems sparked India's imports, traders said, but the problems had seemed under control...'

WASHINGTON POST:"EXECUTIVE NOTES: A 'Y' for Y2K Teams: YRU Still Here?" - 'Since the Y2K bug turned out to have little bite, federal agencies are now trying to figure out what to do with their Year 2000 technology staffs. One industry group has offered a solution to its oversight agency: Abolish the job positions. The National Association of Federal Credit Unions contends that the industry's regulator, the National Credit Union Administration, can give up the 34 extra jobs it created for Y2K. "A reduction in staff levels for the agency is now in order," association President Kenneth L. Robinson said in a letter to NCUA Chairman Norman E. D'Amours. Federally chartered credit unions pay about 80 percent of the agency's annual $134 million budget, and eliminating the 34 Y2K job slots would shave about $3 million, the association said...'

[Full links on the Y2K NEWS CENTRE page]


-- John Whitley (jwhitley@inforamp.net), January 25, 2000


These are some good posts John. Thank you.

-- Dee (T1Colt556@aol.com), January 25, 2000.

Double that Thanks John.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), January 26, 2000.

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