Illicall bills for January 1900 sent to 8,500 : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Illicall bills for January 1900 sent to 8,500

Updated 12:00 PM ET January 25, 2000

By Laura Kuhn Daily Illini U. Illinois

(U-WIRE) CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- In 1900, the Post Office did not have any cars or planes to help deliver the mail. That could be a reason why Illicall bills from January 1900 finally arrived last week.

All roughly 8,500 Illicall subscribers have received or will soon receive their January 2000 long-distance statements; however, they appear to be a century old already because of a Y2K glitch.

Scott Spitz, a University of Illinois freshman in applied life studies, noticed that his statement was dated 1900 when it arrived in his mailbox Jan. 19.

"I thought it was kind of funny after the big deal made about Y2K," he said.

Glen Whitmer, assistant director of the Computing and Communications Services Office, said this is the result of the number "19" being hard-coded on the program for the phone bills.

CCSO was aware of the problem and said it already been remedied.

This detail was initially overlooked by programmers from Stonehouse, the Dallas-based company that outfits the University with MONIES, its management system that handles inventory and other information in addition to bills.

"Out of our Y2K concerns, here's one that's surfaced," Whitmer said.

Before 2000 rang in, CCSO was trying to make sure the programs it oversees were functioning properly. These include partnerships with Ameritech on a communications system and cellular phone service, voice mail, pocket paging, the University's connection to the Internet and a campus data network.

"This is fairly minor," Whitmer said of the glitch. "At least we don't have students getting (wrongly) charged for 5,000 minutes of air time." Whitmer added that the run date and run time in the upper right-hand corner of the statements are not affected and display the correct year. Customers will also be expected to pay their bills when they arrive in a few weeks.

(C) 2000 Daily Illini via U-WIRE

-- Homer Beanfang (, January 26, 2000


Would some computer literate person/programer explain How a problem like this would be fixed? Is it in fact not a big deal?


-- MrsPeal (, January 26, 2000.

MrsPeal: If the problem is restricted solely to the display of information on the report (i.e. 'the bill') and does not reflect a deeper problem within their customer database, then changing the hard coded '19' to a hard coded '20' would be a quick and simple fix (and should function fine for the next 100 years)

-- Arnie Rimmer (, January 26, 2000.

However... if the date shown is linked to other subroutines in the program, the situation could be much for serious. This specific example COULD be a trivial case, but it leads one to wonder how many unremediated systems are still "out there" that can and will shut down, malfunction, miscalculate, or otherwise mess up.

-- No Polly (, January 26, 2000.

Speaking of miscalculations, my most recent credit card bill required a payment of $0.20 on an amount that would normally require a much larger payment. When I drew it to the attention of the company, they were quite surprised.

-- Rachel Gibson (, January 26, 2000.

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