Leap Day arrives with few computer glitches worldwidegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Leap Day arrives with few computer glitches worldwide February 29, 2000 Web posted at: 9:20 PM HKT (1320 GMT)
TOKYO (AP) -- Leap Day brought scattered and minor computer glitches around the world on Tuesday in perhaps the final echo of the Y2K problem that wasn't.
At a nuclear plant in Japan, a computer system that monitors employee work hours shut down but didn't affect operations. The Monju plant, 220 miles west of Tokyo, hasn't produced nuclear energy since 1995.
At Japan's Meteorological Agency, weather monitoring stations reported double-digit rainfall even though no rain fell outside, while computers at six observatories failed to recognize Feb. 29.
Elsewhere in Japan, seismographs at more than 20 sites considered today March 1, and the postal service had problems with receipt printers for registered mail and display screens for interest rates. In addition, 1,200 automated teller machines at post offices shut down, though officials were unsure whether Leap Day was to blame. At a dam in northern Iwate prefecture, the bug caused a screen displaying data on water leakage to stop functioning. The dam's operations were not affected.
In New Zealand, merchants had trouble verifying banking transactions and government experts said as many as 4,000 money transfer terminals might have been affected before the problem was fixed.
The Jakarta (Indonesia) Stock Exchange was closed today as a precaution because of fear that the automatic trading system would encounter computer problems, while the Singapore subway system rejected some riders' cards.
The problems were dismissed as minor by Bruce McConnell, who heads a United Nations-World Bank monitoring group for Y2K.
"I would conclude that, as we predicted, there will not be any significant disruptions, and the world will barely notice Leap Day," he said from Washington late Monday.
There were no early reports of problems as Leap Day arrived in the United States. The North American Electric Reliability Council declared shortly after midnight Eastern time that all power systems in the United States and Canada were "in green status."
Computers have had difficulties in leap years before. Four years ago, for instance, Arizona Lottery players could not buy tickets because its computer failed to understand Leap Day.
Sony Corp. said older video cameras and word processors may fail to recognize Feb. 29, while Microsoft Excel 2000 users might have problems computing financial bonds if they failed to get an update.
This year is more troublesome because it is an exception to an exception. Normally, years that end in "00" are not leap years, but 2000 is because it is divisible by 400.
But many of the problems were caught long ago as Y2K experts tackled the larger Y2K risk: the use of two digits to represent a year, a glitch that could have thrown off computers that run the power grid, air traffic systems and traffic lights.
The Senate's Y2K advisory committee was taking the opportunity to disband. In a wrapup report prepared for release today, the committee identified more than 250 Y2K glitches in some 75 countries, including a nuclear power system failure in the Ukraine and a handful of 911-system breakdowns in the United States.
For the most part, the committee said, Y2K problems "have been quickly corrected and none have caused serious disruptions." It expects "continued reports of minor nuisances throughout 2000, but no major problems." A copy was obtained by The Associated Press.
McConnell's International Y2K Cooperation Center also planned to close today, though members will monitor Leap Day developments for a few more days. Private businesses were handing Y2K responsibilities to regular maintenance teams.
"This is sort of closure on the Year 2000 efforts, like the final frontier here," said Dale Vecchio, research director in St. Louis for technology consulting firm Gartner Group.
Japan's rainfall glitch was blamed on old software, said Ippei Eguchi, spokesman for the meteorological agency. The error was discovered at 43 of the agency's 1,300 ground weather monitoring devices.
The glitch came a day after computers at six observatories in Tokyo and other cities failed to correctly recognize Feb. 29.
A Chinese government task force said crucial computer systems passed into Leap Day smoothly today, though government troubleshooters were ordered to be extra vigilant for two more days.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 29, 2000