Computer glitch slows tag renewal : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Story last updated at 12:21 a.m. on Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Computer glitch slows tag renewals

By David Bauerlein Times-Union staff writer

Glitches in a statewide computer network left hundreds of Duval County residents frustrated when they could not get their license tags renewed Monday and yesterday, but officials said they have cleared up the problem.

As many as 30 Florida counties experienced disruptions in their connections with the statewide network. The foul-ups were not related to Leap Day and the so-called Y29 bug, stemming from the inability of some computers to recognize Feb. 29, state officials said.

Instead, the problem was traced to a change the state made during the weekend to expand the capacity of its system, which handles a huge amount of data, including driver licenses and license tags. The new version contained some technological changes that the state's computer vendor, Intermediate Communications, did not know about, said Roy Cales, chief information officer for the state.

Those changes caused the system to bog down during periods of high activity, Cales said.

"It's like closing down Interstate 95 and routing all the traffic to A1A," said Carl Ford, assistant director for the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

"It's unfortunate and it's especially irritating to people who wait in line for hours," Cales said. "We know that."

In Duval County, some branches of the tax collector could not get into the state system for hours. Even when the system was available, it would take 30 minutes to process a single license tag renewal because the computer moved so slowly, Duval County officials said.

For example, the Beaches branch of the tax office was able to process about 200 license tags Monday, about half the usual amount. That squeeze happened as the number of people coming into the office swelled as they sought to get new tags before month's end.

The problems with the computer network came at "absolutely the worst time," said Todd Norman, assistant to the tax collector.

By early yesterday afternoon, the state had removed the capacity upgrades and restored the system to the way it was before making the changes during the weekend.

Cales said the state will need to expand the capacity at a later date, but will not try again until programmers can determine what went wrong. He said the state will do more testing as well before installation.

-- Homer Beanfang (, March 01, 2000


Texas had mainframe problems but admin swears it was due to reformat on data display. Why anyone would reformat display on 022900 and 030100 is beyond me.

-- another government hack (, March 01, 2000.

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