NHNE Y2K Report 6
Sunday, December 13, 1998
& Consumer Protection for Spiritual Seekers"
NHNE Y2K Report 6
Sunday, December 13, 1998
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WILL GOD PROVIDE?
"We receive about 10 "REMOVE" requests each week stating, essentially:
'Take me off this [mailing] list. I don't need to prepare. God
will provide for me.' We're guessing these people forgot about the story
--- Y2KNEWSWIRE editors
Audit Raises Red Flag at Y2K Glitch
Y2K Concerns Extend 1999 Winter Holidays
Millennium Crisis Looms for British Military
NATO Alert Over Russian Missile Millennium Bug
Sounding the Sirens on Y2K
Y2K Declared Top Trend for 1999
SEC Isn't Compliant
European Commission Sounds Year 2000 Alarm
Canadian Government's State of Y2K Readiness 74 Percent
Staff Need Help with Stress
Senator Warns of Panic Factor
Y2K Repair Bill Pushing $1 Trillion
SF Blackout: Y2K Dress Rehearsal
Does Your Code Pass Inspection?
St. Paul Mayor Calls on Community for Help
The Crash of "99"
The Reluctant Millionaire
Companies Hesitant to Share Y2K Information Despite Good Sam Law
The 85 Percent Fix
Five Percent Failure Rate Estimated for Embedded Systems
Seven Faulty Assumptions About Y2K
Microsoft in the "Y2K Doghouse"
South Korean Missile Launches Itself
More Details on FDIC's Customer Profiling Plan
Carla Emery: Y2K Prophet
Will My Car Start?
Special Report for Art Bell Listeners
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
Men Are from Yesterday, Women Are from Next Week
Y2K Label Promises to be a Hot Item
AUDIT RAISES RED FLAG AT Y2K GLITCH
(Source: Julie Mason, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/7/98 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
A Year 2000 computer glitch in Houston's water customer billing system
could cost the city $1.5 million A DAY. The potential problem came to
light as part of an evaluation of the city's PUBLIC WORKS AND ENGINEERING
DEPARTMENT conducted by outside auditors DELOITTE & TOUCHE. Other
at-risk areas cited in the administration's status report included the
dispatch system at the Fire Department, traffic light upgrades, and
record-keeping in the Health and Human Services Department. (JG)
Y2K CONCERNS EXTEND 1999 WINTER HOLIDAYS
(Sources: CNNFN.COM, 12/8/98; Matthew Franck, ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, 12/8/98
via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)
Albuquerque public school (APS) students will get an extended winter
break next school year, thanks to growing apprehension over the Y2K
computer problem. The APS school board has voted to not bring students
back from winter vacation until Jan. 10 in 2000, just in case the technological
bug disrupts security systems, fire alarms, mainframe computers and
electrical service. "This just gives us time for things to shake out
and get resolved," said Dale Alexander, head of the district's technology
services department. Alexander said he believes APS will have resolved
all potential Y2K problems before the turn of the century, but the extra
days were added to the winter break as a cushion to deal with disruptions
in service that programmers might not have caught. School districts
across the U.S. are discussing similar schedule changes as a precaution.
In a similar move, Swedish telecommunications group ERICSSON said it
is considering extending an annual holiday shutdown at factories and
administrative offices at the turn of the century to avoid possible
millennium bug disruptions. 30 production plants and tens of thousands
of workers would be affected. (JG)
MILLENNIUM CRISIS LOOMS FOR BRITISH MILITARY
(Source: Andrew Gilligan, LONDON TELEGRAPH, 12/6/98)
Almost 90 percent of the British Navy's most critical computer systems
-- including those controlling Trident nuclear missiles -- are still
not protected against the millennium bug, according to a MINISTRY OF
DEFENSE (MoD) quarterly report. Computer experts say that unless dramatic
progress is made in the next 12 months, Britain's defenses could be
at risk as computers fail because they cannot recognize the change to
a new century. Military aircraft may be unable to fly, early warning
systems and intelligence data banks could fail and key weapon systems
may even collapse. 82 percent of the critical computer systems serving
MoD headquarters in Whitehall are also "millennium-unsafe." Two-thirds
of the ROYAL AIR FORCES's and half the Army's critical computer systems
are not ready. "I had no idea that it was this bad," said Bruce George,
Chairman of the Commons DEFENSE SELECT COMMITTEE. "If Saddam Hussein
wanted to launch an attack, January 1, 2000 would be the day to do it,"
quipped a American defense official. (JG)
Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=001260272220745&rtmo= lwwkukAt&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/98/12/6/nbug06.html
NATO ALERT OVER RUSSIAN MISSILE MILLENNIUM BUG
(Source: Michael Evans, TIMES (London), 12/3/98)
In September, President Clinton and President Yeltsin signed an agreement
under which Washington and Moscow would exchange data from their early-warning
systems to reduce the risk of missiles being launched because of a false
warning of attack. Now, NATO has now gone one step further by making
a formal request to the Russians to consider fully co-operating to meet
the risks that are posed by the millennium bug to military computers.
Although the command and control fail-safe systems that are linked to
nuclear weapons should be adequate to prevent an accidental missile
launch, there are concerns that computer glitches in the early-warning
stations or other nuclear support equipment could have unpredictable
consequences. The main challenge is that weapon systems rely on huge
numbers of microchips which are difficult to locate. One NATO official
said: "What we're worried about is that the Russian military are so
under-resourced that they may be sleep-walking into the next century
and sweeping this potential problem under the carpet." (JG)
SOUNDING THE SIRENS ON Y2K
(Source: Declan McCullagh, WIRED NEWS, 12/3/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF
Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
According to an informal survey of 212 fire, police, medical emergency,
military, and disaster-relief units by the EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND RESEARCH
INSTITUTE, 911 dispatch and communications systems are at Y2K risk.
Three-quarters of the respondents believe it would affect their operations,
but only 24 percent have contingency plans to deal any "potential problems"
that might erupt during the evening of Dec. 31, 1999. "We aren't as
prepared as we should be," admits Clark Staten, Director of the institute.
"We are very response-oriented." Emergency agencies are used to reacting
to disasters after they happen -- a habit that leaves them ill-prepared
to plan for Y2K. Staten hopes THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
will take the lead in preparing for worst-case scenarios. (JG)
Y2K DECLARED TOP TREND FOR 1999
(Source: Bill Howard, PC MAGAZINE, 1/5/99 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K
In an article dated Jan. 5, 1999, PC MAGAZINE has placed "Y2K stalls
everything" at the top of its "Ten Trends for 1999." Author Bill Howard
explains, "I'm convinced much of the Year 2000 damage will be done before
the calendar hits 2000. Y2K will be the information technology (IT)
bureaucrat's all-purpose reason for saying no. Virtually any request
you make of the IT department may be put off with the response, 'We're
short-staffed and up to our elbows putting out Year 2000 fires. Can't
it wait?'" (JG)
SEC ISN'T COMPLIANT
(Source: ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/3/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS
The U.S. SECURITIES & EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC), which has mandated
that all publicly-traded companies and local governments publish information
on the status of their Y2K repairs, is not compliant itself and is having
trouble getting compliant. Walter Stachnik, the SEC Inspector General,
admitted in his latest semi-annual report to Congress that the commission
is "having difficulties" resolving the Year 2000 challenge because of
reorganization problems at the OFFICE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, the
SEC unit responsible for the job. The U.S. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND
BUDGET wanted all federal agencies to compile information about likely
sources of Year 2000 glitches by last February, and to coordinate the
transition with outside users of their systems by last March. As of
the end of August, the commission still "wasn't meeting those deadlines."
Gary North points out the irony: "The bureaucrats...handing out their
daily doses of coercion...are all facing unemployment in 13 months."
EUROPEAN COMMISSION SOUNDS YEAR 2000 ALARM
(Source: Elizabeth de Bony, COMPUTERWORLD, 12/4/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
In a 25-page report titled "How the European Union is Tackling the
Year 2000 Computer Problem," the EUROPEAN COMMISSION has concluded that
Europe's "efforts to bring systems in line with the Year 2000 problem
simply aren't sufficient -- particularly in the electricity and road
transport sectors and the local and regional government levels." The
commission says there is "considerable uncertainty in Europe" due to
"a total lack of information available about certain sectors and administrations,"
and urges that "considerable emphasis be placed on information disclosure"
in the coming year. On Dec. 12, the commission met in Vienna with European
Union heads of state and government officials to "draw attention to
the situation" and ask heads of state to "form a working group of national
officials to provide high-level co-ordination" of Y2K efforts. (JG)
CANADIAN GOVERNMENT'S STATE OF Y2K READINESS 74 PERCENT
(Source: Dona Vallières, TREASURY BOARD SECRETARIAT Press Release,
The Canadian TREASURY BOARD SECRETARIAT has announced that, as of November
1998, the average state of readiness of key federal services had reached
74 percent. This is a considerable increase from the 43 percent of last
June. As examples of Canadian success stories, HUMAN RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
CANADA (HRDC) has made significant progress and their departmental state
of readiness is now 91 percent; EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE applications have
been tested and are Year 2000 ready as are OLD AGE SECURITY and CANADA
PENSION PLAN applications; and the ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE state
of readiness is at 90 percent. As part of prudent business management,
government departments have been instructed to put in place suitable
contingency measures by the end of 1998. (JG)
STAFF NEED HELP WITH STRESS
(Source: Bill Goodwin, COMPUTER WEEKLY, 12/3/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
Over the past year, information technology (IT) workloads have dramatically
increased to the point where the stress is jeopardizing business operations,
according to the British INSTITUTE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF INFORMATION
SYSTEMS (IMIF). Evidence collected by the institute shows that some
IT workers are expected to work a 70 hours a week to tackle the demands
of Year 2000 and the economic and monetary union. However, research
shows that when people work more than 55 hours a week their productivity
falls dramatically. IMIF recommendations include: appointing external
medical experts with the authority to raise stress issues at the board
level; comparing stress levels with the industry average and taking
action if necessary; and employing secretaries to filter out unimportant
calls and email messages to overworked staff. (JG)
SENATOR WARNS OF PANIC FACTOR
(Source: Declan McCullagh, REUTERS/WIRED NEWS, 12/4/98)
Fear of electric-power outages and bank failures could lead to widespread
panic as disruptive as the Y2K glitch itself, warned Senator Robert
Bennett at the first summit organized by President Clinton's Y2K council.
Bennett, who heads the Senate's YEAR 2000 COMMITTEE, echoed what other
government officials have been saying publicly and privately for months.
One concern is that panic could lead to bank runs. Bennett, who also
serves on the SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE, pointed out that if even a fraction
of Americans took $500 out of their credit unions, the result would
be "a shortfall of credit unions overall of $16 billion."
Another cause of Y2K fears is the possibility of electric power plants
shutting down when computer clocks touch 01/01/00. Gerry Cauley, Y2K
Project Manager for the NORTH AMERICAN ELECTRIC RELIABILITY COUNCIL,
(NERC), said reassuringly, "We don't feel there are any types of failures
that will jeopardize our ability to provide electricity to our customers."
But 500 power distribution companies -- about one sixth of the total
-- have not joined in the industry-wide Y2K project NERC began earlier
this year. And of those that have signed on, 35 percent still have not
even written Y2K project plan. "We also face a huge coordination problem
in the distribution area," Cauley admitted.
Bennett is also concerned about megacompanies like GENERAL MOTORS stockpiling
supplies and triggering "a classic inventory recession." GM's chief
information officer has called Y2K "catastrophic."
But what Bennett is sweating the most over are countries such as Russia,
China, and much of Africa and South America, which need major emergency
support to survive. "What's going to happen when whole countries drop
off the radar screen with no infrastructure remaining?" Bennett says,
noting that such a global calamity would have profound economic and
military implications for the U.S. (JG)
Y2K REPAIR BILL PUSHING $1 TRILLION
(Source: BUSINESS WEEK, 12/4/98)
People have been sounding the alarm about the costs of the millennium
bug for years, but now the hard numbers are coming in: companies are
planning to spend, on average, about 26 percent more than they thought
just months ago. AT&T, for example, had said in early 1997 that
it might shell out $300 million. Now, it says it could spend $900 million
before Jan. 1, 2000. CHASE MANHATTAN BANK says it will spend $363 million,
up 21 percent from its $300 million second-quarter estimate. And AETNA
INC. is blaming fatter-than-expected Y2K bills ($195 million instead
of the $139 forecasted last summer) for the 6 percent drop in third-quarter
profits. The world-wide Y2K repair bill is now expected to hit $1 trillion.
Consider this sorry tale from SAMSONITE CORP.: After spending $10 million
to upgrade its computer system, Samsonite President Tom Sandler proudly
assembled his troops to unveil the programmers' Y2K handiwork during
a dry-run at a distribution warehouse in Denver. "We had 20 outside
consultants working with us, all telling me everything was going to
work fine," recalls Sandler, "but when I walked down to the loading
dock to flip on the switch, nothing happened." The glitch messed up
the company's entire distribution system, freezing deliveries for the
first 20 days of July and hampering operations for months afterward.
In the final tally, the Y2K snafu had eaten up roughly $4 million in
profits and scuttled $10 million in sales. (JG)
SF BLACKOUT: Y2K DRESS REHEARSAL
(Source: Chris Oakes & Craig Bicknell, WIRED NEWS, 12/8/98 via GARY
NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)
When the lights went out on Dec. 8 for nearly 1 million San Francisco
Bay Area residents, the blackout served as a warning of what might happen
in a society dependent upon electricity for basic services and commerce.
"This could very well be a reflection of a Y2K disaster that's not properly
managed," said Nancy Wong, a spokeswoman for the CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
ASSURANCE OFFICE. "It's another reminder of how tremendously dependent
everyone is on power," added Peter Neumann, a critical infrastructure
expert and the author of the book "Computer Related Risks." "It's kind
of a harbinger of the Year 2000 problem. We're in practice mode right
It seems an electrical power substation about 20 miles south of San
Francisco failed shortly after 8:15 a.m., causing a chain reaction that
tripped the two main power generators in San Francisco and knocked out
power for six hors in a 49-square-mile area.
One of the issues facing the information society is that the entire
power generation, transmission, and distribution problem is suffering,
because there is very little spare power anymore. Therefore, backup
power supplies that once filled in during outages are also less available.
Outages such as this one are yet another warning that everyone -- from
governments down to businesses and individuals -- needs to be more prepared.
The lesson of such incidents is fundamentally greater awareness of what
could happen, and to be as prepared as possible. "No one knows what
will happen," admits Neumann. "Technology is not perfect."
DOES YOUR CODE PASS INSPECTION?
(Source: William Ulrich, SOFTWARE MAGAZINE, 11/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
Year 2000 code inspectors have uncovered a nasty problem: Y2K repair
projects are not alleviating century-date problems to the degree required
to keep systems from failing. For example, when MATRIDIGM CORP. in San
Jose, California inspected 50 million lines of code that were supposed
to have been repaired, they found an average of 900 date errors for
every million lines inspected. Similarly, REASONING SYSTEMS found more
than 1,000 date-related errors in a 2.3 million-line program that had
been "fixed" and tested. Anything over two dozen per million is unacceptable.
These code inspections, which are being performed by third-party service
providers on systems that have undergone remediation, raise serious
concerns about the inadequacy of Year 2000 preparations. SEC disclosure
studies by TRIAXSYS RESEARCH found that Fortune 250 companies are spending
an average of $39 million on the Year 2000 problem, but had typically
only spent 21 percent of their total Year 2000 budgets by early 1998,
and are likely to spend less than half of their total Year 2000 budgets
If Y2K budget dollars are available and are not being utilized as quickly
as envisioned, why are managers refusing to fund outside services that
can improve project results, reduce testing costs, and head-off production
failures that could cripple their organization? There are several possible
answers to this question: project managers are not getting the money
to fix the problem; project managers do not have the authority to spend
the money; the message is not getting out that the company is at serious
risk if these problems are not rectified.
Regardless of the cause, senior executives should take action to improve
this situation and launch third-party code inspections for mission-critical
systems that have been fixed using in-house personnel. There is time
left to rectify this situation, but only if senior management steps
in to look at what is going on with their Year 2000 projects. (JG)
ST. PAUL MAYOR CALLS ON COMMUNITY FOR HELP
(Source: Kevin Duchschere, STAR TRIBUNE, 12/3/98 via Y2KNEWSWIRE)
In a rare admission of a city government's helplessness in the face
of Y2K-related problems, St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman has called on his
community to provide refuge for people displaced by the Year 2000. Coleman
warned that despite the city's best efforts, officials probably will
be unable to reprogram all of the computer-run operations in time. "On
the one hand you want to be prepared for the worst, but you don't want
people to be scared of the worst," he explained. "We are building a
lifeboat I hope we never have to sail on." According to Coleman, that
will require the help of community organizations -- including district
councils, small businesses and religious groups -- to form aid networks.
Y2KNEWSWIRE applauds Coleman's actions:
"It's time to stop pretending the problem doesn't exist, or that the
government can take care of everybody. It's time to ask the rest of
society to 'build a lifeboat,' as Coleman puts it....And yet, with just
slightly more than a year remaining, Clinton's Y2K Czar, John Koskinen,
is tight-lipped on the topic. His justification? He doesn't want to
scare people. That's a cop-out. You don't 'prevent' the scaring of people
by waiting until the very last minute and then letting them find out
the truth about Y2K in the middle of a panic. The only way you prevent
fear is to tell people the truth up front, encourage common-sense action,
and let the people's actions build confidence."
In addition, Y2KNEWSWIRE recommends that city leaders everywhere coordinate
with their local emergency services and churches to get ready for the
likely results of Y2K, which include people needing:
- Heat because the power or the natural gas went out.
- Food because the transportation system was disrupted.
- Clean water because the water treatment plant failed.
- Spiritual guidance because they think the end of the world is coming.
- Medical supplies because the prescription medicine supply lines have
been disrupted. (JG)
Link: http://webserv1.startribune.com/cgi-bin/stOnLine/article? thisStory=65700761
THE CRASH OF "99"
(Source: Corinne A. Gregory, THE MILLENNIUM JOURNAL, 11/98 via NHNE
Although December 31, 1999 (12/31/99) has been widely publicized as
the critical date for most computer systems, the first day of 1999 (01/01/99)
may, in fact, usher in the first wave of systemic failure -- the "99"
Ever since the beginning of data processing, many programmers did not
think that their software would still be in use in 1999, therefore,
they often coded date fields with nines. The digit "9", used singly
or as a series of nines, has held special meanings: end of record, end
of file, error return, cancellation, start, special discounts, missing
date, or keep forever, to name a few. In fact, "9" is the most frequently-used
element in the programming to signify transfer of logic.
Assigning program logic to nines in date fields can have far-reaching
consequences. For example, in the British court system, when a trial
date is unknown, "99" has been traditionally entered into the date field.
Until the system is fixed, the system will continue to schedule these
unknown trial dates in the year 1999.
Similarly, programmers for a large insurance company designated the
"end of file" condition with a transaction date of "99." They have now
realized that their programs will not work when they begin entering
"real" transactions with an expiration date of 1999. This is a very
serious situation for many AS/400 installations.
Another vulnerable area exists because of standard-language date editing,
initialization, and validation rules. At the time many of these programs
were written, the programs often required a number to be entered in
the date field, even though a date might not be applicable. To accommodate
program requirements for an entry, programmers designed programs so
that users frequently enter 1/1/99 or 9/9/99 in date fields that do
not have a specific date.
Systemic failure due to "the nines" is potentially very damaging --
every date-processing program is vulnerable to this error. Unless immediate
action is taken to address the "99" date problem, computer failure is
THE RELUCTANT MILLIONAIRE
(Source: Charmain Naidoo, TIMES (South Africa), 12/6/98 via YEAR 2000
Steve Troy, of Boulder, Colorado has become a reluctant millionaire.
Since 1972, he's run a "sustainable living" mail-order business called
JADE MOUNTAIN ACCESS COMPANY. His interest in living "off the grid"
began in 1966, when he did "peace corps-type work" in a remote part
of Mexico with little infrastructure and no power. His firm began by
selling kerosene lamps and heaters, and later expanded to include 5,000
other alternative products such as solar electric, micro-hydro, and
wind generators; composting toilets and greywater systems; and energy-efficient
In 1997 business really started to pick up. At first, he thought it
was just paranoid people stockpiling for a possible Y2K crash. "But
when computer engineers working on the problem started...started stocking
up, I realized we could be in trouble." By June 1998, business had tripled.
In demand are solar panels ($425), current inverters ($950), solar NiCad
battery chargers ($20 to $200), composting toilets ($1,060), solar ovens
($370), solar-powered washing machines and tumble dryers ($2,100 for
the pair) and hand-cranked short-wave radios ($105).
"People see this as insurance," Troy explains. "No one wants his house
to be ravaged by fire, but people need to know they're covered just
in case." He tells the story of a woman who[just] spent $3,000
on solar toys and crank radios for her entire family as Christmas gifts.
"She told me she had taken out two new credit cards for her Y2K shopping.
I suppose she thinks that after the banking systems collapse she won't
have to repay the debt."
And while pleased with his good fortune, he realizes money brings a
host of responsibilities: "you can lose meaning in your life" by having
too much cash. (JG)
Jade Mountain Website: http://www.jade-mtn.com/
COMPANIES HESITANT TO SHARE Y2K INFORMATION DESPITE GOOD SAM LAW
(Source: Barnaby J. Feder, NEW YORK TIMES, 12/7/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
This past fall, the Good Samaritan Law was rushed through Congress
to encourage businesses to share sensitive information about Year 2000
computer problems. Many trade groups, including those representing electric
utilities, airlines and the computer industry, had lobbied hard for
the law, telling the government that fear of lawsuits has been stifling
the exchange of information that could help reduce the risks.
After its first 50 days, the law has produced scant results, according
to corporate Year 2000 specialists, consultants and lawyers. Computer
users are unsure how much shelter the law provides and whether taking
advantage of it is worth the trouble. Information is beginning to flow
more freely, but both the managers and lawyers say it's pressure from
regulators and customers, not the new law, that appears to be the driving
force. That could change as more industry groups organize clearinghouses
of information patterned after the group set up by major automakers.
Backers of the law are now lobbying Congress to close what they see
as loopholes that limit its protection and to pass other measures that
might limit future lawsuits. (JG)
THE 85 PERCENT FIX
(Source: George Avalos, CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 12/1/98, thanks to Tom Atlee)
Y2K analyst Capers Jones of ARTEMIS MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS has just completed
a scenario of what he believes is the most likely impact of Y2K on the
U.S.: a failure of 15 percent of mission-critical systems. Here are
some of the U.S. problems that Jones believes could be unleashed with
an 85 percent fix:
- 2.2 million people lose their jobs.
- 2,500 businesses and 275,000 individuals declare bankruptcy.
- 15 percent of homes lose phone service for three days.
- 15 percent of homes lose phone service for five days.
- Air, road, sea and rail transportation are interrupted for weeks.
- Stocks lose 10 percent of their value.
Jones also figures Y2K will trigger a world-wide recession that could
last years. (JG)
FIVE PERCENT FAILURE RATE ESTIMATED FOR EMBEDDED SYSTEMS
(Source: Pankaj Chowdhry, PC WEEK, 11/23/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS
In the entire history of the semiconductor industry, it is estimated
that about 70 billion chips have been made. Only a small portion of
these are microprocessors that can constitute an embedded system. PC
WEEK Labs have determined that the failure rate in embedded systems
is about five percent. While the number seems paltry, it represents
considerable financial expenditure for many companies because of the
intricacies involved with testing and fixing embedded systems.
Few applications are available for testing embedded systems. B-TREE
INC. uses a form of in-circuit emulation to test for compliance; however,
this method requires custom probes for each system and can therefore
be time consuming and expensive.
Fixing embedded systems provides its own unique problems. An embedded
system may use a special type of ultraviolet ROM to store its firmware
or controller software. If these UV ROMs are no longer to be had, any
attempt at remediation is impossible. Another problem is that embedded
systems do not share a common programming language. To complicate matters
even more, compilers that support extended date functions for these
languages might not be available. Of course, these concerns are all
predicated on the fact that there is source code, which is not always
the case. The alternative to fixing a noncompliant embedded system is
to replace it. (JG)
SEVEN FAULTY ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT Y2K
(Source: Rob Chambers, TEXAS STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/18/98 via GARY NORTH'S
Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)
Michael Cohn used to be a manager at IBM responsible for Year 2000
efforts. Today he has his own millennium consulting company, MDY (month,
date, year). In his travels throughout the U.S., Cohn has compiled this
list of seven faulty assumptions that companies make about their Year
1. Embedded chips are not a serious problem.
2. Trained resources will be available in 1999, as required.
3. Trust vendors and suppliers, without question.
4. The readiness of critical suppliers is not an issue.
5. "We've always made deadlines before, and we'll get the job done
this time too."
6. Testing is not important.
7. Y2K projects don't need to be managed on a daily basis or with a
fine-toothed comb. (JG)
MICROSOFT IN THE "Y2K DOGHOUSE"
(Sources: COMPUTERWORLD AUSTRALIA/WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 11/24/98; Erich
Luening, CNET NEWS.COM, 11,25,98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS);
David Parsley, BUSINESS NEWS, 11/29/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
CENTER; Erich Luening, CNET NEWS.COM, 12/7/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF
Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
In response to demand from customers and criticism by industry analysts,
MICROSOFT is reluctantly providing tools and services that will address
six key "layers" of Y2K compliance:
1. The BIOS/Real Time Clock
5. Custom code
6. Data interface.
The tools will come from Microsoft, its partners, and third-party tool
vendors, and most will be built on top of Microsoft's Systems Management
Server (SMS) 2.0. The company will provide the software on its Year
2000 Resource Center Website and via CD-ROM. "We will help customers
find the right tool for their needs," said Don Jones, Microsoft's Year
2000 Product Manager.
The move is Microsoft's first admission that its software may be susceptible
to the bug. In August, Microsoft denied it had a problem when THE SUNDAY
TIMES questioned the company about a timing fault with Windows 98. The
Y2K issue exposes Microsoft and other software companies that have a
huge dominance in the technology industry to almost limitless criticism
and possible litigation if they don't at least appear to take the issue
seriously and provide solutions for their huge customer base.
Analysts hailed the initiative, but criticized Microsoft, saying the
changes should have been made sooner since most enterprises are either
already too far into their projects to use this comprehensive service,
or will not have enough time to take advantage of this offer by the
time it comes out. For being slow off the mark, Westergaard Year 2000
has placed Microsoft in its "Y2K Doghouse."
More recently, MICROSOFT issued a statement admitting that Windows
98 has "minor Year 2000 issues." The problems include: the date/time
control applet may allow a user to set the date to February 29 in a
non-leap year; the phone dialer applet may log the year incorrectly
after 1999; in addition, if a system is booting at the precise fraction
of a second when the date rolls to 2000, the system clock may display
an inaccurate time or date. All the bugs are considered minor and a
free patch is offered on the Microsoft website. (JG)
SOUTH KOREAN MISSILE LAUNCHES ITSELF
(Source: James W. Crawley, UNION TRIBUNE, 12/6/98; Nick Yon, REUTERS,
12/4/98 via NEWSWIRE)
While the world debates whether nuclear missiles might be accidentally
launched by a Y2K-related computer glitch, Dec. 4 saw a fully-armed
anti-aircraft missile fired itself in South Korea. Defense ministry
officials said the incident occurred during an equipment-checking drill
at an air force base in the western port city of Inchon, some 40 km
(25 miles) from the border dividing the two Koreas. The weapon exploded
in mid-air and rained down debris injuring three people. Fortunately,
the missile did not hit any of the four civilian aircraft circling above
Inchon at the time of the launch.
The Korean air force said that a circuitry defect occurred as soldiers
flipped a switch to prepare the weapon for inspection. "Normally the
missile cannot be launched with this switch," their statement said.
"A circuitry problem, not human error, was the cause of the accident,"
NEWSWIRE had the following response to the news: "Obviously, nuclear
missiles have far more robust safeguards against accidental launch than
an anti-aircraft missiles, but the comparisons are inevitable. At the
very least, this incident proves once and for all that problems with
the circuitry (embedded systems) can cause missiles to accidentally
Mike Kraig, an analyst with the British-American Security Information
Council in Washington, is one who has been warning that Russia's nuclear
weapons systems are susceptible to similar glitches due to the Y2K bug.
He suggests that the U.S., Russia and other nations with nuclear weapons
stand down their missiles until potential Y2K problems are resolved.
Link: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/wl/story.html?s=v/nm/ 19981204/wl/korea_36.html
MORE DETAILS ON FDIC'S CUSTOMER PROFILING PLAN
(Source: NEWSWIRE, 12/8/98)
In Y2K Report 5, we published an article about the proposed plan by
FDIC to issue a regulation requiring banks monitor account activity
and report "suspicious" transactions (such as large cash withdrawals).
Unfortunately, the article gave the wrong deadline for comments. The
correct date is March 8, 1999. Comments can be emailed to: "firstname.lastname@example.org".
Mark "Comments/OES" in the subject field.
Since the original report, NEWSWIRE made these additional comments:
"Interestingly, the proposed FDIC Big Brother regulation may actually
accelerate the cash demand as people try to beat the 'Know Your Customer'
deadline and get their cash out early. The FDIC may actually cause its
own worst nightmare." (JG)
FDIC Proposal: http://www.fdic.gov/lawsregs/fedr/98knocus.txt
CARLA EMERY: Y2K PROPHET
(Sources: Clayton Hardiman, MICHIGAN CHRONICLE, 10/24/98 via GARY NORTH'S
Y2K LINKS AND FORUM; Jim Lord, WESTERGAARD ONLINE SYSTEMS, 10/5/98)
Carla Emery is modern-day prophet with a vision of a world ground to
a halt: no groceries in the stores, telephone lines dead, and the stock
market crashed and burned. Emery, a writer specializing in back-to-the-land
technology and author of the "Encyclopedia of Country Living," travels
from community to community, telling everyone who will listen to be
prepared for the worst. Her message is to assume that after Jan. 1,
2000 there will be no electricity, no telephones, no city water, sewer
or gas, and no groceries in the stores. She tells people to relearn
the simpler, time-honored technologies of their grandparents: storing
their own water, providing their own heat and light, and producing and
storing their own food. Her talks are a combination of research, humor
and biblical scripture.
Like biblical prophets of old, Emery has warned President Clinton that
lean times lie ahead, and recommends that he stockpile food supplies
during this period of plenty. One suggestion is to have a six-month
national food surplus and alternative distribution system in place by
January 1, 2000. Another is to turn the Internet into a giant farmer's
market via the Emery's "Farmer's Direct" webpage where consumers could
order bulk grains and legumes directly from the growers.
Y2K analyst Jim Lord approves of the plans and thinks they are very
1. The emergency food industry is experiencing a boom driven by people
building up a supply of food in anticipation of possible Y2K-induced
disruptions. Many suppliers are backordered by several months, not because
they can't get food from the producers, but because they are simply
overwhelmed by the explosive demand.
2. The overseas financial meltdown has dropped food prices exactly
when American farmers are in the midst of a huge bumper crop. Many are
faced with leaving their crops in the fields because there is no market
and no place to put the food.
We can wring our hands about Y2K or we can take positive action. Carla
Emery is showing us how to get the job done. (JG)
Farmer's Direct Webpage: www.farmerdirect.com
Carla Emery's open letter to President Clinton: www.carlaemery.com
WILL MY CAR START?
By James Gregory
We at NHNE have heard rumors about vehicles that won't start due to
Y2K problems, but have yet to find credible first-hand evidence to validate
The following is an edited response by the Y2K WEATHERMAN to a question
about where a person could take their car to see if it is Y2K compatible:
"I talked to the owner of one of the most reputable and largest mechanic
shops in the Dallas area. I've known this man personally for many years,
and he has top-of-the-line computer diagnostic equipment at his facility.
He stated flatly that he is not aware of ANY date-sensitive components
on a passenger vehicle that would cause operational or safety problems."
To this, Mitch Ratcliffe of ZDY2K adds:
"There is absolutely no hard evidence that any cars or trucks will
suffer from systems failure due to the date rollover. The situation
has been made worse by the auto industry's silence on the matter. Here
are the facts as we know them: Cars and trucks contain computers [that]
control the engine timing, fuel mixtures, and brakes, among other functions,
but these systems are not date-dependent."
If you know otherwise, NHNE would like to hear from you. (Sources:
Y2K Weatherman, Y2KWATCH; Mitch Ratcliffe, ZDY2K, 9/17/98)
SPECIAL REPORT FOR ART BELL LISTENERS
(Source: Gary North, GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS, 12/5/98)
On Dec. 4, for the third time in 1998, Y2K analyst Gary North appeared
as a guest on Art Bell's national radio show, "Coast to Coast." The
following edited excerpts are from a special report North created just
for people who listened to the interview:
Are we facing a collapse? In a word, yes. Here's why: the millennium
bug is systemic. It is everywhere. It is built into everything. It cannot
be completely eliminated.
I'm going to show you, step by step, how to begin preparing. But, I
warn you, you don't have much time. You're not just racing the Y2K clock,
you're racing against tens of millions of competitors who have not yet
awakened to the Y2K threat, but who will.
You are almost too late. Certain crucial items have already disappeared
from the markets, or are on long waiting lists. These include wood-burning
cook stoves, imported diesel generators, and the more popular water
filtration units. Stored food is also getting scarce.
The only reason I am willing to appear on Art's show is that I know
that most listeners will do nothing. I am alerting "The Remnant" --
those who are willing to hear. Somehow, members of the Remnant can hear
clearly in the midst of overwhelming noise, and then, even more important,
take decisive action:
Heating: Buy a wood stove. Buy warm winter clothing, long underwear,
etc. A lot of our clothing is imported from mainland China. In two years,
it won't be. Our shipping industry is not Y2K-compliant.
Water storage: You probably don't have a water well, so if power and
water go down, you're back to the basics. Buy a shovel. You can collect
water from rain run-off from your roof.
Food storage: Figure 1,000 pounds of food per adult per year. Grains,
beans, and rice should be about 50 percent of this. Vegetables should
be about 50 percent. (Note: if a church has 100 adult members, it should
store 50 tons of food if it wants to feed them all for a year. This
does not count children or local residents who will need help. Are you
getting the food-storage picture?)
Household items: SAM'S CLUB has a 50-page notebook listing all of its
standard products. Ask the manager for a copy. You can make a list,
order by phone, and pick up everything at one time in a pickup truck.
Electricity: The power grid may collapse permanently. If the power
goes off, what will you do? What is your contingency plan? Do you have
one? [There's still time to] buy solar panels.
Stock market: Get out of it. Now.
Banks: So far, there is not a single Y2K-compliant bank on earth. We
have 13 months to go.
Gold and silver: Do not dawdle. Don't get stung.
Other Y2K websites: Begin with Y2KWOMEN. This site deals with the Year
2000 needs and responsibilities of women. For assessing how bad it's
going to get, visit Y2KCHAOS. For both assessment and suggestions for
action, visit Y2KSUPPLY. For dedicated, self-sacrificing, and risk-accepting
Christians, I recommend THE JOSEPH PROJECT. For investing, see Tony
Conclusion: "Don't believe anything until it's officially denied."
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
MEN ARE FROM YESTERDAY, WOMEN ARE FROM NEXT WEEK
(Source: Dave Barry, MIAMI HERALD,11/22/98 via THE DRUDGE REPORT)
The following comments are from an article by humorist Dave Barry,
who is not afraid to offer an opinion on any subject:
"I grew up in a WASP household, and my wife grew up in a Cuban household.
WASPs tend to follow schedules strictly; Cubans tend to be more relaxed.
If a WASP wedding is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Saturday, the wedding
march will start at 2 p.m. sharp, and the bride will come down the aisle
at 2:03 p.m., no matter what, even if the originally-scheduled groom
has bailed out and the bride has to use an emergency backup groom taken
right off the street. Whereas, in a typical Cuban wedding, the phrase
"2 p.m." is translated as "possibly this weekend." (True fact: I once
went to a wedding at a Cuban home; I arrived 20 minutes before the scheduled
start, and was greeted at the door by the bride who was still in curlers.)
I believe that the Cuban community will not be affected by the Millennium
Bug until the year 2004, at the earliest." (JG)
Y2K LABEL PROMISES TO BE A HOT ITEM
(Source: Megan Schnabel, 12/2/98, ROANOKE TIMES via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
Hyping the millennium is big business. Thousands of companies have
been requesting trademarks for words and slogans such as "millennium,"
"Y2K" and "Year 2000," according to the U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE.
The latest major retailer to join the millennial bandwagon is J.C.
PENNEY, which in recent weeks has opened "01-01-00" shops inside 600
of its 1,200 stores. The rest of the stores will have the merchandise
by spring. Some of the best-selling items at are "01-01-00" hats ($12
and up) and T-shirts (around $18), and millennium countdown clocks ($25).
The collection also includes rings, bracelets and necklaces; belt buckles
($14 to $16); mugs ($6); note-paper cubes ($8); throw pillows ($22)
and blankets ($40). The collection is geared more toward shoppers who
plan to celebrate the end of 1999 than to those who believe mass computer
chaos will accompany the arrival of 2000.
Millennium merchandise doesn't have much of a shelf life, acknowledged
Rick Bessett, a J.C. Penney manager. "We'll pace ourselves to be out
of this stuff by the week after New Year next year." In the meantime,
Bessett admits, "it's going to be the biggest marketing event of our
lifetime. It only happens once."
Y2K analyst Larry Sanger comments: "No doubt this marketing hype will
be bound to make people think about the Year 2000 problem a bit more
as well." (JG)
Copyright 1998 by NewHeavenNewEarth
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Editor-in-Chief: James Gregory (JG)
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