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NHNE Y2K Report 27
Sunday, May 30, 1999

 

"News,
Inspiration,
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"

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NHNE Y2K Report 27
Sunday, May 30, 1999

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A Y2K ANALYST & A TERRORIST?

"The only difference between a Y2K analyst and a terrorist is that you can negotiate with a terrorist."

--- Bud Eyre, computer troubleshooter for BOYD GAMING, owner of seven U.S. casinos, including the Stardust in Las Vegas

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CONTENTS:

Y2K HEADLINES:

Cap Gemini: Big Companies Falling Behind In Year 2000 Repairs
President's Council Urges Local Y2K Meetings
NERC Endorses Y2K Community Conversations Campaign
Y2K Worry Topples Bank Stocks
FDA: Y2K Readiness for Hundreds of Medical Devices Unknown
SIA Says It Has Beaten the Bug
GartnerGroup: Y2K to Kill Two-Thirds of Baltic & Russian Businesses
Venezuela In Serious Trouble
Italian Y2K Preparations In Chaos
British Police Forces At Risk
Canadian Forces to Hold Second National Y2K Exercise
Africa Declares Millennium Bug An Emergency
Asian Banking Crisis Diverting Energy from Y2K In Indonesia
Asian Air Traffic to Be Cut By Two-Thirds on New Years

Y2K GLITCHES:

Euro Launch Took British Banking to Brink of Chaos
Cap Gemini: More Companies Experiencing Y2K Failures
Y2K Glitches Abound In DC
Power Outage Shuts Down LA City Hall Elevators During Y2K Test
Niagara Mohawk Runs Into Trouble With New Billing System

LETTERS:

"Candid Camera' Offers Vaccinations for Y2K Virus

Y2K STORIES:

Senate Holds Community Y2K Preparedness Hearing
Community Conversations Project Sparks Grassroots Debate
Mixed Government Y2K Messages Could Spawn Panic
Oregon Mayors Sign Proclamation to Make September Y2K Month
"60 Minutes" Y2K Report Pulls No Punches
Koskinen Warning State Officials to Prepare for Three-Week Power Outage
Ed Yourdon Speaks Out

Y2K RESOURCES:

"Just In Case" Launches Companion Website
Cygnus Triangles
Tips for Food Storage

THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:

Y2K Bugging You? Just Eat It!
World's Largest Bell to Ring In New Millennium

THIS WEEK'S NEWS SOURCES

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This issue sponsored by:

MAIL-LIST.COM

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[Many of you may remember that NHNE considered several different listserve providers before finally settling on mail-list.com. They've done such a great job for us that THREE of our mailing lists are now run by them -- and a fourth is on the way! -- DS]

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Y2K HEADLINES:

CAP GEMINI: BIG COMPANIES FALLING BEHIND IN YEAR 2000 REPAIRS
(Source: BARNABY J. FEDER, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 5/17/1999)

According to a recent survey of chief information officers and project managers by CAP GEMINI AMERICA, the largest companies in the nation continue to fall behind their schedules for Year 2000 repairs. What is most disturbing is that 22 percent say they do not expect to have all of their critical systems tested and ready when the clock ticks over to Jan. 1, 2000. That number is up from 16 percent in November and 12 percent last August. Projects are slipping past their expected deadlines at 92 percent of the companies. "It's typical information technology," said Prof. Leon A. Kappelman, a software management expert at the UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS. "You don't get any recognition until the last 30 days that your project is going to be late." (JG)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/05/biztech/articles/17bug.html

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PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL URGES LOCAL Y2K MEETINGS
(Source: AP, 5/24/1999)

The PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION has announced that it will be offering a free "toolkit" that local groups can use to organize meetings with local leaders, companies and utilities. The kit consists of a poster, informational video and a list of frequently-asked questions. John Koskinen, Chairman of the Council, said the purpose of these meetings is twofold: to help citizens decide what preparations they need to make for the Y2K problem and to identify companies and organizations that aren't preparing adequately. At least 12 "community conversations" have been scheduled so far for this summer. In addition, new legislation introduced by Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) would designate July as "National Y2K Disclosure Month," require federal agencies to disclose their Y2K readiness and contingency plans, and encourage local communities to disclose their readiness. Ford had originally proposed a bill calling for a national Y2K testing day that was criticized by Koskinen for being too impractical. The "Community Conversations Kit" can be ordered by calling (888) USA-4-Y2K, or by going to the Council's Website <http://www.y2k.gov>. (JG)

Link: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/ap/technology/
story.html?s=v/ap/19990524/tc/y2k_meetings_1.html

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NERC ENDORSES Y2K COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS CAMPAIGN
(Source: Eugene F. Gorzelnik, NERC Press Release, 5/24/1999)

The NORTH AMERICAN ELECTRIC RELIABILITY COUNCIL (NERC) has strongly endorsed the Y2K COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS CAMPAIGN sponsored by the President's COUNCIL ON THE YEAR 2000 CONVERSION. NERC agrees with the President's Y2K Council that what people want and need to know is the status of their local power companies. NERC also supports and encourages the critical service providers and political leaders in every community working together to exchange information about their readiness, to develop appropriate community preparedness plans, and to share that information with the public. For the electric industry in North America, says NERC President Michael R. Gent, "The bottom line is that for the typical person or business in North America, the supply of electricity will be like that on any other New Year's Day." (JG)

NERC Website: http://www.nerc.com/y2k/

Link: http://www.nerc.com/pressrelease/

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Y2K WORRY TOPPLES BANK STOCKS
(Sources: WIRED NEWS/REUTERS, 5/24/1999;; Y2KNEWSWIRE, 5/25/1999)

Stocks in such blue-chip issues as CITIGROUP, CHASE MANHATTAN, J.P. MORGAN & CO., and BANK ONE took a tumble on May 24 when CREDIT SUISSE FIRST BOSTON banking analyst Michael Mayo made the unusual move of recommending that investors sell multinational bank stocks, warning that the millennium computer bug could cut banks' profits. The resulting sell-off was not limited to the money-center banks, but spread to some larger regional banks, major brokerages and technology stocks. "The risks of owning bank stocks do not seem worth the returns," Mayo wrote in his report, for even if U.S. banks are fully prepared for the date rollover, they are still vulnerable to "third-party risk." As the year progresses, the millennium issue might also delay merger savings, productivity projects, and market-sensitive revenues, he said. Because "sell" ratings are extremely rare on Wall Street, the downgrade spooked investors. Y2KNEWSWIRE claimed a hard-hitting Y2K report on "60 Minutes" also contributed to the 174-point selloff in the stock market, and fueled a rush to purchase additional Y2K supplies (JG)

Link: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/tc/story.html?s=v/nm/
19990525/tc/millennium_securities_1.html

Link: http://www.y2knewswire.com/19990525.htm

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FDA: Y2K READINESS FOR HUNDREDS OF MEDICAL DEVICES UNKNOWN
(Source: Orlando de Bruce, FCW, 5/25/1999)

Testifying at a joint hearing of the House's HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT AND OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE, William Hubbard, acting Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA), and Thomas Shope, the FDA's special assistant to the director, announced that more than 800 medical devices could malfunction in the Year 2000 due to problems with date-sensitivity or embedded chips. Date-sensitive medical devices are sold by about 2,000 manufacturers -- 10 percent of which have yet to contact the FDA about whether the medical devices they make are Year 2000 compliant. FDA officials are working with manufacturers to bring equipment up to compliance and are confident that they will have the devices operational by Jan. 1, 2000. FDA will use its website to inform providers that the equipment must be compliant. (JG)

FDA Website: http://www.fda.gov

Link: http://www.fcw.com/pubs/fcw/1999/0524/web-fda-5-25-99.html

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SIA SAYS IT HAS BEATEN THE BUG
(Source: REUTERS, 5/25/1999)

The SECURITIES INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION (SIA) has announced it has conquered the dreaded Y2K computer problem. Nevertheless, the SIA is advising securities firms to maintain liquidity in the last 10 days of December and the first 10 days of January to give them flexibility in dealing with potential Y2K problems, and schedule important trades away from the critical 10 days on either side of Dec. 31. The SIA has also developed contingency plans for U.S. financial firms to deal with foreign shockwaves that could still arise. According to Gerald Corrigan, Chairman of the SIA's Y2K CONTINGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE, the greatest uncertainty facing big securities companies lies in the ability of financial institutions outside the G7 group of nations to handle the date change. (JG)

SIA report (Adobe Acrobat required): http://www.sia.com

Link: http://www.wired.com/news/news/business/story/19844.html

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GARTNERGROUP: Y2K TO KILL TWO-THIRDS OF BALTIC & RUSSIAN BUSINESSES
(Source: Lucas Rozsa, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 5/20/1999)

After completing an exhaustive global study of individual countries' preparations for the Year 2000 crisis, the GARTNERGROUP has projected that fully two thirds of Baltic and Russian businesses will fail as a result of direct and indirect consequences of Year 2000 equipment and computer failures. The conclusions match those of international and local Y2K analysts, including those working for American intelligence and diplomatic communities, such as the CIA. (JG)

Link: http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/IW/AK/iw9920.htm

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VENEZUELA IN SERIOUS TROUBLE
(Source: Reuters, 5/26/1999)

Venezuela needs to spend $1.5 billion in an effort to avert possible computer chaos in the Year 2000, according to Presidential Chief of Staff Alfredo Pena. "We are very behind and it is very, very serious." The previous government, which left office in February, made no preparations for the problem and saddled the present government with a $5 billion fiscal deficit. The state-run oil company, PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA, has made some progress, but the electricity sector is very vulnerable. "Public services could be paralyzed, mainly because of problems with electricity," said Pena. The head of the government CENTRAL OFFICE OF STATISTICS AND COMPUTING, Gustavo Mendez, said Venezuela was one of the least well-prepared countries in the world. The WORLD BANK and INTERAMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK have just $200 million in loans available to help solve the problem worldwide. (JG)

[Note: The U.S. Senate Report on Y2K indicates that 50 percent of the oil used in the U.S. is imported. Venezuela is the leading source, providing 16.2 percent of the oil imported from foreign countries. -DS]

Link http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/tc/story.html?s=v/nm/
19990526/tc/yk_venezuela_1.html

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ITALIAN Y2K PREPARATIONS IN CHAOS
(Source: Richard Owen, THE TIMES (UK), 5/14/1999

With just seven months to the deadline, officials in Italy are only now waking up to the magnitude of the Y2K problem facing them. "Italy is going to crash, and we are going to be crucified," says Romano Oneda, the education consultant on Italy's Year 2000 Committee. The committee, which only started work in February, has been allotted temporary offices in the Ministry of Tourism, a staff of six, three telephones, one secretary, no budget, no power, and draws on the services of 22 volunteer experts such as Oneda. Augusto Leggio, another volunteer expert, whose task is to persuade the transport and telecommunications sectors to face up to Y2K, said the problem was "so vast there is no point in getting hysterical." He said the INTERIOR MINISTRY, which controls police and immigration services, hoped to guarantee most essential services by the end of this year, but would not be fully compliant until July 2000. Professor Ernesto Bettinelli, head of Italy's Y2K campaign, counters: "It is rather like Italy's experience with qualifying for the euro -- Italy often starts late and then makes up for lost time with bursts of acceleration." But some point out that since Italian life is already "organized chaos", no one will notice if urban support systems collapse. Quips Beppe Severgnini of CORRIERE DELLA SERA, "We have a gift for transforming any crisis into one big party." According to one survey, only two percent of Italians have heard of the Y2K problem. (JG)

Link: http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/99/05/14/timfgneur01003.html?

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BRITISH POLICE FORCES AT RISK
(Source: ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH, 5/20/1999, thanks to Dan Drasin)

The LONDON POLICE DEPARTMENT is one of eight British police forces at severe risk of disruption from the millennium bug, according to a leaked report published by ACTION 2000. The report claims that eight police forces, and at least as many fire brigades, have failed to take adequate precautions and have "little chance of rectifying" problems which could cause emergency radios, closed-circuit televisions, crowd control systems and computers to fail. Emergency service providers expect New Year's Eve to be the busiest night in their history, but some police forces and fire services have made "woeful" provision for the computer bug and "haven't a hope in hell" of being able to operate in a normal manner. The undisclosed source revealed, "All eight police forces will struggle to provide a full service as a result of the bug and none of them has contingency plans in place should their communications or radio systems fail." Assessments by HER MAJESTY'S INSPECTOR OF CONSTABULARY in April found that only half the police forces in England and Wales had been independently checked for the millennium bug. Of those checked independently, none had completed their preparations. The source said: "Some of the police forces have conducted an internal audit of their systems, but what is the point of that?...What the bug needs is openness so that people recognize that there is a problem and so that we can deal with it in time." (JG)

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000785813933552&rtmo=3q8
AuxYM&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/99/5/20/ecnmet20.html

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CANADIAN FORCES TO HOLD SECOND NATIONAL Y2K EXERCISE
(Source: Stephanie Rubec, THE OTTAWA SUN, 5/18/1999)

On May 31, the Canadian military will launch "Vigilance 2000," an intensive training session aimed at tackling problems brought on by Y2K glitches. The countrywide exercise will throw numerous scenarios at command-level soldiers who will have to coordinate the efforts of a fictitious force. Scenarios will include terrorist attacks, plane crashes, chemical spills, blackouts, and the evacuation of a small village. Military command posts in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Yellowknife will participate, coordinated by headquarters in Ottawa. This is the second of three training exercises leading up to the $386-million "Operation Abacus" involving 18,400 soldiers at the end of the year. (JG)

Link: http://www.canoe.ca/OttawaNews/OS.OS-05-18-0038.html

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AFRICA DECLARES MILLENNIUM BUG AN EMERGENCY
(Source: PANAFRICAN NEWS AGENCY, 5/14&15/1999)

At the first Y2K conference of its kind in Africa, high-level officials and technical managers from 45 African states and organizations have declared the problem an emergency of the highest priority. A six-point resolution adopted by representatives at the end of the "Getting Africa Ready For The Year 2000" Conference urged African governments to commit resources to deal with the millennium problem and to establish an Y2K coordinating body in the form of an African Action Group. The action group will promote and improve external communications, media exposure, and raise awareness on the actual Y2K situation in Africa, among others. Most African nations are vulnerable to the Y2K problem as a result of the rapid technological changes sweeping across the continent. Of particular concern are airports in Africa, which may face a possible embargo on their operations. The INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION (IATA) had issued questionnaires to airports of member countries, but the response from Africa has been very slow. "What it means is that most airlines cannot fly to such airports in 2000," said IATA Coordinator of Africa's Y2K project, Gabriel Wolde. IATA has given African airports until the end of June to demonstrate their compliance to the millennium bug. (JG)

Link: http://www.africanews.org/PANA/news/19990515/feat4.html

Link: http://www.africanews.org/atlarge/stories/19990514_feat9.html

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ASIAN BANKING CRISIS DIVERTING ENERGY FROM Y2K IN INDONESIA
(Source: Soraya Permatasari, REUTERS, 5/26/1999)

In their struggle to survive Asia's economic meltdown, Indonesia's debt-laden banks are finding that the costly task of preparing computers against the millennium bug is beyond their reach. Most banks are small, and just don't have enough money for the project. Only 13 of the 28 banks listed on the JAKARTA STOCK EXCHANGE have taken steps to deal with the Y2K problem, with only two declaring themselves Y2K compliant. Consultants say a lack of awareness of the problem has added to the delays in addressing Y2K. "The awareness here is quite low, and by the time they realized it, there wasn't much time left," said one Y2K consultant. Indonesia's 170 banks have submitted initial reports on their Y2K programs to the central bank, BANK INDONESIA, but overall, the Indonesian banking sector's battle plan for the Y2K bug does not fill the experts with confidence. Adji Gunawan, a Y2K consultant at ANDERSEN CONSULTING, says the country may be ironing out Y2K bugs until 2003. (JG)

Link: http://infoseek.go.com/Content?arn=a3625LBY473reulb-19990525&
qt=y2k&sv=IS&lk=noframes&col=NX&kt=A&ak=news1486

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ASIAN AIR TRAFFIC TO BE CUT BY TWO-THIRDS ON NEW YEARS
(Source: BANGKOK POST, 5/10/1999, thanks to Dan Drasin)

Twelve nations have agreed to cut back flights in Asia by two-thirds starting well before midnight on December 31, and not resuming full schedules until air traffic controllers from Auckland to Tokyo are satisfied they have the computer millennium bug under control. The Asia-Pacific agreement was signed in Tokyo by 12 Pacific nations with heavy air traffic and important air-control centers: Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S. and Vietnam. The plan, endorsed by the INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION (IATA), calls for airlines to begin grounding their jets at 6 p.m. New Zealand time (noon Thailand time) on December 31. Air traffic will be cut at least two-thirds before midnight. Ground controllers will space planes at least twice as far apart as normal, both vertically and horizontally. While airlines have insisted they will meet or beat the Y2K compliance deadline, the IATA move suggests that airlines and flight controllers are still unprepared for potential computer problems posed by the new year. (JG)

Link: http://www.bkkpost.samart.co.th/

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Y2K GLITCH WATCH:

EURO LAUNCH TOOK BRITISH BANKING TO BRINK OF CHAOS
(Source: THE GUARDIAN (UK), Lisa Buckingham & Jill Treanor, 5/14/1999)

Despite reports at the time of a smooth transition, senior industry sources are now belatedly revealing that Britain's banking system came within hours of gridlock when the euro began trading at the start of the year. Only the deployment of emergency plans devised by a group of the region's largest banks -- known as the HEATHROW GROUP -- ensured that the payments systems amongst Europe's banks were not engulfed in chaos. The existence of 20 different payment systems meant money being transferred from one country to another often ended up in the wrong place or was repeatedly transferred. One European institution, for example, made the same $100 million payment five times. Congestion in the system also meant some banks received huge inflows of funds last thing in the day and were unable to invest them in the interbank market resulting in lost interest. This situation forced many banks into an unprecedented scale of overnight borrowing that lasted for more than two weeks. "When it all started going belly-up at the beginning of euro trading, the banks in the Heathrow Group got things moving," said one executive. "It was a very, very valuable group and we need something like that worldwide to cope with the Year 2000 problem." The BANK OF ENGLAND has attempted to play down the market's difficulties for fear of fueling alarms about what might happen to the system at the millennium. Negotiations are under way between major British and continental lenders seeking to recoup the lost interest. (JG)

http://www.newsunlimited.co.uk/AC/setguestcookie.cgi?section=News&
host=www%2Enewsunlimited%2Eco%2Euk&uri=%2FThe%5FPaper%2F
Daily%2FStory%2F0%2C3604%2C50176%2C00%2Ehtml&userid=4G9Dbb01

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CAP GEMINI: MORE COMPANIES EXPERIENCING Y2K FAILURES
(Source: Steve Alexander, STAR TRIBUNE, 5/23/1999; Barnaby J. Feder, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 5/17/1999)

Because most Y2K computer failures to date have been kept quiet by the companies that suffered them, the Y2K debate has focused on what might happen in the future. However, a recent survey of information officers and project managers by CAP GEMINI AMERICA reported that 72 percent of the corporations and government agencies said they had experienced a Y2K-related failure through the first quarter of 1999. This figure is up from 55 percent in November. Of the companies experiencing Y2K failures, 82 percent said the problems caused data-processing disruptions, 93 percent said they caused financial miscalculations, 38 percent said they caused logistical or supply-chain difficulties and 28 percent said they caused customer service problems. The survey included 152 Fortune 500 companies and 14 federal, state and local government agencies. (JG)

http://www2.startribune.com/stOnLine/cgi-bin/article?thisStory=75772559

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/05/biztech/articles/17bug.html

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Y2K GLITCHES ABOUND IN DC
(Source: Steve Kroft, "60 Minutes," 5/23/1999)

The following edited excerpts are from a remarkable Y2K report by Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes" that aired on May 23:

KROFT: The federal government's GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE has warned Congress that the Y2K situation is so bad in Washington, DC that the nation's capital may be unable to effectively ensure public safety, collect revenue, educate students or provide health-care services. No one is more aware of those problems than Mary Ellen Hanley, a top computer systems specialist who was hired by the District of Columbia to try and fix them. [To Hanley]: In the testing process, have you had failures?

HANLEY: We had a failure in the area of the District's payroll [on] December 18th. We were able to fix it, test it and return it to production.

KROFT: How long did that take?

HANLEY: That took us approximately 60 days.

KROFT: So, if you hadn't found it, your payroll department would've been out of commission for two months [in the new year].

HANLEY: We would've been unhappy.

KROFT: But even if Washington, DC had started preparing years earlier, there's no guarantee it could have averted these problems. Just take a look at Washington's next-door neighbor, Montgomery County, Maryland -- by most accounts, the best-prepared local government in the country for Y2K problems. It began preparations more than four years ago and has spent more than $40 million on Y2K fixes and replacements. To make sure all the problems were solved, Montgomery County inventoried and checked all of its computer systems and every piece of equipment that had a computer chip in it -- 1,100 items in the fire department alone. They thought they had tested everything.

What happened on the first business day of 1999 -- the computer that handles building permits crashed. The computer couldn't handle expiration dates in the Year 2000. But that wasn't the only problem. The county soon learned from MICROSOFT that the in-house computer network that handles email and stores county records and was supposed to be Y2K compliant was not. And then there was that call county executive Doug Duncan got from ERICSSON about the county's phone switcher, which was also supposed to be Y2K compliant.

DUNCAN: They said, 'Oops! Sorry, we made a mistake.' So now we're spending $7 million getting a total new phone system for the county.

KROFT: And these are the kinds of problems being encountered in the best-prepared county in America. (JG)

Link: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=000rqn

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POWER OUTAGE SHUTS DOWN LA CITY HALL ELEVATORS DURING Y2K TEST
(Source: MSNBC, 5/25/1999; Patrick McGreevy & Monte Morin, THE LA TIMES, 5/26/1999, thanks to Suzanne Taylor)

An elevator failure during a May 25 Y2K drill at the Los Angeles City Hall has shaken the confidence of city officials in their ability to handle the millennium bug. Mayor Richard Riordan, who was forced by the outage to trudge up nine floors of stairs to his office and descend 12 floors to attend the Y2K drill, was visibly upset when he finally emerged from the basement stairwell and walked into the Emergency Operation Center. "If we can't take care of the elevators," he said, "what can we take care of in this city?"

Public safety workers and city leaders found they could not move around City Hall during the outage because stairwell doors on some floors were bolted. City Council members were outraged by the power outage and shutdown of elevators, and passed a motion asking the GENERAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT to take immediate steps to address concerns about the shutdown.

The all-day Y2K exercise was based on a hypothetical situation in which special generators would be activated to ensure uninterrupted 911 service and other essential public safety needs in the event of a power failure on Jan. 1, 2000. Riordan had earlier boasted, "If there are any problems, we have a great team of experts that will be able to take care of them within seconds." In actual fact, it took a repair team one hour and 20 minutes to trace the problem to a short in a power meter, and return the elevators to operation. (JG)

Link: http://www.latimes.com/search/findcgi?action=View&VdkVgwKey=%2E%2E%2F%2E
%2E%2FCNS%5FDAYS%2F990526%2Ft000047246%2Ehtml&DocOffset=1&DocsFound=1&Qu
eryZip=Power+Outage+Makes+City+Hall+Y2K+Drill+a+Little+Too+Realistic&Col
lection=Hunter&ViewTemplate=search3%2Ehts

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NIAGARA MOHAWK RUNS INTO TROUBLE WITH NEW BILLING SYSTEM
(Source: Dick Mills, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 5/14/1999)

In February, Albany, New York public utility, NIAGARA MOHAWK (NiMo), switched to a new Y2K-compliant billing system that was to "improve our ability to serve our customers," according to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Darlene D. Kerr. But that's not quite the way it worked out. Ever since the new billing system was activated, customers have gotten bills for the wrong usage levels for gas and electric service, had their bills sent late or to the wrong address, been charged late fees when their payments weren't late, and had errors in direct debits from their bank accounts. The utility's customer service switchboards overloaded with people calling to try to correct their problems. Three months after the problems began, NiMo issued a public apology to customers, and the state PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION ordered the utility to file a plan to fix the problems. NiMo expects that it will take months to have all the kinks worked out of the new system. (JG)

Link: http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/PP/RC/dm9919.htm

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LETTERS:

"CANDID CAMERA" OFFERS VACCINATIONS FOR Y2K VIRUS

"I can't believe what I saw on the TV program 'Candid Camera': They were convincing folks to get vaccinated against the Y2K bug that is being spread by a computer virus. People were agreeing that it was necessary. One woman who was uncertain, agreed to go ahead with the vaccine after she was told her employer's health insurance covered the costs. Vaccine awareness has a long way to go."

--- Sylvie Morin, Palm Bay, Florida

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Y2K STORIES:

SENATE HOLDS COMMUNITY Y2K PREPAREDNESS HEARING
(Sources: Bob Woods, NEWSBYTES, 5/23/1999, David Franke, WORLDNETDAILY, 5/26/1999, thanks to Ron Cornish)

On May 25, the SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON THE Y2K TECHNOLOGY PROBLEM, chaired by Sens. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) and Chris Dodd (D-Ct) held a hearing called "Community Y2K Preparedness: Is There News They Can Use?" The hearing heard from separate preparedness and media panels on the dissemination and interpretation of news surrounding Y2K.

"How do we walk the line of keeping people properly informed, without inciting a panic," Sen. Bennett asked at the start of the hearing. Several members of the preparedness panel said the media at times tended to sensationalize the Y2K problem. Michael Nolan, the city administrator of Norfolk, Neb., said local reporters played up a Y2K angle on a story regarding the town's proposed purchase of equipment that included night surveillance equipment and even security shields, even though an anticipated strike by workers was the main reason behind the buy. Liza Christian of the ROGUE VALLEY, OREGON Y2K TASK FORCE had some harsh words for the media. "Where is the investigative journalism? They merely echo that 'bump in the road' bias. In our experience, the media is looking for sound bites and headlines. Articles and interviews often ridicule those who make preparations to survive a hardship or crisis."

Members of the media panel said the editorial community struggles with covering a problem that a lot of journalists do not necessarily understand. "Time is now very short and the level of ignorance remains alarmingly high," said IDEFENSE Chief Executive Officer James Adams. Citing a study from his own group, FREEDOM FORUM Media Studies Center Director of Research Lawrence McGill claimed that about half of all Americans think Y2K is one of the most serious problems facing America today. He encouraged local media outlets to "focus their Y2K coverage on the kinds of information that citizens told us they needed to know how or if they should prepare for Y2K." Hundreds of journalists are looking for the proper way to cover the Y2K problems, said Kerry Brock, the Freedom Forum's Director of Broadcasting and Programming. Part of the problem comes from conflicting information that exists even among government agencies. Several members echoed Nolan's sentiment that a "standard of leadership that rises to stewardship" is needed from the federal government in the handling of Y2K matters in general.

The Senate Special Committee on the Y2K Technology Problem is studying the impact of the Y2K on the Executive and Judicial branches of the federal government, state governments, and private sector operations in the US and abroad. While the committee can make recommendations, it cannot itself propose legislation or have legislative jurisdiction. (JG)

Testimony transcripts: http://www.senate.gov/~y2k/hearings/052599/index.html

Senate Special Committee on the Y2K Technology Problem Website: http://www.senate.gov/~y2k

Link: http://www.newsbytes.com/pubNews/131122.html

Link: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_exnews/19990526_xex_y2k_senators.shtml

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COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS PROJECT SPARKS GRASSROOTS DEBATE
By David Sunfellow

On Monday, May 24th, John Koskinen announced plans to help the nation's communities organize Y2K meetings with local leaders, companies and utilities. Called the "Community Conversations" Project, Koskinen's press release declared, "Our goal is not to cheerlead or create a false sense of security. Our goal is for participants to share factual information about what's been done, what remains to be done, and what additional actions a community should take as a result."

But upon reading the material being sent out in the Community Conversations "tool kit," some community organizers believe Koskinen's latest effort may, in fact, undermine legitimate discussions. Others believe the new project can be used to encourage serious debate, in spite of the fact that the project materials continue to champion the administration's "don't worry, everything is going to be fine" policy. Mick Winter, Chairman of NAPA VALLEY CITIZENS FOR YEAR 2000 PREPAREDNESS, and Tom Atlee, founder of THE CO-INTELLIGENCE INSTITUTE, articulated these two perspectives in the following edited exchange:

Mick Winter:

"The main [Community Conversations] page states: 'People are looking for straight talk about the Y2K readiness of their own local communities.' Here is what the frequently-asked questions page (FAQ) considers to be 'straight talk': The federal government will be fine, utilities will be fine, banks will be fine, airlines will be fine, elevators and VCRs will be fine, and three days of food and water are always a good thing to have around the house. Guess that takes care of everything, doesn't it?"

"I cannot support an effort that presents such a rosy and out-of-touch-with-reality view. The logical conclusion from the information in this FAQ is that there is no need to even hold the Community Conversations. This program, as it appears, synthesizes everything that has been harmful to date -- particularly the groundless reassurances from government and corporate spokesmen that everything is fine, and the need for no more than a three-day supply of food and water."

"Notice also: 'Stockpiling and panic buying could create economic difficulties'. Not even 'hoarding,' just 'stockpiling.'"

"The federal government is at least three to five months behind the Y2K-aware communities in this country. I had hopes for this program. I have them no longer."

Tom Atlee:

"While I agree with Mick's decrying the rosy picture painted by the Council's FAQ, I think it may be premature to deliver the last rites for all good possibilities for this program at this point. These federally-sanctioned Community Conversations will soon be a fact of life, one that we can fight, use, work with or ignore. Our choice of how to interact with them will probably make a difference."

"I think that any local Y2K group might consider having a special brainstorming session about how they could work to shape these Conversations to best meet their community's needs. Each community is different, and will be presented with different possibilities. An alliance of government and utilities in one town could work together -- under the auspices of these Conversations -- to hide utility Y2K problems. On the other hand, an alliance of community groups and government in another town could put powerful pressure on utilities to give real, useful data about their status. I know communities where both of these scenarios are possible."

"My own suggestion is to take USABLE statements of the Council and Koskinen [like the one quoted in the opening paragraph of this article] and USE THEM FOR ALL THEY ARE WORTH. Use them to give legitimacy to our efforts. Use them as a crow bar to pry open reluctant officials (with the help of the press, where necessary and possible). Use them to wake people up. Take them at face value and show up at these Conversations with insistent, articulate voices that will not go away."

"Isn't it time to take Koskinen at his word? He didn't HAVE to say the statements above. Let's hold him to these very good sentiments. And then let's see how far we can run with them. Let's assume (for now) that Koskinen is a frightened ally. Let's assume that he really WANTS communities to be prepared and just doesn't know how to do it without creating panic -- except like this."

"This is Y2K. Wasting resources is not an option. We can't throw apples away just because they have a few marks and bugs on them. Let's give a bite and see what they taste like first. If we don't like the apples we've just been given, there's always the compost heap."

Mick Winter:

"I know the argument that 'something is better than nothing.' Our group used that justification to actively support the Napa Chamber of Commerce when it put on its 'Napa Valley Y2K Town Hall' at which the usual suspects -- local government, utilities, banks, hospitals, etc. -- lined up to reassure everyone who attended (over 200, mainly people in their 50s, 60s and 70s) that everything is okay. There was no discussion of preparation allowed (although the chief of police snuck in some prep information and our group had a table where we handed out preparation literature)."

"Cathryn Wellner and Richard Wright toured community groups in the Northwest as far south as Santa Cruz. Cathryn made the following excellent point in her report at:

http://grassrootsgroup.com/y2ktrail.htm

[begin quote]

"We are inviting the wrong people to our forums. Community groups from Williams Lake to Santa Cruz are inviting key spokespeople from the organizations the public is most concerned about: telecommunications, power, fuel suppliers, government. When they accept the invitations, they bring the same message: Everything is Y2KOK. Don't worry. Don't stock up. We'll take care of you. The efforts are well intended, but they backfire. They allay fears but do not lead to community, small business, government, non-profit and personal action. They put people to sleep instead of encouraging them to take responsibility."

[end quote]

"We knock ourselves out to put on public forums, and in the spirit of community and open expression, invite all the local 'experts' who do not share our point of view. They then reassure the audience and our message is lost. As far as I can see from the Community Conversations project, Mr. Koskinen recognizes he can't reassure everyone in the country personally, so he hopes to create 'mini-Koskinens' to do the job for him."

"We no longer have the time for bland reassurances. Without active and honest support from the federal level, there is no chance our communities and our country will be prepared. As far as I can see from the Community Conversations FAQ, which I take to be the basic philosophical foundation for the project, there is no need to even hold Community Conversations. I marvel at the logic that says everything will be fine, and then asks communities to hold public forums to discuss this 'fineness.' Unless someone can convince me of a way to use the CC program to our advantage, I can not and will not support it."

Steve Davis of Coalition 2000, has offered a listserve called "Civic Preparedness" for those who are interested in discussing this and other topics related to Y2K. You can join this mailing list on the web at <http://www.coalition2000.com> or subscribe via email:

Send an e-mail to "listserv@4hlists.org" with "subscribe civicprep your_name" in the subject or the body of the message.

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MIXED GOVERNMENT MESSAGES COULD SPAWN PANIC
(Sources: William Ulrich, COMPUTER WORLD, 5/17/1999; Kerry Brock, THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON THE YEAR 2000 TECHNOLOGY PROBLEM, 5/25/1999)

According to Y2K analyst, William Ulrich, inconsistent Y2K messages from the White House could create the perception of a cover-up, driving a jittery public to the very behavior the government is trying to prevent. Case in point: In an April 22 speech to the ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION (APEC) forum, the President's Year 2000 Chairman, John Koskinen, spouted typical government rhetoric, "We expect that our basic infrastructure will hold, that our electric power grids will function, that our telecommunications systems will work effectively and that our banking systems will not have major difficulties." He said that the major problem confronting every country is not so much Y2K itself, but "the risk of overreaction by the public." However, in the same speech, Koskinen made his strongest Y2K comments to date: "We've told our local governments and state governments that they need to be prepared to handle emergencies on their own, since the federal government can't be everywhere dealing with every problem in light of the large number of problems that we are likely to have."

Ulrich responds, "Ultimately, Koskinen doesn't know what will happen in the early months of 2000. Working phones and electricity don't rule out failures in production, transportation, imports and exports, local government, water or small business. If serious problems do emerge and people are unprepared, then maybe we'll panic....Although corporations are building contingency plans, few individuals and communities are following suit. If the problem is acute, many will be unprepared....If the government wants to avoid panic when problems occur, it should extend its preparation campaign to communities and individuals."

Kerry Brock, Director of Broadcasting at the MEDIA STUDIES CENTER offers these additional examples of government inconsistencies at the May 25 hearing of the Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem:

"The governments' own Y2K Czar, John Koskinen, advises journalists to continually drive toward the facts, though it seems obvious to journalists in the know, [that] Koskinen seems to avoid facts. Always in a calm and low key presentation, he tells us the power industry nationally has done well but he's concerned about local power companies. He thinks the national telephone systems will work but he is concerned about the 1,400 small telephone companies. He indicates we should not worry but we should worry. These are not facts, but public vallium, and the news media as a whole is not picking up on it. As Jeff Gralnick of CNN told us, 'Journalists are drowning in a sea of conflicting information.'"

"Senator Dodd states: 'The world oil supply faces a series of Y2K risks from the well in the ground to the gas station in your neighborhood.' Koskinen says, 'Although there may be some minor disruptions...the industries are confident...that the supply of natural gas and petroleum...products [will be] uninterrupted.' The Senate Y2K Committee cites a GAO survey that raises major concern over the readiness of America's water utilities. On the other hand, Koskinen reports cautious optimism that water utility services will continue uninterrupted by Y2K issues."

Brock adds her own warning to the government: "If Y2K failures are a fraction of what the government believes they might be, in the post-millennium blame game, journalists will haunt the people responsible for duplicity." (JG)

Link: http://www.computerworld.com/home/print.nsf/all/990517A5DE

Link: http://www.senate.gov/~y2k/hearings/052599/brock.html

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OREGON MAYORS SIGN PROCLAMATION TO MAKE SEPTEMBER Y2K MONTH
(Source: Liza K. Christian, ROGUE VALLEY TASK FORCE (Oregon), 5/20/1999)

Seven mayors of Rogue Valley municipalities in Oregon (including Grants Pass, Medford, Ashland, Jacksonville, and Central Point) have signed a proclamation to make September "National Y2K Awareness/Preparedness Month." The ultimate objective is to encourage Governor Kitzhaber and all mayors in the State of Oregon to follow their example. "Wouldn't it be great if the Federal Government would see this modeled here and follow our lead?" says Liza Christian, former Executive Director of the ROGUE VALLEY Y2K TASK FORCE and a motivating force behind the proclamation. David Sunfellow, Publisher of the Y2K Report and Director of the SEDONA Y2K TASK FORCE, adds, "I will be asking our mayor to sign on," and suggests to readers of the Y2K Report, "Perhaps you can approach the mayors in your parts of the country too."

Here is the full text of the proclamation:

Whereas, the American people have always valued industriousness and self-sufficiency as well as knowledge, training and execution of preparedness methods and strategies, and

Whereas, our federal and state government through such agencies as FEMA, the National Guard, and by mandate, the American Red Cross, has always provided able assistance to those who experience disruption, upheaval, and confusion, or otherwise suffer as a result of a disaster, and

Whereas, in the event of a national or global emergency, our government's resources may be unduly burdened or insufficient to meet the needs of all who require some level of assistance or intervention, and

Whereas, increasing awareness of possible disasters from earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters, and the possibility for some disruptions to normal way of life due to computer interconnectivity and Year 2000-related problems make overall individual and community readiness a wise and prudent decision, and

Whereas, individual preparedness will richly reward those who are prepared and be of no negative consequence if little or no demand on those resources is made,

Now therefore, I, ___________ do hereby proclaim the Month of September, 1999 as "National Awareness/Preparedness Month."

In witness whereof, I hereunto set my hand this ____ day of ____, 1999.

_______________ Mayor of the City of ___________

_________ (signature)

And do encourage all of our citizens in ______________ County to prepare themselves to the level of their comfort, ability, and protection, for periods of time when an individual, local, national, or global emergency might occur. (JG)

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"60 MINUTES" Y2K REPORT PULLS NO PUNCHES
(Source: Steve Kroft, "60 Minutes," 5/23/1999)

The following are some edited excerpts from a hard-hitting Y2K report by Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes":

KROFT: A survey of county governments across the country shows that 73 percent of them have no contingency plans at all for Y2K failures. And a report prepared for the U.S. Senate's Y2K Committee says 66 percent of all cities and towns will experience at least one critical computer system failure. Senator Robert Bennett, Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on the Y2K problem, believes the country has made a lot of progress in the last six months, but he adds that the country is in uncharted waters, with no historic precedents. [To Bennett: You said] there is still a possibility of economic disruption that could lead to civil unrest. What does that mean?

BENNETT: If there is a municipality that is unable to distribute welfare checks, there could be some civil unrest that could come out of that. If there was a disruption in the food supply and food didn't get in, that could be a situation that could create some civil unrest.

KROFT: Does the federal government have contingency plans for that?

BENNETT: We simply don't have the machinery for martial law. If it gets to the point where there is that big an emergency in a particular area, the governor would call out the NATIONAL GUARD and it would be handled at a state level rather than a federal level.

KROFT: One of the prime concerns for communities around the country is drinking water. Computerized water and wastewater treatment facilities use embedded computer chips in their control systems. Some of the chips in those water systems have been tested for Y2K and have failed. Mary Ellen Hanley, a top computer systems specialist who was hired by the District of Columbia, believes that Washington's water system can run without its computer controls, but she acknowledged she may have to develop contingency plans for water rationing. [To Hanley:] What would cause water to be rationed?

HANLEY: If we lose power, we will not be able to function normally and we'll have to go to considerable slowdowns that could produce rationing.

KROFT: You're preparing contingency plans that there might be no power?

HANLEY: We're looking at what we would consider national averages -- one to two weeks.

KROFT: One to two weeks without power? You think that's possible?

HANLEY: Right now, we don't think it's impossible. We think there will be some disruptions, and we think they will be localized if the supply chain works. That's a big if -- if power works; if gas works; if BELL ATLANTIC works; if people who supply groceries to the inner city work; if pharmaceutical companies make enough pharmaceuticals; if people should horde things.

KROFT: I want to read you some advice that somebody gave about Y2K. "You can move to the mountains and take everyone with you, including your mother-in-law, and hole up for a year. Or you can buy four weeks' worth of water, put $100 in your pocket and make sure you're safe in your own home." Who said it?

HANLEY: I said that.

KROFT: Is it legitimate advice?

HANLEY: This event can't be legislated away. It's going to occur. I think it's wise to prepare, and I think it's wise for us in city government to take all the necessary steps that we can to serve our public. (JG)

Link: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=000rqn

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KOSKINEN WARNING STATE OFFICIALS TO PREPARE FOR THREE-WEEK POWER OUTAGE
(Source: Bill Dale, personal website)

On March 3rd, 1999, the following message appeared on Ed Yourdon's "Time Bomb 2000" Discussion Forum: "Yesterday, someone posted something in the 'Play by Play Thread' about a Georgia representative who appeared on a radio talk show saying that [John] Koskinen [Chairman of the President's Y2K Council] was telling state officials to make contingency plans for a three-week power outage." Bill Dale decided to track down the source, which turned out to be State Rep. George Grindley Jr. (GA), Chair of Georgia's TASK FORCE 2000. He confirmed that Koskinen had told the Chief Information Officer of Georgian state systems to ensure their contingency plans addressed three weeks without electric power.

Dale wrote to Rep Grindley to verify his incredible statement. Here is his written reply:

"I did indeed make the statement that you attributed to me. John [Koskinen] is using three weeks as the outside possibility, but I think things could get ugly. I wouldn't give you any odds that nuclear power will be working by then. The Feds have said they must be compliant by July 1, or shut down. It takes about four months to totally shut down a [nuclear] plant. Personally, I believe a serious concern is the cyberterrorism of the power grid. The DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE is really concerned that this is being planned. This could last awhile under these conditions. The truth is, no one really knows for sure. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and weigh the risk of preparation with the risk of nonpreparation."

--- George Grindley, State Rep. Dist. 35, Marietta, Georgia (JG)

Link: http://home.ica.net/~njarc/Docs/ckpower499.html

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ED YOURDON SPEAKS OUT
(Sources: Y2KNEWSWIRE, 5/27/1999, U.S. SENATE WEBSITE, 5/25/1999; Ed Yourdon, personal website, thanks to Bill Dale)

On May 25, Y2K best-selling author, programmer and Y2K analyst Ed Yourdon testified before the U.S. SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON THE YEAR 2000 TECHNOLOGY PROBLEM at a special hearing entitled: "Community Y2K Preparedness: Is There News They Can Use?" Here are some edited comments:

"Our situation today is much like Aesop's fable of the ants and the grasshoppers: there are only a few ants who feel that Y2K requires non-trivial preparations, while a vastly larger number of grasshoppers continue going about their day-to-day affairs without any concern at all about Y2K. What this means, of course, is that if Y2K does turn out to be a serious problem -- involving disruptions in food distribution, fuel, utilities, banking, medicine, or a number of other critical industries -- then we will see a real panic on the part of the grasshoppers that will make the modest panic of today's ants pale in comparison."

"The ultimate irony is that the ants have already made their decision, and are wrapping up their preparations even now; and the vast majority of the grasshoppers would continue frolicking even if we disclosed every gruesome detail about Y2K risks. But with full disclosure, it's possible that a few grasshoppers might be motivated to join their fellow ants. The ants might even have to admit, 230 days from now, that they made a mistake about Y2K; but most of them would tell you that it was an edible mistake."

"Preaching to the grasshoppers is one of the reasons there is so much interest in community preparedness today; it does little good for an individual to be prepared for Y2K disruptions if he is surrounded by neighbors who are not."

"I want the full, unvarnished truth about Y2K risks so that I can exercise the responsibility that I have for my family and my community. From the massive amount of email that I receive every day, I know that there are several thousand concerned citizens across the land who share my feelings:

- We learn that some 90 percent of the large companies in the U.S. are planning Y2K 'control centers' for the millennium rollover, and that many companies are stockpiling a month of parts and raw materials -- and we wonder whether we should be doing the same thing.

- We learn, from a variety of sources, that roughly half of the small businesses, small towns, and small countries outside the U.S. have not even begun their Y2K preparations -- and we wonder what impact this will have on the global economy, and why so many economists continue telling us that it won't have any impact at all.

- We read story after story about the good progress that large companies and major federal agencies are making -- but then we read in the May 17th issue of the NEW YORK TIMES that large companies are falling behind schedule, and that 22 percent don't think they will finish even their mission-critical systems.

- Some of us work in the computer software industry, and we know, from our own experience as well as the statistical data from metrics experts such as Capers Jones and Howard Rubin, that 15 percent of all software projects are late (by an average of 6 to 7 months), and 25 percent of all projects are canceled before completion -- and we wonder what kind of special information or knowledge allows our nation's leaders to realistically expect that things will be substantially different for the thousands of Y2K projects underway today."

"My plea for full disclosure of Y2K risks, no matter how bad they may be, is echoed by the words of a famous patriot speaking before the Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775: 'It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts....For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.' -- Patrick Henry" (JG)

[Late-breaking news: In a surprise move, Ed Yourdon has decided to say good-bye to Y2K. He's removing all Y2K articles, links, and resources from his website, and dropping off the Y2K radar screen. He explains, "Y2K has been part of my life since early 1995 and has occupied nearly every waking moment since the summer of 1997. While it will continue to have a significant impact on my personal and family life, I no longer plan to play a public role." He goes on to say, "There is nothing deep, dark, or mysterious about my decision. I simply feel that I've done everything I can do to raise the alarm about Y2K." More in next week's Y2K Report. -JG]

Link: http://www.y2knewswire.com/19990527.htm

Link: http://www.senate.gov/~y2k/hearings/052599/yourdon.html

Link: http://www.yourdon.com/

Link: http://www.yourdon.com/articles/sayonaray2k.html

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Y2K RESOURCES:

"JUST IN CASE" LAUNCHES COMPANION WEBSITE
(Source: Michael Brownlee, VISIBILITI UNLIMITED, 5/22/1999)

The publishers of "Just In Case: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Y2K Crisis" have just launched a companion website to their recently-published anthology of essays. The site serves as a portal to assist readers in their Y2K education process, featuring current Y2K news and commentary, an extensive Internet resource guide, a bookstore, and a unique newsletter. (JG)

"Just In Case" Y2K Website: http://www.JustInCaseY2K.com

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CYGNUS TRIANGLES
(Source: Wayne Schumacher, CYGNUS EMERGENCY RESPONSE TRIANGLES Website, 5/25/1999)

Cygnus Emergency Response Triangles (also referred to as Cygnus Triangles or CERTriangles) are a simple signaling system that households can used in an emergency to display their status to a vehicle or person passing by in the street. They consist of a poster with different colored panels that, when folded in different ways, create the following different colored triangles:

- Green: Okay, for now.

- Yellow: Non-urgent need or request, such as the desire to contact someone, to borrow something, to talk to a volunteer.

- Red: Urgent needs such as injury or illness, requiring medication, crucial health/safety matter, life-threatening situation.

- Blue & White: I can help or be a volunteer with medical training, skills, to shelter people, am a CB or HAM radio operator, have something to loan or share.

- Green, Blue & White: Authorized Emergency Support Site where trained assistance can be found.

Depending upon the situation, a CERTriangle of a certain color should be placed prominently on the front door or in a street-facing window. When needs change, the triangles can be refolded to the appropriate color and displayed. When the emergency is over, Cygnus triangles can be stored in readiness for the next disaster drill or actual emergency.

During the week of May 24-28, 1999, SOUTHERN OREGON UNIVERSITY (SOU) Family Housing conducted an emergency disaster drill to test a new community contingency plan idea that included Cygnus Triangles. The disaster drill involved a failed (computer-controlled) railroad crossing signal resulting in a collision of a freight train and a chemical tanker truck adjacent to SOU's family housing complex. The scenario, written by City of Ashland Fire Chief Keith Woodley, described leakage of an extremely dangerous chemical from the tanker truck which placed anyone downwind in grave danger. An evacuation advisory was issued. Cygnus Triangles proved themselves to be a simple, effective communication and needs assessment device for crisis management and community resiliency.

CERTriangles can be viewed at the CERTriangle Website, and also downloaded and printed using Adobe Acrobat Reader or an image editor which supports TIFFs, such as Adobe Photoshop. Wayne Schumacher, creator of Cygnus Triangles, says, "If anyone is interested in receiving a copy of the disaster scenario, a sample Cygnus Triangles placard, and related materials, write to:

Cygnus Emergency Response Triangles
P.O. Box 3425
Ashland, OR 97520

"Include a message similar to: 'Send SOU Family Housing emergency drill materials to: (your name and mailing address).' If you would enclose a couple of stamps to help with postage costs on the special size envelope, I would appreciate it." (JG)

CERTriangle Website: http://www.CERTriangles.com/

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TIPS FOR FOOD STORAGE
(Sources: Rocky Cowie, MILLENNIUM OUTFITTERS; Jim Abel, STOREWISE Website)

If you plan or already have bought food for storage, you may not be aware that you need to store it without the presence of oxygen to prevent spoilage. MILLENNIUM OUTFITTERS of Butte Falls, Oregon have been studying and supplying food storage systems for over 25 years. Here are some food storage tips from owner Rocky Cowie:

Oxygen absorbers remove oxygen from airtight containers. Upon exposure to air, iron in the packet immediately absorbs oxygen into harmless iron oxide which is safely contained in the packet and does not contaminate the food. Packets come in three sizes: 1,000 cc, 500 cc and 300 cc. A 300 cc packet treats well over one gallon of tamped down grain, bean, nut or seed product. For a standard 6.5 gal. bucket, use five 300 cc. packets, three 500 cc packets, or two 1,000 cc packets. Oxygen absorbers need to be used within one hour of opening. Any unused packets should be stored in a small glass jar with a metal lid.

Before displacing oxygen from any food grade container, you must tamp down the contents. That means picking up the container off the floor three to four inches and dropping it 10 to 15 times. Then refill until there is one inch or less clearance. Tamp again.

Twice as many oxygen absorber packets are required for buckets of dehydrated fruits and vegetables which don't tamp down as well as grains, and therefore have more oxygen to absorb.

To store multiple items, fill the container with the first item. Tamp down well. Place the next item in a plastic bag (or two or three placed in a circle). Tamp down again. Repeat as needed. Place the appropriate number of oxygen absorbers on top (plus one to compensate for the extra air space the bags create), then seal. If you are unable to fill the container, add four 300 cc packets for each empty gallon of air space. Fill the containers as completely as possible; too much empty space could result in atmospheric pressure crushing the bucket.

When storing seeds and grains for sprouting, use one third as many packets -- that translates into two 300 cc per 6.5 gallon bucket (instead of the regular five). Note: the removal of all oxygen from the storage container will snuff out the germ of life in seeds and grains, which will prevent them from sprouting.

Millennium Outfitters offers all the supplies mentioned above. Call them toll free at (541) 865-3370 for a free catalogue.

Jim Abel at STOREWISE also carries a complete line of buckets and oxygen absorbers. He has just lowered prices on his buckets, and will waive shipping fees on other items (mylar, oxygen absorbers, etc.) with any bucket order. (JG)

STOREWISE Website: http://www.glitchproof.com/

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THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:

Y2K BUGGING YOU? JUST EAT IT!
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE, 5/25/1999)

The SILICON VALLEY CONFECTION COMPANY (SVC2) and veteran chocolatier, KNUDSEN'S CANDY have come up with a sweet solution to handle the Y2K bug: just eat it! Their 1.9 ounce ladybug-shaped milk chocolate bar sporting raised Y2K letters on its back "was created as a lighthearted spoof of the transition to the new millennium," says candy designer Rich Yacco, who warns, "Eat it while there's still time." "The Y2K Bug" is now available for wholesale and institutional sale in cases of 48 individually-boxed "bugs." It will be available to retail consumers by summer at a suggested retail price of $4.99 per bug. (JG)

SVC2 Website: http://www.svc2.com

Link: http://news.excite.com/news/bw/990525/ca-knudsens-candy-svc2

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WORLD'S LARGEST BELL TO RING IN NEW MILLENNIUM
(Source: IMPRESSION, 5/3/1999)

Heavy-equipment engineer, Wayne Carlisle, of Newport, Kentucky intends to ring in the new millennium with the world's largest bell, which is to be installed in a new millennium tower downtown. The huge bronze bell -- 12 feet tall and 73,000 pounds -- is being cast in France. But there's one snag: the bell tower won't be built in time. Carlisle's contingency plan is to construct a smaller, temporary tower from which to ring in the millennium. "In times to come," he claims, "this will be written about in history books." (JG)

Link: http://www.impressionmag.com/y2k.html

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