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NHNE Y2K Report 14
Sunday, February 14, 1999


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NHNE Y2K Report 14
Sunday, February 14, 1999

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Y2K Threatens U.S. Postal Service
Over 30 Percent of Banks Admit Missing Y2K Deadline
Auditors Facing Legal Dilemma Over Y2K Bug
GTE Advises Customers to Withdraw "A Few Weeks' Worth of Extra Cash"
Y2K-guaranteed Savings Accounts
Generals Discuss Korea's Y2K Computer Chaos
No Bugs as Navy Sends Ship to Year 2000
Albuquerque Schools Add Y2K Vacation Days
Information Technology Chiefs Worried About Y2K
CFO Y2K Nightmares
Y2K Answer Line Does Hot Business
A Village for the Golden Age


100 Years to Pay the Fine
Grocer Gets Early Taste of Y2K Misery
In the Doghouse
Death & Taxes
Profit Warning Triggers Stock Meltdown
Y2K Glitches Hit Auditor's Office


Thank You for Letting Me Know I Am Not Alone
Y2K Vehicle Compliance
A Call for Help


Cracking Down on Slow-Moving Firms
Canadian Government Launches Y2K Awareness Campaign
U.S. Firm Sees Y2K Troubles In Russia
GM Year 2000 Readiness Disclosure
Insurer Abandons Computer Firm
I'm Okay, You're Okay, But I'm Not So Sure About Y2K
Airlines Forcing Execs to Fly on Jan. 1, An Urban Legend
A Plea to Journalists


National Y2K Magazine Launched
Spiritual Survival During the Y2K Crisis
The Rationing of U.S. Gold Coins
How to Tell If Canned Goods Have Expired


Template for Lazy Y2K Reporters
A Grave Problem with Y2K



(Source: Colleen O'Hara, FCW, 2/8/1999)

The U.S. POSTAL SERVICE (USPS) faces a "major challenge" in upgrading its computer systems to avoid the Year 2000 problem, according to a report released last month by the GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE (GAO). The GAO report, which is part of its series on "Major Management Challenges and Program Risks" at federal agencies, says that an early assessment by USPS' Office of the Inspector General showed that the agency was slow to recognize the scope of the Year 2000 challenge and take necessary steps to ensure that all its systems were Year 2000-compliant. Private-sector and government groups may need to use USPS as a backup delivery system if their computers malfunction because of the Year 2000 bug. "For this reason, the USPS is concerned about the prospect of a mail surge in January 2000," GAO said. USPS estimates it will cost $500 million to $700 million to fix its Year 2000 problem. (JG)

Link: http://www.fcw.com/pubs/fcw/1999/0208/web-uspsrisk-2-8-99.html


(Source: YAHOO NEWS, 2/10/1999)

According to a recent Y2K-readiness survey, 32 percent of banks did not complete remediation and testing of internal mission-critical systems by Dec. 31, 1998, despite a federal requirement that "testing of internal mission-critical systems should be substantially complete" by that time. This finding contradicts recent assurances from banking regulators that only 4 percent of banking institutions have been rated "unsatisfactory" or "needs improvement." "I personally believe the authorities are either using outdated information in their pronouncements or simply sugar-coating the truth. In the long run, I feel this can only damage their credibility and create the conditions for the very consumer panic everyone wants to avoid," commented Martin Weiss, Chairman of WEISS RATINGS, the company which conducted the survey. To date, 909 banks and S&Ls have responded to the Weiss survey. "We must assume that, on average, institutions that did not respond to our survey are more likely to be late in fixing their Y2K problems than those that did," Weiss added. (JG)

Link: http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/990210/fl_weiss_r_1.html


(Source: Ross Davies, THIS IS LONDON, 2/11/1999 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

Auditors are facing new legal challenges as insurers tighten up on professional indemnity coverage in anticipation of millennium-related company crashes. Insurers are pressing auditors to qualify the accounts of clients whose level of Y2K compliance is in doubt. Legal firm HOWARD KENNEDY has warned that any qualification "may be seen by the company's creditors and bankers who may then take action to recover the sums owed if they fear the company may not survive the millennium." The INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS accepts that such "action" may also include proceedings against the auditors of companies brought down after producing unqualified accounts. (JG)

Link: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/news/business_story.html?in_review_id=117789


(Source: Dawn C. Chmielewski, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/4/1999)

In a newsletter recently distributed to 1.5 million customers in California, Florida and Texas, telephone giant GTE advised clients worried about their ATM crashing when the new millennium dawns to withdraw "a few weeks' worth of extra cash" on Dec. 31. California banks immediately jumped on GTE for making the "irresponsible" suggestion. "It is the kind of thing that could contribute to a consumer panic," said John Stafford, a spokesman for the CALIFORNIA BANKERS ASSOCIATION. GTE tried to play down the incident. "If any customer interpreted GTE as providing personal cash-management guidance, we regret that," backpedaled GTE spokesman Bill Kula, who said the newsletter merely summarized published accounts. To put the matter in perspective, if every person in Orange County heeded the advice and withdrew $500, it would drain $1.4 billion from the region's banks. (JG)

Link: http://www.ocregister.com/community/gte004w.shtml


(Source: Paul Souhrada, AP, 2/8/1999 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

PEOPLES BANK in Gambier, Ohio has started offering "Y2K-guaranteed savings accounts" as a way to let its customers know it is dealing with the situation. The accounts, which carry a nominal interest rate on balances of a maximum $500, are aimed at people who might otherwise take their money out of the bank before Jan. 1. "If there should be, God forbid, a run on cash, we're guaranteeing it will be there," says Joan Jones, Chief Executive Officer of the one-branch bank. So far, three people have taken advantage of the offer and opened the special accounts. (JG)

Link: http://www.ohio.com/bj/news/ohio/docs/024132.htm



Generals from the U.S., Britain and the two Koreas held crucial talks recently in a rare meeting in the Korean demilitarized zone. The agenda centered on "efforts to avoid accidental armed clashes" caused by Y2K millennium bug problems. South Korean officials fear accidental missile launches caused by faults in North Korea's Soviet-made Scuds could trigger a war in one of the world's flashpoints. (JG).

Link: http://www.yahoo.com.sg/headlines/110299/news/


(Source: Susanna Ray, THE DAILY HERALD (Everett, Wash.), 2/11/1999 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)

All systems appeared normal as the "USS Ingraham" became first ship in the Pacific Northwest to be tested for potential Y2K problems when the ship's combat systems were rolled ahead to the Year 2000. "Right now, it's looking like everything's as it should be," said task director Bob Thomas. The so-called "fast cruises" -- when portside ships pretend they're at sea and simulate various scenarios -- have already been carried out without significant problems on five other Navy ships. The next step for the Ingraham will be to join 15 others from Feb. 19 to March 6 for a Y2K validation exercise off the coast of Southern California -- the first of its kind for the Navy. The Navy is spending about $70 million on the 325 ships in its Pacific Fleet to make sure the upcoming year change will be just like any other, said Capt. Tim Traverso, the fleet's director of Y2K programs. The Atlantic Fleet is not as far along with its Y2K preparations. (JG)

Link: http://www.heraldnet.com/Stories/99/2/11/10563035.htm


(source: CNNFN, 1/19/1999, thanks to John Steiner)

With less than 11 months left before the start of the new millennium, the fear of major disruptions next New Year's Day is causing some school officials to rewrite the school calendar. In Albuquerque, NM, all 87,000 of the city's public school students will get an extra two days added to their Christmas vacation, just in case Y2K computer precautions don't make the grade. Most worrisome to school officials are those potential bugs that are not under their direct control, such as the fueling of the district's 400 school buses, the delivery of the 55,000 lunches served daily, or glitches to the power grid that could leave classrooms in the dark. School officials in St. Paul, San Antonio, Dallas and Philadelphia are also considering adding "Y2K" days to their vacation schedules. (JG)

Link: http://www.cnnfn.com/digitaljam/9901/19/y2k_pkg/


(Source: Craig Menefee, NEWSBYTES, 2/5/1999 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

According to the latest CIO MAGAZINE survey of U.S. information technology (IT) executives, 62 percent will refuse to fly on Jan. 1, 2000 because of possible Y2K problems. Also of interest is the fact that 16 percent of the CIOs now plan to stockpile canned food, compared to 9 percent in October, and 22 percent plan to stockpile bottled water, up from 11 percent. 52 percent of the executives have decided not to grant vacations during the Year 2000 date rollover period. (JG)

Link: http://www.cnnfn.com/digitaljam/newsbytes/125917.html


(Source: CFO MAGAZINE, 02/01/1999 via the YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

Here are the results of a survey in which 66 chief financial officers (CFO) were asked to identify the three Year 2000 issues that scared them the most:

1. Inability to deliver products or services to customers (77 percent)
2. Failure of internal computer or mechanical systems (44 percent)
3. Corporate liability (39 percent)
4. Instability of domestic financial markets (26 percent)
5. Dealing with IRS and other state and federal agencies (21 percent)
6. Inability to receive deliveries (20 percent)
7. Instability of overseas financial markets (19 percent)
8. Personal liability as officer of the company (6 percent) (JG)

Link: http://www.computerworld.com/home/print.nsf/all/9902018CA6


(Source: David Dishneau, ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/8/1999 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

In the month since the Clinton administration announced the launch of a special Y2K information number, the service has logged more than 50,000 calls, according to BIOSPHERICS INC., the Cumberland, Maryland contractor that runs the center. "We want to provide the facts to the public, and our reading of the facts is that the public should be calmed. We see no reason for anyone to panic," said center manager Stephen A. Smith. Call center operator Anne Haynal advocates "personal preparedness" to callers. For most people, that means storing a couple weeks' worth of food. The Information Center first started receiving general queries about Y2K two years ago; over time, the calls have grown more frequent and specific. "Now it's like, 'How is it going to affect my microwave oven? Will my SONY Trinitron TV work?'" said Smith. Calls to the Y2K hotline have boosted the center's total calls in January by 33 percent over last year. (JG)

Federal Y2K Hotline: (888) 872-4925.

Link: http://www.jrnl.com/news/99/Feb/jrn144080299.html


(Source: Jonathan Sidener, THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/24/1999; HERITAGE FARMS website)

Russ Voorhees has received approval from county officials for a 500-home planned community in the White Mountains of Arizona, 180 miles northeast of Phoenix. Voorhees plans to build a community called "Heritage West 2000" on the shards of our technology-dependent society in the aftermath of the Year 2000. "Will any of it happen?" asks Voorhees on his website. "We don't know...but the mounting evidence was convincing enough to make us look for a place to ride out the turmoil." According to promotional material on the website, Heritage West 2000 is a place where "500 families of the New Millennium grow their own food and food for their neighbors to purchase or barter, harvest electrical energy from the sun and wind, raise healthy, self-reliant confident and capable children in a rural setting, which fosters a return to the values that made America great." Voorhees is seeking people with the necessary skills to build this "new Village of the Golden Age": engineers, computer programmers, entrepreneurs, merchants, builders, and dreamers. The 1/2-acre lots go for $29,000 each. (JG)

Heritage Farms: http://www.heritagefarms2000.com/

Link: http://www.arizonarepublic.com/business/0124y2kmain.shtml



(Source: Ron Corbet & John Major, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, 2/12/1999 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

In a glaring Y2K gaffe, the MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL in Ontario recently mailed out hundreds of notices of fines for traffic infractions that they claim occurred nearly 100 years in the future. The typos occurred on a production run while the company that produces the notices was working on making itself Y2K compatible. "No one caught the mistakes, and the notices went out," explains Ministry spokesman, Brendan Crawley. The up side to all this is that the speeders have 100 years to pay the fine. (JG)

Link: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/city/990212/2270113.html



A Y2K glitch has turned Mark Yarsike's first day as a gourmet produce grocer into a nightmare. Customers at the new suburban Detroit grocery store, PRODUCE PALACE, became angry when the store's sparkling new $100,000 high-tech computer system crashed after clerks tried to process credit cards set to expire in 2000. "People were waiting with full carts of groceries to pay but...we could not process a single credit card or take cash or checks. We could not make one sale." Yarsike shared his horror stories (which occurred a few years ago) with the SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE which is considering a bill to limit the amount of court damages awarded over Y2K problems. Yarsike, who is against the passage of such a bill, pointed out that if such a law had been in place during the 2 1/2 years he struggled with almost daily computer crashes, the company that sold him the system would not have been so willing to settle out of court. (JG)

Link: http://www.azstarnet.com/public/dnews/080-3946.html


(Source: FINN BULLERS & DAVID HAYES, THE KANSAS CITY STAR, 02/05/1999, thanks to Carroll Carruth)

A Panama City Beach, Fla. man recently dug an 8-inch hole in his back yard, wrapped $20,000 of his life savings in a waterproof plastic bag and buried it for safekeeping. Reports of Y2K in the media had convinced the carpet cleaner that the end was near and that his money would be safer buried under a doghouse than in a bank. Unfortunately, the cash has disappeared and is thought to have been stolen. (JG)

Link: http://www.kcstar.com/item/pages/home.pat,local/30dabafa.205,.html


(Source: REUTERS, 2/4/1999 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

Across the U.S., thousands of workers are opening up their W-2 tax forms only to learn that they are "deceased." In Dallas, for example, about 13,000 city employees received the W-2s, which tell workers how much they have paid in various payroll deductions, with a check mark in the "Deceased" box. The problem was caused when old computer software was used with a new W-2 form that put the "Deceased" box where the "Pension" box used to be. Dallas officials discounted the problem as "nothing more than a printing error," since the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE takes its tax information from electronic data filed by the city. The same problem affected municipal employees in New York, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The IRS had no information on the national number of errors or whether the forms would have to be re-issued. (JG)

Link: http://nt.excite.com/news/r/990204/04/tech-taxes



Corporate anxiety over the Year 2000 computer problem is wreaking havoc with the sales and shares of software companies, as firms devote their technology budgets to squashing the millennium bug. For example, the day after Ottawa Canada software giant JETFORM warned shareholders that the bug would deflate its revenue and earnings for at least the remainder of 1999, the company's stock melted down, plummeting from $16.18 to $8.35 on the TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE. The previous 52-week low was $15. JetForm expects things will be better in the new year, but for now, the company is biding its time -- no layoffs or other major cost-cutting measures are planned.

Similarly, PEOPLESOFT INC., the giant U.S. software firm, admitted that the Year 2000 computer problem was partly to blame for its failure to meet earnings estimates in its fourth quarter. Paul Bradley, a technology analyst at CANACCORD CAPITAL CORP. in Toronto, says the millennium bug is having a "genuine effect" on many companies that sell complex software systems to large companies. (JG)

Link: http://www.globetechnology.com/gam/Y2K/19990205/RJETT.html


(Source: Kimball Perry, CINCINNATI POST, 2/6/1999 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

A tricky conversion to a new computer accounting system is causing some workers in Hamilton County, Ohio to wait for paychecks and some companies which do business with the county to wait for payment. "The big reason we had to do it was to be 2000 compliant," said County Auditor Dusty Rhodes, who admitted there were bugs that still had to be worked out. "Putting in a new [computer] accounting system is always difficult under the best of circumstances," said County Administrator David Krings. That's not much comfort to those whose lives have been disrupted:

- DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES' employees can't drive their departmental cars because credit cards assigned to workers aren't allowing new gas charges.

- Foster parents and day-care providers used by the county haven't been paid.

- County employees received incorrect pay or benefits.

- The Clerk of Courts came within two days of running out of postage for the entire county. (JG)

Link: http://www.cincypost.com/news/comput020699.html




"I have just finished reading the NHNE Special Report: "Y2K Visions and Visionaries," and I am still trying to catch my breath and steady myself. Your report is eerily validating. Finally I've found others who share my concerns and the possibilities around Y2K: the myriad of social, political and philosophical discussions; the intense spiritual dreams and visions that continue to build as the work progresses; the sense that Y2K is only the tip of something much larger; the urgent desire to connect with others who are on this path. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in all of this."

--- Sandy Vorce, ARLINGTON Y2K COMMITTEE, Arlington, Massachusetts



"It has occurred to me that I've yet to read anything about possible problems with embedded chips in the millions of vehicles on the roads all over the world. I went to GM's website (I drive a '94 Chevy Cavalier) to see if they had posted anything that would let me know if my car's chips are going to function after the rollover. I wasn't surprised when I found no mention of Y2K at their site nor in their for-public-consumption database. What do you know about this issue? Are millions of people going to have problems with on-board computers and embedded chips on Jan. 1, 2000, in addition to all the other projected problems? The whole issue of fuel shortages becomes a marginal one, if the cars and trucks won't start in the first place."

--- Michael J. Perrine, Bellevue, Washington

[In our research, we have found plenty of reassuring statements from car manufacturers, and no hard indication that Y2K will pose any serious problems for any domestic vehicles ("Will My Car Start?" Y2K Report 6; "Cadillac Letter a Hoax," Y2K Report 12). The latest is the letter from GM posted in this issue. If anyone knows otherwise, we would like to hear from them. -JG]



"I work for STINS COMAN CORP., an accredited Y2K compliance centre in Moscow. We are one of the few companies in Russia focusing on all aspects of the Y2K problem, including certification of equipment and software, and training Y2K specialists. We are very much interested in communicating with North American companies with similar Y2K concerns, especially with respect to "PBX" (such as Nortel, Siemens, Lucent, Alkatel, Samsung, NEC, GPT). Thank you."

--- Oleg L. Poretsky, Chief, Telecommunication Division, Stins Coman Corp., Moscow, Russia
Email: oporetsky@stins.msk.su

[While we don't usually carry such messages, we do so in this case to promote international dialogue and networking. If you can help Oleg in any way, I know he would appreciate hearing from you. -JG]



(Sources: Marcy Gordon, AP/MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE, 2/9/1999; Bill Goodwin, COMPUTER WEEKLY NEWS, 2/4/1999, both via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)

Half the companies in a recent SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC) survey failed to disclose how much it was costing them to get their computer systems ready for the millennial change, and a similar number haven't described their contingency plans in case the systems fail," claimed SEC chief accountant, Lynn Turner. Laura S. Unger, the SEC commissioner overseeing the agency's Year-2000 efforts, commented: "We've already made it clear what we want disclosed, and we're not getting it. We are now looking to bring enforcement actions against companies who fail to properly make these disclosures." SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt had warned that a lack of information from companies could lead to panic and overreaction among the public.

In October, the SEC charged 37 brokerage firms with failing to fully disclose their Year 2000 computer readiness, in the federal government's first major enforcement action related to the problem. The SEC has also charged nine stock-transfer agents with failing to adequately disclose their computer readiness for the date change. Britain, Canada, Japan, Hungary and Uganda also intend to take similar action with their slow-moving banks, brokerages and insurance companies. (JG)

Link: http://www2.startribune.com/cgi-bin/stOnLine/article?thisStory=70720116

Link: http://www.computerweekly.co.uk/cwarchive/news/19990204/c


(Sources: Jennifer Ditchburn, CP/VANCOUVER SUN, 2/10/1999 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS; Joe Boivin, GLOBAL MILLENNIUM FOUNDATION, 2/11/1999)

As part of INDUSTRY CANADA's "Year 2000 Awareness Week," which started Feb. 10., all 11 million households in Canada received a brochure called "Millennium Bug Home Check" which included information on what kinds of products are at risk of malfunctions, how to do tests at home, and who to call for help. The eight-page colour document indicated that the vast majority of Canadian homes have little to worry about. Industry Minister John Manley explains, "Not too many people have any practical ideas about what they ought to check or what they ought to worry about....We want them to do the necessary things to see that they're ready, on the other hand we don't want them to be unnecessarily panicked."

Unfortunately, no mention was made of the potential problems with power, transportation, healthcare, municipal government, or the global implications of Y2K, possibly leading some who received the pamphlet to conclude that there is no reason to take any precautions at all. The federal government already mounted a campaign directed towards the business world, encouraging companies to fix and test their systems early. The next chapter will unfold later this spring, when departmental officials start telling the public what sort of precautions they should take against computer failures in the infrastructure, such as power generators and water purification plants. "Overall, Canadians should be reasonably assured that the things that are beyond their control are being taken care of, and they should look at the things that are within their control," Manley said.

Despite Manley's reassurances, The GLOBAL MILLENNIUM FOUNDATION (GMF), a Canadian Y2K advocacy group, is urging all Canadians to acquire a minimum one-week supply of emergency food and bottled water, consistent with the recommendations made by the RED CROSS. GMF is also recommending that Canadians query officials in their local governments and hospitals to determine their current rate of progress. (JG)

Link: http://www.vancouversun.com/cgi-bin/newsite.pl?adcode=nmm&modulename=national

Global Millennium Foundation Website: http://www.globalmf.org


(Sources: James Pierpoint, REUTERS/YAHOO! NEWS, 2/10/1999; Daniel Verton, FCW, 2/8/1999, both via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

Problems converting Russia's aging software to avoid millennium computer glitches are worse than initially thought and could cause critical systems to crash, according to Vivek Wadhwa, Chief Executive of RELATIVITY TECHNOLOGIES INC., which is working on the problem with the national airline AEROFLOT, the natural gas conglomerate GAZPROM and the city of St. Petersburg, among others. Wadhwa said fewer Russian private-sector systems have been updated than initially believed, and the country will need to invest billions of dollars to avoid losing what he called "mission-critical" systems used to operate the nation's telephones, utilities and airline. "There's almost a sense of hopelessness in many cases, and the systems are a lot more bug ridden than we thought they were."

This news follows on the heels of an announcement by the DEFENSE DEPARTMENT that they will be sending a team to Russia later this month to determine the level of support it requires to fix its Year 2000 problems, particularly the systems that control the country's nuclear weapons. (JG)

Link: http://www.yahoo.co.uk/headlines/19990210/european/0918627331-0000017946.html

Link: http://www.fcw.com/pubs/fcw/1999/0208/web-dodrussia-2-8-99.html


(Source: Amanda Taylor, private correspondence, 2/1/1999)

When Amanda Taylor contacted GENERAL MOTORS (GM) about possible problems from date-sensitive embedded chips in her 1987 Chevy van, she received a detailed reply from Stan Politowicz, Year 2000 Information Manager, North American Operations in Warren, Michigan addressing Y2K-compliancy issues in all GM vehicles. Here are some edited excerpts:

"We have analyzed the microprocessors in our current and planned models. Additionally, we have checked the processors in past models dating back to when we first started installing date processing-capable microchips in our cars and trucks. Most of these electronic systems have no date-related functionality and, therefore, pose no Year 2000-related problems. Those few systems that have date-related functionality were found to be Year 2000 capable."

"In addition to our products, our program addresses critical computing systems that serve our financing and insurance customers, to minimize the potential for Year 2000 glitches that could cause inconvenience to our customers. Finally, we are working closely with our dealerships to minimize any inconvenience in connection with sales and servicing of your GM vehicle."

"Given the scope and detail of our efforts, GM anticipates no problems with past, current, or future model vehicles, or significant disruption of GM's business as a result of the Year 2000 problem." (JG)


(Source: Eric Beauchesne, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN & Glenn Baglo, THE VANCOUVER SUN, 1/20/99 via the YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

Jittery insurance companies, fearing the risks associated with covering those on the front lines of the Year 2000 crisis, are withdrawing their coverage from businesses that rely heavily on computers. For example, when Alan York, owner of DYNAMIC DATACORP PEOPLE, a Vancouver company which has provided information and communications technology services since 1980, wanted to add some coverage, DOMINION OF CANADA GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY informed him that not only were they not going to provide added coverage, they were going to cancel his existing coverage because of the Y2K risks. When York turned to the government to intervene, Andre Girard, a spokesperson for the federal SUPERINTENDENT OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, pointed out that "there's nothing we can do about it. It's purely a business decision."

Wayne Thorpe, Dominion's Vice-President of Commercial Lines Underwriting, admitted the insurer has taken a more cautious approach than most to the millennium threat. Besides dropping coverage of computer programmers, operators and consultants, Dominion has decided, like many other insurers, not to take any chances in what could be a legal quagmire for insurers, and has also added Year 2000 exclusion riders to all its other commercial contracts. York has since obtained new coverage for his firm, though only with a Year 2000 exclusion clause.

The millennium problem is predominantly an issue between insurers and businesses, and does not pose a threat to consumers, according to Mark Yakabuski of the INSURANCE BUREAU OF CANADA. Should the millennium bug knock out your furnace and your water pipes freeze and burst, you're probably covered for any damages. The reason, explains Yakabuski, is that any glitch caused when a computer's internal clock ticks over from 1999 to 2000 would be the secondary, not the primary, cause of injuries or damage from such events. (JG)

Link: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/990120/2198390.html


(Source: Lisa Rabasca, THE MONITOR, 1/1999 via GARY NORTH'S LINKS AND FORUMS)

When the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31, 1999, no one knows whether the world's elevators, planes, cash machines and other computer-operated equipment will continue working properly. For people with anxiety-related disorders, this uncertainty is already triggering fear and stress related to the Year 2000, according to several experts on anxiety.

Fear of uncontrollable events is not uncommon. Estimates show that about one in five people experiences symptoms related to anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, excessive worry and fear of places and situations, says David L. Kupfer, a clinical psychologist in Falls Church, Va. who specializes in phobias and other anxiety-related disorders. About half of those people will have clinically-significant concerns related to some aspect of the Year 2000, he says, noting that anyone who fears accidents and disasters is likely to fear the millennial change.

To help people cope with their fears, psychologists are encouraged to teach patients to challenge their own assumptions and to question where the information is coming from and whether it is based on scientific fact. While it is important to help people distinguish normal concerns from worries that verge on the pathological, worrying is not productive. Real problems should be identified, and then concrete steps taken to rectify them. Another useful tack is to help people remember that they have successfully coped with change in the past, Kupfer says. And it can be helpful to remind people that the Year 2000 is based on arbitrary record keeping: on the Jewish calendar it is the year 5760, 4698 on the Chinese calendar, 1421 on the Islamic calendar and 1922 on the Indian calendar. (JG)

Link: http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan99/ok.html



Despite widely-circulated reports to the contrary, BRITISH AIRWAYS (BA) will not force its directors to fly during the millennium date change. The airline circulated a memo stating its position in response to rumors that BA was planning to follow a Chinese government policy forcing executives onto planes on Jan. 1, 2000 as an incentive to ensure Y2K compliance. A spokeswoman at BA explained: "We will be flying normally over the millennium and our directors won't be flying -- unless they are going on holiday." The original Chinese story has also turned out to be untrue, according to the TASTY BITS FROM THE TECHNOLOGY FRONT Website, which now claims an employee at the CHINESE CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY made the suggestion as a joke. (JG)

Link: http://www.silicon.com/public/door?REQUNIQ=918505366&6004REQEVENT=&

Link: http://tbtf.com/archive/1999-01-26.html#s11

Original BA story: http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/99/01/31/stinwen


(Source: Larry Sanger, SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS, 1/22/1999)

Y2K analyst Larry Sanger has been summarizing Y2K news stories for the past four months and is well-acquainted with all manner of Y2K issues. We at NHNE check his website daily, because we find him a valuable resource whose Y2K coverage is precise, well written and unbiased. This is not the case with all Y2K reporters, many of whom, in his opinion, produce "shoddy work, sometimes poorly written but more often poorly researched."

Here are a few suggestions from Sanger on how journalists can improve the quality of their Y2K coverage:

1. Inform yourself about Y2K. Try not to get sidetracked. SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS (http://www.y2kreview.com/index.htm) is an excellent place to begin informing yourself. [The YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER (http://www.year2000.com/articles/NFarticles.html), Y2KNEWSWIRE (http://www.y2knewswire.com/), WESTERGAARD ONLINE SERVICES (http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/), and GARY NORTH'S LINKS AND FORUMS (http://www.garynorth.com/y2k/latest_.cfm) are also good sites for news and commentary.]

2. Investigative journalism is desperately needed. Simply summarizing reports and press conferences, while occasionally enlightening, too often does not satisfy readers who demand relevant, quality information.

3. Essential to good reporting is asking the right questions. Here are a few examples: How many systems does your organization have? How many lines of code? What percentage of those that must be fixed have been fixed? Which of your systems are considered "mission critical"? Have your claims to compliance been certified by a third party? What have you done about your embedded systems problem? Obviously, you won't be able to ask or even understand such questions until you've adequately informed yourself about Y2K.

4. Don't just simply repeat words and phrases that your source uses, ask them what they mean. For example, you might find that "Y2K-ready" means the systems have been remediated, but not tested.

5. There are so many important stories that are not being covered. For example, the U.S. federal government is including fewer and fewer of its systems on its list of "critical systems," allowing them to claim a higher rate of progress than they actually have achieved. Why hasn't anyone interviewed the dishonest bureaucrats who are responsible for that? Another example: a number of major U.S. corporations had set Dec. 31, 1998 as their deadline for finishing remediation. Why haven't we heard any estimates on the percentage of those that missed the deadline?

Good luck. We are all counting on you to do a good job.

Link: http://www.y2kreview.com/plea.htm



(Source: Mikaela Rierson, Y2K SOLUTIONS MAGAZINE, 2/11/1999)

The publishers of the AWARENESS JOURNAL have launched a national news magazine called Y2K SOLUTIONS. The premiere issue features an exclusive interview with Y2K analyst Paloma O'Riley, and is an excellent primer on Y2K. The February issue will feature the potential impact of Y2K on food and water supplies. The magazine focuses on solutions instead of fear and doomsday, and looks at the resiliency of people and the opportunity to create positive solutions in the face of change. One section, called "Community Spirit," will feature Y2K preparedness activities in communities around the country. February will showcase the SEDONA Y2K TASK FORCE.

The magazine is also intended to be a "bridge" publication for the estimated 80 percent of the population who are not active users of the Internet and therefore are not receiving accurate news about Y2K, if any at all. Paloma O'Riley will be taking copies of the first issue with her to Washington D.C. and intends to pass them out to officials there, including John Koskinen.

The magazine retails for $3.50. The publisher also offers a bulk rate of $1 per copy for orders of 25 or more, so that Y2K groups can use them as a fund raiser. (JG)

For more information, contact:

Mikaela Rierson,
Publisher and Editor,
Y2K Solutions Magazine,
Phone: (520) 749-7790,
Email: aware@azstarnet.com

Y2K Solutions Website: http://www.y2k-solutions.net


(Source: Karen Anderson, DEAR KAREN, 2/1/1999)

A common occurrence upon learning about the potential impact of Y2K, is to wrestle with the moral and ethical implications surrounding a possible crisis. If some of the worst-case Y2K scenarios do come pass, do we honestly know how we will react? Most of us know how we would like to respond -- but given the fact that we don't always react the way we should when facing the mild irritations of everyday life, how will we handle making difficult decisions during turbulent times? Steve Farrar's new book, "Spiritual Survival During the Y2K Crisis," might be able to help. Farrar tackles the really tough questions many of us have thought about in the middle of the night, such as: Is it better to move to the hills to protect my family, or stay to serve others and possibly put my family at risk? How do I know when and if to use self-defense? What do I do if we only have enough food to feed our own children and the neighbor's kids arrive hungry on our doorstep? To illustrate his comments, Farrar make use of Biblical situations in which God shows his faithfulness as the characters grapple with difficult circumstances. (JG)

Link: http://www.y2kwomen.com/recommended/orderfarrar.html


(Source: Gary North, REALITY CHECK, 2/5/1999)

The demand for gold coins is going through the roof: in the first six months of 1998, the U. S. MINT sold an average of 96,000 ounces of gold coins a month; in the second six months, it sold 210,000 ounces a month; in the first month of 1999 it sold 268,000 ounces! During the first week of February, 1999, the U.S. Mint stopped selling gold coins for a day and then announced a new allocation system.

According to Y2K analyst Gary North, if the demand continues, gold coins will have to be rationed within 30 days. North says, "You had better act when you can." He suggests that tenth-ounce coins at about $35 are the best investment, because they are most easily bartered for day-to-day items. Here are two coin dealers that he recommends:

CAMINO CO., (800) 348-8001, Fax: (650) 401-5530

LITTLE MOUNTAIN, (901) 853-6136, Fax: (901) 854-5138 (JG)

Gold coin price list: http://www.msnbc.com/modules/commerce/gold2.asp


(Source: Karen Anderson, DEAR KAREN, 2/1/1999)

When storing canned goods to prepare for Y2K, it makes sense to stock up on the safest and freshest products. In general, canned goods are safe to eat even years after their "best before" dates have expired; however, if a can is swollen, rusty or smells funny when you open it, don't hesitate to toss it -- the last thing you want on your hands in a crisis is a sick family. Nevertheless, best-before dates and various other manufacturers' codes are handy references to the freshness of products. Trouble is, the codes are often confusing and hard to interpret.

Here are some sources that help clarify the issue:

<http://www.a1usa.net/gary/expire.html>: website explains some manufacturer dates and how you can decode them on cans.

<www.michaelhyatt.com>: Michael Hyatt's site mentions a few commonly-used codes.

<http://www.waltonfeed.com/self/lid.html>: a link to a site which deciphers 40 of the most common can codes.

<http://www.glitchproof.com/glitchproof/storlifofgro.html>: food shelflife recommendations regarding expiration dates on foods.

<http://www.ocweb.com/y2k/PFS.htm>: a long article that discusses storing canned foods and how to interpret the coded dates. (JG)



(Source: Gary North, 2/9/1999, GARY NORTH'S LINKS AND FORUMS)

Reporters have a hard job: they are obliged to work long hours writing, editing and reviewing millions of forgettable lines of text under impossible deadlines -- much like Y2K repair teams. Gary North feels their pain, and so he has created this handy cookie-cutter template for any reporter who is after a "human interest" story on Y2K (read "survivalism").

Any successful Y2K article will need to include the following phrases and references:

- "Contrary to the worst-case Y2K scenarios, planes will not fall from the sky." This phrase establishes you as a reasonable person. (For the record, reporters were the only persons who ever used the expression, "planes will fall from the sky," in the first place.)

- "Fortress" or "compound." Use either word, but not both in the same article, which is considered amateurish.

- "Polls reveal." No need to say which polls or where they appeared. You may substitute "surveys" for "polls."

- "Many experts." Don't count them. No need to name them.

- "Cause a panic," "trigger a panic," "lead to a panic." Choose one. If you are going to refer to "a self-fulfilling prophecy," do it here.

- "There will be some problems." This can be inserted about two-thirds
of the way into the article. Can be compared to "a hurricane," or "a winter storm."

- "Bank runs." Required, because without bank runs, there is no panic. A reference to money and mattresses may also be useful here.

- "Koskinen said" or "Koskinen says." It doesn't matter what he said or says, just report that he said or says something. Nobody remembers what he says anyway.

- "Generators." Required.

- "Ammunition." Required. You can substitute "firearms," but it doesn't have quite the same ring to it. (JG)



(Source: Janet Wilson, LA Times, 1/29/1999 via the YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

Just as programmers are scrambling to fix a glitch that allows a computer to assume that the first two digits of its internal date are "19," cemetery administrators and headstone manufacturers are scratching their heads over what to do about their own low-tech millennium bug: thousands of prepaid headstones with "19s" already carved -- and owners not ready to die. Across the nation, an estimated 250,000 empty graves with the numbers 19__ carved on their headstones are out there in cemeteries, waiting. But with 2000 is still 11 months away, nobody's saying, "Save yourself some money, die early," according to Billy Schlitzberger, owner of a monument business in Houston.

Options being discussed for fixing stones include:

- The epoxy method, in which a gluelike adhesive is mixed with crushed stone the color of the marker and affixed over the offending numbers. The procedure is the cheapest, but is not as long-lasting, and the repair may be slightly visible, especially when it gets wet.

- The "bronze option," which calls for bolting a bronze plaque with the correct dates over the outdated one. It is dismissed by purists as a "band-aid" approach.

- Longer-lasting but costlier spot polishing or refacing. Refacing involves cutting off the entire front panel of the stone and re-carving it. Spot polishing involves grinding down just the 19 and replacing it with 20.

Costs range from about $200 for epoxy to $2,000 for a complete refacing.

Up for grabs is who will pay the costs of fixing the problem: the consumer who paid cold cash long ago for a complete package, or the company that sold it to them? Monument makers say the pre-sales agreements are usually handled by mortuaries and funeral homes, not by them. "It would not surprise me if they would simply tell the family that the whole stone will have to be replaced," said Jed Hendrickson, President of the CALIFORNIA MONUMENT ASSN., "not even mentioning the options." But a spokesman for Houston-based SERVICE CORP. INTERNATIONAL, the nation's largest death-care industry chain, said his company would honor any previous arrangements. (JG)

Link: http://www.latimes.com/CNS_DAYS/990129/t000008913.html


Copyright 1999 by NewHeavenNewEarth

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