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NHNE Y2K Report 18
Sunday, March 14, 1999


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NHNE Y2K Report 18
Sunday, March 14, 1999

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NM Utility: Can't Promise the Lights Will Stay On
Ontario Hydro Y2K Test Goes Smoothly
Y2K Shutdown of Gazprom Could Leave Russia In Cold
Tardy Small & Medium-Sized Businesses Threaten UK Supply Chain
Y2K to Close Panama Canal
Sri Lanka Banks to Close on Dec 31 for Y2K Bug
Nearly 20 Percent of U.S. Banks Behind Schedule
Y2K Bank Scam Alert!
Y2K Passes Initial Wall Street Test
Shanghai Stock Exchange's Y2K Tests Turn Up Problems
Aid For Y2K Fixes May Arrive Too Late
State May Recommend Y2K Kits In Homes
Senators Suggest Stockpiling
Y2K PSA Looking for Funding


Microsoft In Trouble Over Year 2000...Again
Y2K Disrupts Israeli Income Tax
Japanese Satellite Tests Suspended Over Year 2000 Problem
Y2K Audits Miss Glitches


Surviving the Meltdown -- Staying Alive In 2000 A.D.
Slow Going In Canton
Go For It!


Senate Y2K Report Takes Flack from Several Quarters
Thoughts on the Second Global Y2K Summit In Manila
Validity of Upcoming Electric Utility Y2K Drill Questioned
Bunkers Ready In Case of Y2K Crisis
Will My Washing Machine Survive the Y2K Bug?


A Y2K Workshop for Inner Preparedness
Second Resilient Communities Live Satellite Videoconference
Health Industry Posts Y2K Guide
Novell Hands Out Free Software
Microsoft Steps Up Year 2000 Efforts
Free Y2K Help Software


Y2K's Unexpected Surprises




"I have a nightmare of CNN cameras in villages or cities where there is no power, no telecommunications, the banking system is broken down, widespread rioting."

--- Robert Bennett, Chairman of the Senate's Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem



(Source: John J. Lumpkin, ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, 3/11/1999)

In an demonstration of candor unusual for a public utility company, Scott Witschger, Year 2000 Program Director of the PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY OF NEW MEXICO (PNM) said that he can't promise the lights will stay on uninterrupted in the state after the turn of the century. With only 47 percent of PNM's identified, Y2K noncompliant systems repaired by the end of February, Witschger said there's a "high probability" of voltage variations for at least a few hours after midnight, Dec. 31 as PNM's heaviest consumers, such as manufacturing plants, deal with their own Y2K problems and shut down or reset their systems. He said there's a "moderate" likelihood of power outages lasting from one to three hours, especially if automated systems fail and crews have to operate power plants and distribution centers manually. There's a "low probability" of power outages lasting up to 24 hours, and that's if "absolutely everything goes wrong," he said. Most of New Mexico is part of the Western Power Grid that encompasses the Western U.S. and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. PNM contributes to or draws power from the grid as necessary; however, said Witschger, in a worst-case scenario, PNM could cut itself off from the regional grid and go on its own. On New Year's Eve, both of PNM's in-state power plants -- the San Juan coal plant near Farmington and the Reeves Generating Station, a natural gas plant in Albuquerque -- will be on-line, something usually done only during peak usage months in the summer. The San Juan plant gets its coal from a nearby mine, so it isn't reliant on out-of-state railroad transport and also has a 30-day supply of coal on hand. PNM is the state's largest utility. (JG)

Link: http://www.abqjournal.com/news/2news03-11.htm


(Source: THE LONDON FREE PRESS/CP, 3/8/1999)

Much to everyone's relief, there were no power disruptions when ONTARIO HYDRO, Canada's largest utility, moved some of its computer systems ahead so to Jan. 1, 2000 on March 6. "This test is a big step toward ensuring a seamless transition into the Year 2000 and minimizing the potential for customer inconvenience," said Bill Imms, a spokesperson for Ontario Hydro. (JG)

Link: http://www.canoe.ca/LondonNews/lf.lf-03-08-0053.html


(Source: RUSSIA TODAY/REUTERS, 3/8/1999)

According to CIA analyst Lawrence Gershwin, Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union states could be hit with "severe shortages" of energy if Russia's GAZPROM NATURAL GAS PIPELINE network stops working because of the Year 2000 bug. Gazprom, whose assets include a quarter of the world's natural gas, supplies about half the energy used by Russia, 15 percent of energy consumed by Eastern Europe and 5 percent by Western Europe. Gazprom's equipment has several potential problems: aging mainframe computers that are "highly likely" to stop working on Jan. 1; supervisory control and data acquisition systems, most purchased years ago and not Y2K-ready; satellite ground stations used to transfer data from production regions to Gazprom headquarters; hundreds of unattended equipment stations in remote areas of Siberia that rely on embedded processors. The region could only survive a Gazprom shutdown for about 30 days with existing inventories. (JG)

Link: http://www.russiatoday.com/rtoday/business/news/1999030805.html


(Source: Bill Goodwin, COMPUTER WEEKLY NEWS, 3/11/1999)

UK's small and medium-sized firms are in trouble, and unless they take some radical action quickly, nearly half will not solve their Year 2000 problems before the end of the year, according to ACTION 2000's latest "state of the nation" survey. Risks include interruption of production, loss of sales, lawsuits from dissatisfied customers, and possibly, bankruptcy. Small companies are at the heart of a nationwide supply chain, producing goods and services that are critical to the UK's largest businesses. If they fail, supplies to big businesses will inevitably be interrupted and the reverberations will be felt throughout the economy. "Let's be clear," said Gwynneth Flower, head of the Y2K watchdog group, "we are talking about the risk of severe disruption or worse." Prime Minister Tony Blair took the unusual step of adding his own warning: "Time has very nearly run out for the firms that are behind. With under 10 months to go, they have two clear choices: use the time to beat the bug or risk being beaten by it." Few British companies seem to understand the Y2K bug and alarmingly, two out of five smaller firms that think they have cracked the problem have, on closer examination, not even got past the first stages of tackling the bug. The worst offenders are companies in the transport and logistics sectors, hotels and restaurants, and agriculture. (JG)

Link: http://www.computerweekly.co.uk/cwarchive/news/19990311/cwcontainer.asp?name=C11.html


(Source: Robert A. Rankin, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/5/1999)

According to Robert Bennett, Chairman of the SPECIAL SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE YEAR 2000 TECHNOLOGY PROBLEM, the Panama Canal will not admit ships next Dec. 31 because its traffic-management systems may fail due to the Year 2000 computer glitch. He cites this as but one example among many of how countries around the world are unprepared for dealing with the Y2K computer bug less than a year before it strikes. "If disruptions involve countries that either buy or sell [or transport] U.S. goods, we will feel the impact," says Bennett. (JG)

Link: http://www.phillynews.com/inquirer/99/Mar/05/business/YTWO05.htm


(Source: Y2K TODAY/REUTERS, 3/11/1999)

Sri Lanka's CENTRAL BANK plans to instruct all commercial banks operating in the country to cease operations on December 31 as a precautionary measure against the millennium bug. The banks will also be instructed to print and send statements of balances of all customer accounts, debtors and creditors confirming their status before the year-end. "We want to make sure that there are hard copies available before the roll over," a Central Bank official confirmed. In January, the WORLD BANK approved a $29 million loan to help Sri Lanka ensure that key agencies and the financial sector could handle potential computer problems resulting from the Year 2000 date change. V.K. Samaranayake, the head of the NATIONAL Y2K TASK FORCE, is convinced that Sri Lanka will survive Y2K with nothing more than a few hiccups. (JG)

Link: http://www.y2ktoday.com/modules/home/default.asp?id=1053


(Source: Ian Stokell, NEWSBYTES, 3/8/1999)

In the latest Y2K preparedness survey from bank-rating agency WEISS RATINGS INC., nearly one fifth of U.S. banks received a "below average" grade based on reported completion dates. In contrast, recently-released FDIC numbers indicated only 2.9 percent of insured institutions had
failed to achieve a "satisfactory" rating in their Y2K compliance evaluations. In defense of its numbers, Weiss says, "By evaluating the banks' actual or expected completion dates for critical tasks, the Weiss Y2K survey separates those that have truly made good progress from those that appear to be lagging behind." (JG)

Link: http://www.cnnfn.com/digitaljam/newsbytes/127546.html


(Sources: Y2KNEWSWIRE, 3/10/1999; Rob Lamberti, TORONTO SUN, 3/10/1999)

Fraud artists are trying to capitalize on the Y2K computer scare with a new telephone scam. A con artist, posing as a bank employee, calls the intended victim and explains their bank has determined it is not able to achieve full Y2K compliance. As a safety precaution, all bank funds are to be transferred to a "safe haven" fund that will be immune to Y2K disruptions. The intended victim is then asked to reveal account information, along with permission to make the transfer. Of course, the transfer is not to a protected bank fund, but rather to the account of the con artist. According to Sharon Wilks of the CANADIAN BANKERS' ASSOCIATION, no bank employee would ever call someone to transfer accounts. The association urges anyone who has been approached to call either their local law enforcement or PHONE BUSTERS toll free at (888) 495-8501. Y2KNEWSWIRE offers this additional common sense advice when making Y2K financial decisions: never reveal account information over the phone unless you initiated the call to the financial institution and always conduct large transactions in person at the bank. Y2KNEWSWIRE also points out the fact that any bank actually declaring itself non-Y2K-compliant should be warning enough that something is fishy. (JG)

Link: http://www.canoe.ca/TorontoNews/ts.ts-03-10-0036.html

Link: http://www.y2knewswire.com/19990310.htm


(Sources: Ian Stokell, NEWSBYTES, 3/8/1999; ZDNET/REUTERS, 3/8/1999; Wendy Woods, NEWSBYTES, 3/11/1999; Martin Stone, NEWSBYTES, 3/10/1999)

On March 6, in the first of a series of Saturday tests, an estimated 400 Wall Street brokers at various securities firms assessed their IT systems for Y2K compatibility. Early results from the first dry run were "better than expected," according to The SECURITIES INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION (SIA), the trade group organizing the test. The computers were set to act as though it were Dec. 29, 1999, and more than 170,000 mock trades went flying through Wall Street computer systems with only a light volume of calls and routine problems coming into command center, staffed by SIA workers and "coaches" from the auditing firm PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS. The test went beyond stocks, checking systems for trading options, mutual funds, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, mortgage-backed securities, government securities and money market funds as well. The test schedule, which runs for five more weekends (or until all problems are ironed out), will culminate on April 10 in a simulation of the Year 2000. The tests will also be a good preparation for the Dow Jones Industrial Average inevitably hitting 10,000 (the change from a 4-digit to 5-digit Dow) and next year's "decimalization" (stock prices quoted in dollars and cents instead of in sixteenths of a point). The securities industry as a whole is spending $6 billion to ensure computer systems do not crash on New Year's Day. In a similar move, the CANADIAN SECURITIES ADMINISTRATORS will be conducting "beta tests" (dress rehearsals) and "live-tests" of the Y2K readiness of Canadian securities and mutual fund firms on selected Saturdays between March 13 and June 6. (JG)

Link: http://www.cnnfn.com/digitaljam/newsbytes/127706.html

Link: http://www.cnnfn.com/digitaljam/newsbytes/127760.html

Link: http://www.cnnfn.com/digitaljam/newsbytes/127546.html

Link: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2221770,00.html


(Source: Martyn Williams, NEWSBYTES, 3/4/1999)

Despite initial reports from China that the third in a series of Y2K system tests at its major stock exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen over the recent lunar new year holiday were successful (Y2K Report 17), the SHANGHAI STOCK EXCHANGE has since reported that problems were discovered in its systems in all three tests. The tests involved the BANK OF CHINA, other major banks, more than 2,000 securities firms. Efforts are now being made to address the issues. (JG)

Link: http://www.newsbytes.com/pubNews/127413.html


(Source: Dennis Berman, BUSINESS WEEK, 3/8/1999)

On March 2, the U.S. Senate voted 99-0 to approve a bill to guarantee $500 million in emergency loans to help small businesses pay for their millennial computer repairs. Unfortunately, this magnanimous gesture may miss the boat -- small businesses that need the money must have it soon if they're to make repairs in time, but it could be mid-April before the bill becomes law. Couple that with the time it will take the SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION to establish procedures, it may be May or June before small-business owners get their hands on any cash. This could prove too late for some small concerns with large corporate clients. some of which have threatened to cut off suppliers by June or earlier, if they can't show they're adequately protected against the Y2K bug. The Senate had passed a version of the bill last year, but the legislation didn't clear the House. Public and legislator attitudes toward Y2K have changed dramatically since then, however, as evidenced by strong bipartisan interest during the March 2 "Y2K Day" in the Senate. (JG)

Link: http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/news/date/9903/e990308.htm


(Source: Dave McKinney, SUN-TIMES, 3/7/1999)

The State of Illinois is considering recommending that all residents put together Y2K "preparedness kits." The developments came as Gov. Ryan moved to get a tighter grip on the state's efforts to ready itself for potential Y2K computer problems. A report recently released by Ryan's office said only 16 of 64 state agencies are fully Y2K-compliant, and less than half had their most critical computer systems in compliance. The Illinois EMERGENCY SERVICES AGENCY (ESA) is preparing a response plan to present to Ryan on May 1 that may include a proposal for residents to have short-term "preparedness kits" on hand as the Year 2000 approaches, just as Illinoisans are encouraged to have such kits in their homes for the winter or spring storm seasons, ESA Director Mike Chamness said. The kits he envisions would include three days' worth of "nonperishable food, bottled water, a flashlight, a battery-operated radio, necessary medications." (JG)

Link: http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/comp07.html


(Source: Declan McCullagh, Y2KCULTURE.COM, 3/1/1999)

Senators Robert Bennett (R-Utah) and Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Senate's SPECIAL YEAR 2000 COMMITTEE, have taken to the talk show circuit to warn Americans to stockpile food and water. "It's not unwise for people to do a little stockpiling," Dodd advised on NBC's "Meet the Press." "This problem is real," echoed Bennett on CBS's "Face the Nation," claiming that rural electric companies are in the worst shape. "This will not be the end of the world as we know it. But we have to stay on top of it." This is a far cry from Bennett's comments at a Senate hearing last June, when he complained about "alarmists and extremists" who were overreacting to computer glitches. Since then, the official tide seems to have turned. During closed-door meetings of the White House's Y2K council, for instance, attendees began worrying about whether they should advise the public to make personal preparations. Government officials fret that if Americans are told to prepare, people would cash in their mutual funds and spark bank runs -- activities that could send the country into a recession or worse. The solution: advise just limited preparation. Bennett's latest advice, for instance, includes the admonition that there is no need to go as far as to buy electric generators or stockpile propane. (JG)

Link: http://www.y2kculture.com/politics/19990301.stockpiling.html


(Source: Tom Atlee, THE CO-INTELLIGENCE INSTITUTE, 3/12/1999)

Paloma O'Riley of the CASSANDRA PROJECT is hoping to produce a celebrity-voiced public service announcement (PSA) for widespread distribution in the U.S. to encourage the public to take Y2K seriously with responsible preparations. The Cassandra Project is looking to raise $13,000 to $35,000 for the project. Tom Atlee, founder of THE CO-INTELLIGENCE INSTITUTE in Oakland, CA considers the PSA so important that, in an attempt to stimulate activity, he is willing to match any donations up to $1000. He explains, "I am deeply concerned that community preparation is lagging...so I see supporting this PSA as an important part of my Y2K-related transformational work." Donations can be made to the Cassandra Project and are tax-exempt. (JG, DS)

Cassandra Project
P.O. Box 8
Louisville, CO 80027
Phone: (303) 664-5227
Website: http://www.CassandraProject.org

If you are interested in taking Atlee up on his offer, you can email him and let him know how much you have donated:

eMail: cii@igc.apc.org
Website: http://www.co-intelligence.org



(Source: Jo Pettitt, VUNET, 3/11/1999)

MICROSOFT's NT Terminal Server Edition (TSE) is under fire after the company admitted the product is still not Year 2000 compliant, despite having already issued a Y2K patch. TSE, which has faced a barrage of criticism from both analysts and users for its high licensing costs, was released noncompliant in mid-1998. Microsoft promised Year 2000 fixes first in September and then December, neither of which was delivered. According to Neil MacDonald, NT analyst at the GARTNERGROUP, Microsoft "quietly" posted a set of Year 2000 hot fixes for TSE in January this year, but has now admitted these were inadequate. "Further Year 2000-related problems have been discovered and that re-application of a complete set of fixes will be required." Many companies mistakenly believe that their deployments of TSE are already compliant.

Microsoft promises that TSE's Y2K compliance problems will be fixed with NT Service Pack 4 (SP4). A spokesperson for the company admitted that, while SP4 is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of this year, this "could slip," leaving limited time for users to complete their Y2K projects and testing. Simon Moores, Chairman of the NT user group commented: "With only nine months to go before the world collapses around our ears, Microsoft, more than anyone, has to be able to deliver Year 2000 fixes to a 99.99 percent level of confidence. If it can't, then mitigation ceases to be relevant, and it's time to start stocking up on canned food." (JG)

Link: http://webserv.vnunet.com/www_user/plsql/pkg_vnu_news.right_frame?p_story=78168


(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/10/1999)

Jan. 1 is the beginning of Israel's fiscal year, a time computer programs are routinely upgraded. Government computer experts decided this would be a good time to develop a Y2K-proof tax program. But the new software was not ready on time -- creating chaos in tax offices, which no longer had programs for updating files or generating the tax-deduction forms critical to determining workers' take-home pay. Without the tax-withholding forms, employers were required to withhold half of a worker's pay for income tax. Understandably, that led to an outcry from taxpayers, and tax collectors had no choice but to turn back the clock. "Instructions were given to clerks to issue handwritten permits," said Sarit Giladi-Dor, spokeswoman for the INCOME TAX AUTHORITY. For three months, copies of the scrawled forms have been piling up on the desks of 35 tax offices around the country, waiting to be entered into the computer. Tax advisers and accountants are often unable to even access their clients' files, said Jerusalem tax adviser Yitzhak Becker. Fortunately, the end of "Bug 99" is in sight -- a Y2K-friendly tax program has been successfully tested in four Israeli tax offices, and is slated to be installed nationwide by the end of March. (JG)

Link: http://www.y2ktoday.com/modules/home/default.asp?id=1044


(Source: CNN/ ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/8/1999)

Japan's government-run space development agency has announced it will suspend experiments aboard two unmanned satellites later in the year because of glitches related to the Year 2000 computer problem. On Nov. 28, 1997, Japan successfully launched "Vega" and "Altair" and conducted a series of experiments under zero gravity, including linking the pair of satellites last summer, the first ever such outer space maneuver conducted via remote control from Earth. The experiments were carried out in anticipation of the need for remote-controlled docking of supply shipments ferried by unmanned spacecraft to the space stations of the future. Additional experiments will be temporarily halted in late November. According to Yoichi Fujita of the NATIONAL SPACE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (NSDA), although the two orbiting satellites are free from the millennium bug, NSDA has yet to address the Y2K problem as it relates to control computers on the ground. (JG)

Link: http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9903/08/Japan-Satellite.ap/index.html


(Source: Stacy Collett, COMPUTERWORLD, 3/1/1999)

Just when you thought it was safe to enter the next century, disaster could be lurking in your network system. When AVICO INC. of Northbrook, Ill ran Year 2000 audits for 30 of its clients using a network audit and design software product from NETSUITE DEVELOPMENT CORP., it found Year 2000 problems in the infrastructure of all 30 companies -- half of them in spots the companies already had analyzed for Year 2000 compliance. In one case, an audit on the network a global bank in Chicago showed serious problems with its router configurations several months after the bank had completed its own Year 2000 system audits. "It could've taken down multiple levels of the bank because this was a higher-level router that was part of their global local area network (LAN) infrastructure," said Avico President Robert Schell.

The GARTNERGROUP has estimated that 60 percent of LANs that haven't been specifically upgraded to be year 2000-compliant contain components that aren't new enough to meet vendor Year 2000 guarantees, and about half of that equipment will suffer disruption on Jan. 1, 2000. Gartner alerted its clients last May to the potential danger of Year 2000 glitches in infrastructure, but many are in denial. Those who ignore their infrastructure face a serious threat, said Neil Rickard, a Gartner analyst: "On Jan. 1, your applications are compliant, but you can't reach any of them." (JG)

Link: http://www.computerworld.com/home/print.nsf/all/990301932A




After finding your site of so much interest, I could not but thank you for the work you are putting in. It has been very useful to me in keeping me up to date with the comings and goings, and I must confess it has pointed me in some very useful directions for the writing of my new book, "Surviving the Meltdown - Staying Alive in 2000 A.D." In the book, I have tried to give a balanced view of the likely outcomes of the bug. It is particularly relevant to European readers, where we don't have the same 'backwoods' culture that you do in the U.S. I've had one heck of a lot of newspaper, radio, and even TV interest in it, even though it doesn't come out until March 26. More details on the book are at <www.dlpcomms.demon.co.uk>. Keep up the good work!

James Carpenter
Tunbridge Wells, England



I have just finished reading how NHNE helped set up a Y2K Task Force in Sedona, Arizona to prepare yourselves and your town for the Y2K problem (NHNE Special Report: Y2K Visions & Visionaries, Jan. 3, 1999). The information is very well written and so thorough that those of us in Canton, where we are trying to organize a similar group, are very impressed, but at the same time almost overwhelmed. At first it was slow going here, as most people were either denying or ignoring the problem. Nevertheless, we took advantage of your hard work and used your guidelines, making new contacts every day with the Chamber of Commerce, public officials, the utility companies. The response is finally turning to the positive side and this past week we even heard from three neighboring cities -- Louisville, Magnolia, and Green. Thank you for your advice and common-sense approach.

Susan Eckard
Canton, Ohio


[The following post is in response to a request by Michael Pulsford of Adelaide for ideas of how he could rally his mixed community on the Y2K issue (Y2K Report 17).]


"I felt the same way as Michael Pulsford with my community. What I did was send out mailings to 25 of my neighbors, inviting them over to discuss Y2K issues. I was surprised how many people showed up. Several more called and asked for info because they were unable to attend the party. I was pleased to find out how many of them did not really understand what Y2K was all about and that they wanted to know more. Keep the party simple. Start with explaining what Y2K is and then go into possible scenarios, quoting Web articles and news reports, and not just your opinions. Then go into things people will need to prepare to ride out the bug, such as food, shelter, water, medical. Refreshments seem to help people loosen up and feel more comfortable. Go for it! You will be pleasantly surprised."

--- John Schnetzler, Silt, Colorado



By James Gregory

With uncharacteristic bipartisanship, the SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON THE YEAR 2000 TECHNOLOGY PROBLEM has produced the voluminous report, "Investigating the Impact of the Year 2000 Problem", that criticizes the slow progress of Y2K remediation in government and industry, and calls for preparation, triage and contingency plans (Y2K Reports 16 & 17). While acclaimed as "the canonical Y2K reference" and "likely be far more trusted than anything to come out of the PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION," the report, as expected, has received a lot of flack, especially from the parties it criticized.

Here are edited comments from a number of sources:

The NATIONAL RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION (NRECA): Issued a statement saying the Senate report "erred in its characterization of readiness efforts" of its constituents. Ron Greenhalgh, Chief Engineer for NRECA confirmed, "Electric cooperatives from all over the country have called in expressing amazement or disbelief at news reports calling into question electric reliability in rural areas."

The AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: Took issue with the Senate's use of old survey figures to raise concerns over possible disruptions in the availability of oil-based products, claiming the "latest survey of oil and natural gas companies shows that most firms are in the final stages of updating their computer programs." "The nation should not be alarmed by information that is not current," they concluded.

GROCERY MANUFACTURERS OF AMERICA and FOOD MARKETING INSTITUTE: Issued a joint press release designed to counter concerns raised in the Senate report. Press release included this statement from C. Manly Molpus, President and CEO of the GROCERY MANUFACTURERS OF AMERICA: "Bottom line, the preliminary results show the majority of food manufacturing companies have completed the correction of potential Y2K problems in their critical systems...and feel well prepared to deliver food to consumers when the new millennium arrives."

Y2K analyst Gary North: Calls the Senate report a "whitewash," but says the industry backlash is equally suspect, "It's an amazing fact: everyone says his industry is on track, but not one industry mentioned in the report has a single member that has announced compliance, let alone a year of testing. There is not one verified success story, yet every trade association is optimistic [and] confident."

Mitch Ratcliffe, Y2K analyst, ZDY2K: "The report suffers from overgeneralization, explaining, for example, that the power grid 'takes a high degree of automation' without quantifying the level of risk due to that automation."

Declan McCullagh, columnist, WIRED NEWS: "There is little new information, instead, it recaps the seemingly endless series of Senate hearings last year. Many of the chapters summarized second-hand reports. The GARTNERGROUP, a technology-consulting firm, is a main source of information on medical and international readiness. So are unnamed sources: 'One airport official has claimed that only one pipeline, supplies aviation fuel to most of the airports on the Eastern Seaboard,' the transportation chapter said. Wouldn't the statement be more powerful -- not to mention alarming -- if someone had checked to be sure?"

Bruce F. Webster, Chief Technical Officer of OBJECT SYSTEMS GROUP, Co-Chair of the Washington D.C. YEAR 2000 GROUP, author of "The Y2K Survival Guide": "While doing an outstanding job of summarizing the committee's research and findings in the sectors covered, the report, makes little attempt to integrate those findings into an overall picture, nor does it address the individual or collective impact of the Y2K problems for those sectors on the national economy. This is probably the single greatest weakness."

"I take serious issue with one comment in the executive summary: 'In general, large companies have dealt well with the Y2K problem, due to greater resources.' While large companies have certainly spent a lot of money on Y2K, most have started late and have watched budgets and
schedules constantly escalate."

"The report does not adequately address the likely consequences to the U.S. economy of significant Y2K issues in the oil industry. Note that the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 sent the whole world into a significant recession and caused U.S. unemployment to double. Also note that OPEC and all the other oil-producing countries would love some excuse to limit oil production and raise oil prices."

"The report cites GARTNERGROUP's contention that 30-50 percent of all companies worldwide will experience at least one mission-critical Y2K failure, and that time to repair it will last three days. This and related statements have been cited as evidence that critical unrepaired Y2K problems will probably be mostly fixed within 72 hours, and almost all will be fixed within the first week of January, 2000. I am uncomfortable with this chain of assertions and the conclusions drawn from them. I'm not sure the conclusions follow; I have seen Y2K-integrated testing in a controlled environment with remediated software drag on for weeks in an effort to chase down subtle interacting problems that shouldn't even have still been there. Y2K remediation post-Y2K will be, I believe, a far more drawn-out and troublesome task than this section might indicate."

For an excellent analysis of both the pros and cons of the Senate Y2K Report, see Bruce Webster's full article on his website: <http://www.bfwa.com>. (Sources: Mitch Ratcliffe, ZDY2K, 3/5/1999; Declan McCullagh, WIRED NEWS, 3/2/1999; Charlie Register, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 3/8/1999; Bruce F. Webster, Press Release, 3/3/1999, thanks to Douglass Carmichael)

Link: http://www.zdnet.com/enterprise/zdy2k/stories/0,6158,2221121,00.html

Link: http://www.wired.com/news/news/politics/story/18218.html

Link: http://y2ktimebomb.com/Washington/Congress/creg9910a.htm


(Source: Mike Fletcher, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 3/9/1999)

After the success of the First Global Y2K Summit last October in London, the Second Global Y2K Summit was organized in very short order for March 1-3 in Manila by the Philippine government, the INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE and THE WORLD INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES ASSOCIATION, as well as various corporate sponsors. There were over 20 speakers and 1,000 delegates representing 40 countries, most of them from the Pacific Rim.

Y2K analyst and attendee Mike Fletcher found the three days "useful and depressing." Depressing because, despite the satisfaction of opening people's eyes to the millennium bug problem and getting them moving on the necessary action and planning, Asian countries are generally very poorly prepared -- many still in a state of "Don't worry, be happy." There was barely a report from a country that didn't say they were doing well and would essentially make it. Yet Canada and the U.S. have been working on the Y2K problem for ten years, and even these governments admit there are areas where they know they won't be ready. Fletcher asks, "Am I just getting over-cynical to suggest that it is hard to believe that they have been suddenly outstripped by a government that only found out about the problem 18 months ago?"

One Japanese delegate was taken aback to see Japan classified by the GARTNERGROUP as Readiness Category 3, barely above developing countries who have done nothing. Unfortunately the Philippines falls into the fourth group. Says Fletcher, "It's very hard when you are asked by one of your hosts to tell them as honestly as possible what you think will happen in their country. Telling them that they will face considerable difficulties and that they are too late to do anything other than to undertake efficient contingency measures is not a polite response. The truth hurts."

Given the success of the first two and despite the lateness, Fletcher is pushing for a Third Global Summit in South America or Mexico in August or September. (JG)

Link: http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/Job/MF/job9910.htm


(Sources: NERC Website; Y2KNEWSWIRE, 3/4/1999, thanks to Ron Cornish)

A Y2K drill scheduled for April 9 by the electric industry appears to have been rigged in advance to result in a success story to instill public confidence. Discussion points from a Y2K drill preparation guide posted at the NORTH AMERICAN ELECTRIC RELIABILITY COUNCIL's (NERC) Website encourage electric utility companies to run through the drill ahead of time, avoid scheduling maintenance during the drill, and only test those systems they are confident will result in no problems.

The document, entitled "Y2K Drill Preparation Strategies," reveals that the outcome of the test has been determined ahead of time, with comments such as, "Do not make the drill too complex. We want to have a successful and meaningful story for publication;" "Verify that there are no real security issues during the time of the drill." The document also urges power companies to think about "what the final report will look like. Work backwards from this in the development of the drill procedures."

Each electric utility will be designing its own test, and is encouraged by NERC to test only those systems they want to, prompting Y2KNEWSWIRE to comment, "In statistics, this is called a self-selected sample set, and it renders any conclusion meaningless....It gives new life to
the all-important question of the compliance of the power industry: If Y2K isn't a problem, why do you need to rig the test?...On April 10, 1999, watch for a victory announcement by the power industry." (JG)

NERC Website:

Link: http://www.y2knewswire.com/19990304.htm



Matt Drudge of THE DRUDGE REPORT has learned that five stories below the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles there is a secret computer command center with enough power, food and water to sustain 50 people for two years. The bunker, named ATSAC (Automated Traffic Signal And Control), would become a high-tech command center used to monitor any civil unrest during a Y2K breakdown. In order to gain access to the ATSAC area you must pass through four bank-vault-style doors. Feeling and looking like a STAR TREK set, the work area has dozens of computer consoles, which will be powered by diesel fuel generators if power is cut, and one wall is filled with two rows of 40 large flat panel display screens that monitor views from remote-controlled cameras placed throughout the Los Angeles area. The bunker, built with local and federal tax revenue, is strictly off limits to the general public.

Less secret are Ohio's plans to move government operations into their own bunker at year's end -- just in case the Y2K computer problem turns serious. Ohio's EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER is in a $13 million concrete structure eight miles northwest of downtown Columbus. Built in 1994, "The Bunker" is one of the most sophisticated emergency management centers in the country. The high-security reinforced concrete building is surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, and has its own dormitories, water well, food, filtered air supply and power. State officials plan to start staffing the facility 12 hours a day on Dec. 29, and 24 hours a day from Dec. 31 until no longer necessary. Should a power plant or water utility fail, relief efforts can be coordinated from 12 feet underground. The Executive Director of the OHIO EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, James Williams, is no doomsayer: "This is not a panic situation....If nothing happens, we can go home and watch football." The state has no plans to mobilize the NATIONAL GUARD in advance, but if there is a crisis, it could be done quickly. (JG)

Link: http://www.drudgereport.com

Link: http://enquirer.com/editions/1999/03/08/loc_bunker_ready_in_case.html


(Source: Jocelyn Amon, IDG, 1/25/1999)

Given the complexity of the Y2K issues relating to devices containing embedded systems, Y2K analyst Jocelyn Amon has chosen to look at the problem from the perspective of something familiar to most of us: the humble washing machine. Here are some edited excerpts from her recent article:

"I've frequently read that 'if it doesn't need to know the date then it can't have a Y2K problem.' As we all know, a washing machine has no need of a date and, therefore, the notion that it could possibly be affected by Y2K sounds ludicrous. However, Y2K immunity is not always guaranteed in such cases."

"Embedded systems are the 'brain' of any device. They can be as simple as a single chip which controls a very straightforward function or they can be as complex as a control panel consisting of microcontrollers, microprocessors, a real time clock (RTC), a long life battery and other componentry. My washing machine would definitely require more functionality than a single microcontroller could provide, but it would not need to be as complex as a VCR."

"Embedded systems are often programmed by third-party companies, who, to save costs, may use a 'one size fits all' base program to which the manufacturer's requirements are added. This base code may have a calendar function built in 'just in case.' In most cases, how [the source code] actually achieves the end result is of no interest to anyone but the programmer. Those adding their layer to an embedded system might not understand how it will finally be deployed and devices may be adapted for a purpose which was originally never intended. The original source code used and the record of various adjustments may be lost. All this makes it very difficult for anyone to know for sure what is actually occurring within many embedded systems."

"Therefore, my washing machine could contain a calendar function and, because of this, it could be susceptible to the Y2K bug. For a Y2K bug to be activated, my washing machine must be continuously powered long enough for the year value to move from the start-up date to the Year 2000. For some embedded systems, the start-up year can be as late as 1992. Therefore my washing machine must be [connected to a uninterrupted source of power] for a minimum of eight years for a Y2K failure to occur. This would be very unlikely to occur; however, it is not uncommon for embedded systems to have their own alternative power supply, usually a lithium battery."

"Any failure occurring in a device that has no requirement for a date is unlikely to happen on January 1, 2000, as it is very unlikely that it would have ever been set to the correct date. For testing purposes, however, embedded systems may be set to the current date at the time of manufacture, so failure occurring on the actual day cannot be completely ruled out."

"I have established that there is a very slight possibility of my washing machine failing or functioning incorrectly on January 1, 2000. However, I consider the main threat to my washing machine's viability to be a failure of the power transmission systems. The power industry is reliant on thousands of embedded systems, many of which do have a calendar function and which keep track of the current date. A certain percentage of these will have Y2K compliance problems." (JG)

Link: http://www.idg.co.nz/wwwfeat/Y2000/ja250199.htm




Y2K is the harbinger of profound change, impacting us on all levels, from the physical to the spiritual, from the personal to the global. "Y2K: The Opportunity of a Lifetime: A workshop for Inner Preparedness," provides the tools, processes and nurturing environment to assist you in bringing forward your unique gifts and contribution during this crucial transition in human history, and -- if you choose -- empowering others to do the same. Topics include: exploring the meaning of Y2K; uncovering visions of the emerging future; understanding Y2K as a "Rorschach Test"; identifying underlying Y2K fears; moving beyond fear and reaction to creative response; living with radical uncertainty; learning to create by design; dealing with "Y2K burnout;" connecting with your unique gifts; recovering your creative knowledge; designing your personal Y2K legacy; developing your Y2K action plan; discovering your community of co-creators. Michael Brownlee and Marie Hanthorn will be the facilitators. (DS)

Friday, March 19/Saturday, March 20
Viscount Suites Hotel
4855 East Broadway
Tucson, Arizona
Workshop Fee: $65

For more information:
Phone: (520) 615-1449
Fax: (520) 615-0018
eMail: options@optionsforgrowth.com


(Source: Halim Dunsky, NORTHWEST REGIONAL FACILITATORS, 3/8/1999)

On April 8, 1999, NORTHWEST REGIONAL FACILITATORS and WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY present the second Resilient Communities videoconference, bringing together Cynthia Beal, an international advocate for community preparedness and futurist Robert Theobald to provide common-sense advice about food and water storage, electricity concerns, and the availability of money and medicine. The program will also address the need for spiritual resiliency during this turbulent time as well as how higher levels of sustainability can emerge from the immediate requirements posed by Y2K challenges.

On January 22, 1999, the first of the three-part series brought together Robert Theobald and author and noted Y2K commentator, Margaret Wheatley, who looked at shifting global dynamics and discussed new forms of leadership needed for the new millennium.

On May 27, the final program will link those who have been working in communities across North America and enable them to share their experiences and explore the tools and approaches that have been most successful in inviting people to a leaderful society.

For information about becoming a site coordinator contact:

Amanda Butcher
Phone: (509) 448-6733
eMail: amandab@nrf.org

For information about registration contact:

Nancy Sanders
Phone: (509) 335-2929
eMail: sandersn@wsu.edu

Resilient Communities Website: http://www.resilientcommunities.org


(Source: Barb Cole-Gomolski, COMPUTERWORLD, 03/08/1999)

A group of health care giants, including AETNA INC., SMITHKLINE BEECHAM and HIGHMARK BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD, have unveiled a plan that could keep hospitals functioning if the millennium bug disrupts their systems. The recommendations are available for free on the Web and via industry groups, and are expected to be adopted by much of the health care industry. The plan, developed under the auspices of ODIN GROUP, a Nashville research firm, includes guidelines such as how hospitals can order medications if their computerized supply systems aren't working, how they can be paid if insurers can't cut computerized checks, tips for establishing alternate operating procedures with trading partners, an assessment of the top 150 functions related to Year 2000 compliance and patient safety, and case studies detailing recommended approaches if systems fail. "We are assuming that a certain amount of failure will occur, and [we] are trying to get the health care industry to think about contingency plans," says Brad Armstrong, a partner with initiative member DELOITTE CONSULTING. The health care industry has come under fire recently as being late starting and ill prepared for the Year 2000. Says Dick Hutsell, information officer at CATHOLIC HEALTHCARE WEST, which manages a network of 48 hospitals, "A lot of hospitals are just starting to think about contingency plans, so anything that might help them is good." (JG)

Odin alternate operating procedures (in PDF Format, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader): http://www.odin-group.com

Link: http://www.computerworld.com/home/print.nsf/all/99030895B2


(Source: Mark Jones, COMPUTERWORLD, 3/12/1999)

NOVELL AUSTRALIA is hoping the promise of free network software and rising Y2K concerns will propel its products into the hands of a new customer base. The company announced it now offers up to five user licenses of Netware for Small Business 4.2 absolutely free to Australian customers. Valued at about $2,500 per pack, the product is designed to offer small business users PC networking software, Internet access, remote access services, and faxing and backup software. According to spokesman Cliff Smith, Novel's motivation is quite straightforward: many small to medium businesses are currently looking at Y2K solutions and considering improving their Internet access, which for Novell spells "opportunity"." The product is available from selected Novell partners until June 30, 1999. (JG)

Link: http://www2.idg.com.au/CWT1997.nsf/09e1552169f2a5dcca25646


(Source: DCI, 3/10/1999)

MICROSOFT has unveiled the latest phase in its ambitious plan to help its customers identify and fix Year 2000 problems in its desktop software products. The initiative encompasses a wide range of products and services, including a product analyzer, three plug-ins to fix Y2K
problems in Excel spreadsheets and several information services, including a free bi-weekly mailing list of Y2K product and information updates. There will also be an upgrade to the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0. By far the hottest item expected to be released this quarter is a free inventory-cum-analysis tool designed to check users' hard disks for Microsoft software and compare it with Microsoft's Year 2000 compliance database. If the analyzer finds any software that requires upgrades or patches, it will provide convenient URL links for downloading them. This free utility is available on Microsoft's free quarterly Year 2000 Resource CD as well as on the Microsoft Year 2000 Website. The website already contains "free patches and hot fixes" for many Microsoft products, including the recently-released Windows 98 patch that fixes "minor" flaws in the popular operating system. (JG)

Microsoft Year 2000 Website:

Link: http://year2000.dci.com/Articles/990310microsoft.htm


(Source: Susan Smith Hendrickson, SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH STRATEGIES, 3/8/1999)

If you've been thinking about hiring a consultant to help you with your Y2K computer problems, try putting your tax dollars to work first. The NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY (NIST) is giving away free Y2K software to help small businesses conduct an equipment inventory, rate which business systems are essential to surviving Y2K problems and develop contingency plans. The software can be downloaded at: <http://www.y2khelp.nist.gov>. In conjunction with the software, NIST has also operates a toll-free Y2K Help Center: (800) 925-7557. (JG)

Link: http://www.amcity.com/sanfrancisco/stories/1999/03/08/smallb2.html



(Source: COMPUTERWORLD, 03/01/1999)

In Decatur, GA, three fire department supervisors lost their jobs when technicians testing their computers for Y2K compliance found sexually explicit material apparently downloaded from the Internet. The city's sexual-harassment policy prohibits such material in the workplace. (JG)

Link: http://www.computerworld.com/home/print.nsf/all/990301941A



The stories in this week's NHNE Y2K Report were drawn, in part, from the following news sources:




Sheri Nakken (Y2K NETWORK):



Copyright 1999 by NewHeavenNewEarth

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