A little change of pace

Today, October 1st, is the last major pre-Y2K critical date. Computers in the federal government roll over into Fiscal Year 2000, beginning to process budgets (still unapproved), benefits, tax payments, and many other records that reach into the next calendar year.

Today, October 1st, is the last major pre-Y2K critical date. Computers in the federal government roll over into Fiscal Year 2000, beginning to process budgets (still unapproved), benefits, tax payments, and many other records that reach into the next calendar year. And, as usual, nothing will happen.

This is significant, because these systems should be generating noticeable errors by now. How, pray tell, does a Y2K-noncompliant system that, for instance, calculate how much a government agency will be spending through Sept. 30, 2000 without an error? But, they appear to be working, don't they. By the time you read this, federal IT managers will likely have sat up through the night watching for anomalies in their digital charges, and any errors will be corrected or, perhaps, reported in the press.

Now, with all the critical dates passed, ZDY2K will turn to a series of reports that provide scenarios that describe the Y2K date rollover for critical industries. These "What Will Happen" reports begin today, with our examination of the banking industry.

These reports are speculative, of course. They strive to describe what will happen, given the facts that we know, the contingency plans and support systems in place to shore up problems, whether they are Y2K-related or not.

Daily Fix will continue to provide occasional comments on the news and events leading up to Y2K, but the blush is off this subject. There's just not much more to say that hasn't been said, is there?

Consider the announcement Thursday that one-third of the computers at Russia's Gazprom, the state gas company and largest natural gas provider to Europe, were not Y2K compliant. The headlines suggest this is the current situation, when it turns out that this was the case at some point, which is not clear from the reports. Gazprom is replacing 3,300 systems and repairing the others. They'll get some of this project done in time, and some systems will not be ready - but, because critical systems will be repaired first, the gas will flow reliably. You don't believe me, but every critical date has passed without 100 percent compliance, demonstrating that not all computers must be ready for Y2K in order to ensure reliable delivery of goods and services.

You'll see. And that's all I can say. There will be a raft of half-reported and sensational stories about ill-prepared companies and governments, the lack of data, and so on. It will all sound worse than it is, and all we can do is argue about it. Why the hell should we waste the energy, we should conserve it for when the power goes out on January 1, right?

So, we'll look at What Will Happen, and save Daily Fix energy for important stuff.

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