Y2K watch turns to Monday

Other than small glitches, we've survived Y2K. But now attention turns to Monday, when the world returns to work.

Other than a few minor inconveniences, the Y2K bug has been a no-show in the new year. But a new Y2K watch begins as the world returns to work Monday.

The Y2K bug temporarily stopped the supply of warm water and the operation of Korean-style hot air “ondol” floor heaters at 902 households at a high-rise apartment complex on the outskirts of Seoul from midnight Saturday, South Korean officials said.

The trouble in the province of Kyonggi is regarded as the world’s first large-scale disturbance to many people’s lives and is believed to have been caused by a Y2K-related malfunction of the complex’s computer control system.

Engineers conducted emergency repairs and the floor heater was restarted Saturday evening. The warm-water supply was also restarted Sunday morning.

The warm-water supply and floor heaters were functioning normally by Sunday evening as the computer control system was replaced with a Y2K-compatible model, the officials said.

The computer system, which was installed about a decade ago, was not updated to be Y2K-compliant.

Problems with heart monitoring equipment in Swedish hospitals were one of the few signs of the millennium bug biting elsewhere as computer experts prepared for the reopening of major financial markets and businesses.

Electrocardiograph machines at the main hospital in Uppsala, north of Stockholm, and at regional hospitals in Karlstad and Linkoping, stopped working, although a spokeswoman told the Svenska Dagbladet daily patients’ safety was not threatened.

Newfound wealth: $6 million
In Germany, a salesman who logged into his home banking computer account found a malfunction had inflated his wealth to more than 12 million marks ($6.2 million)— as of December 30, 1899. But it was unclear this was due to the millennium bug.

The Pentagon said Saturday that a failure in a ground-based system prevented officials from handling information from some U.S. intelligence satellites for a few hours on Friday night. France said one of its defense satellite systems lost the ability to detect equipment failures.

A computer linked to radiation monitoring systems seized up at Japanese nuclear power plant and door locks sealing off sensitive areas refused to open at nuclear plants in Arkansas and Spain.

Such problems were few and far between. Across the world, markets, telecommunications and other infrastructure officials reported all systems were go.

Even countries where chaos and disruption can be daily ordeals reported plain sailing.

Venezuela, engulfed by deadly mudslides and floods earlier this month, said its oil industry operations were working normally. So were oil operations in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation where experts feared its chaotic infrastructure would buckle.

The small stock exchanges of Egypt and Bangladesh opened today without any problems.

A good Y2K day
"It's been a good Y2K day for the world...but it's far too early to declare victory" said U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson on Saturday.

John Koskinen, President Clinton's top Y2K trouble-shooter, told reporters: "By sometime on Tuesday, we'll have a pretty good idea of where we are in the United States."

Koskinen said it would take an extra day or two after that ''before we can start to close the books on Y2K for the world.'' But in the short-term, Koskinen added that he was "pleasantly surprised" at the lack of disruptions from the computer bug as of early Saturday morning in the U.S.

Of continuing concern were possible hidden Y2K glitches that could foul up management systems and gradually erode performance as businesses reopen next week, officials said.

Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater reported a smooth transition for U.S. aviation, railroads, maritime traffic and pipeline systems after midnight Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the standard on which transportation operates.

A few confused clocks
Electric industry officials said a few confused clocks were the only problems reported in the North American electricity grid.

"Three clocks timed to run on Greenwich Mean Time had a problem ... but this had no effect on power supply or power operations,'' said Jerry Cauley, a spokesman for the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC).

Richardson said nuclear facilities in Russia and the rest of the world had successfully crossed into the new year with no reported computer glitches.

Experts had expected to see problems surface in parts of Asia and in Russia, but as the dateline rolled across the globe, there were no significant reports of incidents related to the Y2K computer bug.

"Everything is okay. Everything is as it was. There are no failures, everything is working," an officer at the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces' main command bunker told Reuters by telephone.

The Russian reports followed a string of non-events in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, India and other nations.

Some ZDNN readers were quick to blame the media for overhyping the Y2K threat.

"This situation would not have occurred if the stupid media would have stopped the over-hype of the situation and just report it as any other news story," wrote Dave C from Pittsburgh, in a ZDNN story TalkBack. "ZDnet is just as bad at the over-hype also with at least one 'what could happen' story a day on their site."

But others said there were many Y2K bugs -- they just got caught in time. "... Y2K bug testing within my corporation did reveal major bugs within older legacy systems that relate to the factory floor," wrote Jeff F. "We simulated the date rollover and some of our systems died on the spot. Y2K was not hype, and the efforts of IT professionals to erradicate/allieviate the disaster is appreciated, at least within my company."

So far, so good
While nobody's yet declaring the digital equivalent of peace in our time, a pattern of cautious optimism is spreading around the globe.

"The power is on, the phones work, my ISP is still functioning, and my police scanner indicates no problems downtown. Just a few drunks," offered one woman from Auckland, New Zealand in a posting on one Internet news group tracking Y2K. "So far, so good."

Many observers had pointed to rapidly industrializing nations in Asia as potential trouble spots, but those fears failed to materialize, according to wire reports and to ZDNN readers posting in our Y2K forums. From Kuala Lumpur, Awalludin Ramlee wrote that despite rain, the party was continuing there. And in Malaysia, other than traffic jams "all's well over here," wrote B.H. Tan, an MIS manager there. "No power outage. Telecommunications up and running."

Those comments echoed what recurred in country after country, starting with New Zealand, the world's "canary in a coalmine." Because of its time zone, many international industries and organizations had looked to New Zealand for possible impacts from the computer software weakness that could see systems unable to recognize the date when it rolls over to January 1, 2000.

The biggest problem in New Zealand seemed to come from human nature, as much of the general population appeared to have left their run for emergency supplies for the last minute. But as the day passed quietly, it seemed to encourage revelers to turn out, with huge crowds celebrating the arrival of the new year in London, New York and elsewhere.

Russian nukes OK
Meanwhile, Russian authorities said nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons systems alike had passed the Y2K test without incident.

Similarly, major telephone, power and water providers in Japan, Italy, France and Britain reported no issues in service related to the Y2K issue.

Tech war rooms 'bored'
Meanwhile, the World Information Technology and Services Alliance said it had not received reports of major Y2K-related glitches, though global high-tech group said that "several" of its member associations in 39 countries reported higher-than-usual activity in help desk and technical service requests.

In the U.S., major high-tech companies who had set up command centers to deal with potential Y2K-related computer failures and malicious hack attacks found their staffs bored.

"We've got nothing but smooth sailing," said a spokesman for Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), the largest software company, which had 6,000 staffers working at centers around the world.

Intel (Nasdaq:INTC), the leading chipmaker with large operations in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, said it has monitored its global installations intensely through the day, with "no significant issues," said spokesman Bill Calder.

"It's been quite, quite calm in the Y2K command center," reported Brad Whitworth of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HWP). "It's been quiet through the night, and it looks like we're going to have a much quieter weekend than most of us expected."

"All the preparation work that has gone on has apparently worked," said Kathy Fithen, manager the coordination center of CERT, the Computer Emergency Response Center at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. "All seems to be going well around the world. We're getting less calls than normal."

Reuters and Sm@rt Reseller's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols contributed to this story. Other than a few minor inconveniences, the Y2K bug has been a no-show in the new year. But a new Y2K watch begins as the world returns to work Monday.

The Y2K bug temporarily stopped the supply of warm water and the operation of Korean-style hot air “ondol” floor heaters at 902 households at a high-rise apartment complex on the outskirts of Seoul from midnight Saturday, South Korean officials said.

The trouble in the province of Kyonggi is regarded as the world’s first large-scale disturbance to many people’s lives and is believed to have been caused by a Y2K-related malfunction of the complex’s computer control system.

Engineers conducted emergency repairs and the floor heater was restarted Saturday evening. The warm-water supply was also restarted Sunday morning.

The warm-water supply and floor heaters were functioning normally by Sunday evening as the computer control system was replaced with a Y2K-compatible model, the officials said.

The computer system, which was installed about a decade ago, was not updated to be Y2K-compliant.

Problems with heart monitoring equipment in Swedish hospitals were one of the few signs of the millennium bug biting elsewhere as computer experts prepared for the reopening of major financial markets and businesses.

Electrocardiograph machines at the main hospital in Uppsala, north of Stockholm, and at regional hospitals in Karlstad and Linkoping, stopped working, although a spokeswoman told the Svenska Dagbladet daily patients’ safety was not threatened.

Newfound wealth: $6 million
In Germany, a salesman who logged into his home banking computer account found a malfunction had inflated his wealth to more than 12 million marks ($6.2 million)— as of December 30, 1899. But it was unclear this was due to the millennium bug.

The Pentagon said Saturday that a failure in a ground-based system prevented officials from handling information from some U.S. intelligence satellites for a few hours on Friday night. France said one of its defense satellite systems lost the ability to detect equipment failures.

A computer linked to radiation monitoring systems seized up at Japanese nuclear power plant and door locks sealing off sensitive areas refused to open at nuclear plants in Arkansas and Spain.

Such problems were few and far between. Across the world, markets, telecommunications and other infrastructure officials reported all systems were go.

Even countries where chaos and disruption can be daily ordeals reported plain sailing.

Venezuela, engulfed by deadly mudslides and floods earlier this month, said its oil industry operations were working normally. So were oil operations in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation where experts feared its chaotic infrastructure would buckle.

The small stock exchanges of Egypt and Bangladesh opened today without any problems.

A good Y2K day
"It's been a good Y2K day for the world...but it's far too early to declare victory" said U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson on Saturday.

John Koskinen, President Clinton's top Y2K trouble-shooter, told reporters: "By sometime on Tuesday, we'll have a pretty good idea of where we are in the United States."

Koskinen said it would take an extra day or two after that ''before we can start to close the books on Y2K for the world.'' But in the short-term, Koskinen added that he was "pleasantly surprised" at the lack of disruptions from the computer bug as of early Saturday morning in the U.S.

Of continuing concern were possible hidden Y2K glitches that could foul up management systems and gradually erode performance as businesses reopen next week, officials said.

Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater reported a smooth transition for U.S. aviation, railroads, maritime traffic and pipeline systems after midnight Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the standard on which transportation operates.

A few confused clocks
Electric industry officials said a few confused clocks were the only problems reported in the North American electricity grid.

"Three clocks timed to run on Greenwich Mean Time had a problem ... but this had no effect on power supply or power operations,'' said Jerry Cauley, a spokesman for the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC).

Richardson said nuclear facilities in Russia and the rest of the world had successfully crossed into the new year with no reported computer glitches.

Experts had expected to see problems surface in parts of Asia and in Russia, but as the dateline rolled across the globe, there were no significant reports of incidents related to the Y2K computer bug.

"Everything is okay. Everything is as it was. There are no failures, everything is working," an officer at the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces' main command bunker told Reuters by telephone.

The Russian reports followed a string of non-events in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, India and other nations.

Some ZDNN readers were quick to blame the media for overhyping the Y2K threat.

"This situation would not have occurred if the stupid media would have stopped the over-hype of the situation and just report it as any other news story," wrote Dave C from Pittsburgh, in a ZDNN story TalkBack. "ZDnet is just as bad at the over-hype also with at least one 'what could happen' story a day on their site."

But others said there were many Y2K bugs -- they just got caught in time. "... Y2K bug testing within my corporation did reveal major bugs within older legacy systems that relate to the factory floor," wrote Jeff F. "We simulated the date rollover and some of our systems died on the spot. Y2K was not hype, and the efforts of IT professionals to erradicate/allieviate the disaster is appreciated, at least within my company."

So far, so good
While nobody's yet declaring the digital equivalent of peace in our time, a pattern of cautious optimism is spreading around the globe.

"The power is on, the phones work, my ISP is still functioning, and my police scanner indicates no problems downtown. Just a few drunks," offered one woman from Auckland, New Zealand in a posting on one Internet news group tracking Y2K. "So far, so good."

Many observers had pointed to rapidly industrializing nations in Asia as potential trouble spots, but those fears failed to materialize, according to wire reports and to ZDNN readers posting in our Y2K forums. From Kuala Lumpur, Awalludin Ramlee wrote that despite rain, the party was continuing there. And in Malaysia, other than traffic jams "all's well over here," wrote B.H. Tan, an MIS manager there. "No power outage. Telecommunications up and running."

Those comments echoed what recurred in country after country, starting with New Zealand, the world's "canary in a coalmine." Because of its time zone, many international industries and organizations had looked to New Zealand for possible impacts from the computer software weakness that could see systems unable to recognize the date when it rolls over to January 1, 2000.

The biggest problem in New Zealand seemed to come from human nature, as much of the general population appeared to have left their run for emergency supplies for the last minute. But as the day passed quietly, it seemed to encourage revelers to turn out, with huge crowds celebrating the arrival of the new year in London, New York and elsewhere.

Russian nukes OK
Meanwhile, Russian authorities said nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons systems alike had passed the Y2K test without incident.

Similarly, major telephone, power and water providers in Japan, Italy, France and Britain reported no issues in service related to the Y2K issue.

Tech war rooms 'bored'
Meanwhile, the World Information Technology and Services Alliance said it had not received reports of major Y2K-related glitches, though global high-tech group said that "several" of its member associations in 39 countries reported higher-than-usual activity in help desk and technical service requests.

In the U.S., major high-tech companies who had set up command centers to deal with potential Y2K-related computer failures and malicious hack attacks found their staffs bored.

"We've got nothing but smooth sailing," said a spokesman for Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), the largest software company, which had 6,000 staffers working at centers around the world.

Intel (Nasdaq:INTC), the leading chipmaker with large operations in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, said it has monitored its global installations intensely through the day, with "no significant issues," said spokesman Bill Calder.

"It's been quite, quite calm in the Y2K command center," reported Brad Whitworth of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HWP). "It's been quiet through the night, and it looks like we're going to have a much quieter weekend than most of us expected."

"All the preparation work that has gone on has apparently worked," said Kathy Fithen, manager the coordination center of CERT, the Computer Emergency Response Center at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. "All seems to be going well around the world. We're getting less calls than normal."

Reuters and Sm@rt Reseller's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols contributed to this story.