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Thu Feb 4 09:25:57 MST 1999

Netsavers Software Newsletter, Vol. 38: 02/03/99
Y2K Update - 02/03/1999
by Craig Stevens, EE
Y2K Problem Is in Various States of Repair
Monday, February 1, 1999

    According to a survey by the General Accounting Office conducted in
November, two thirds of the 421 computer systems used by the states to
manage seven federal welfare programs were reported as NOT Y2K

    Not compliant: 84%

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
    Not compliant: 75%

    Food stamps
    Not compliant: 76%

    Child suppport enforcement
    Not compliant: 62%

    Women, Infants and Children
    Not compliant: 62%

    Child care
    Not compliant: 44%

    Child welfare programs
    Not compliant: 49%

    Source: "Year 2000 Computing Crisis," U.S. General Accounting Office

Robert Poe, who is in charge of Alaska's computers, needs $18 million
to tackle the 89 critical computer systems that are now vulnerable in
some degree to the millennium bug. But in a state with a $1-billion
deficit and a Legislature that has already turned down one year 2000
budget request, he
is facing an uphill battle.

"The problem is just getting people to focus," he said. "If you live in
the bush, all you care about is your snow machine, your four-wheeler,
riverboat and your rifle. The rest is kind of unrelated to your daily

With less than a year to go before Jan. 1, 2000, Alaska is one of
several states that have fallen behind in the race against the
millennium bug. Many of these lagging states are limping along in their
repair efforts, often short of funds, direction and support.

These states form a weak spot in the technological web that radiates
from the mammoth central systems of the federal government. While most
of the attention has been focused on the repair of such heavyweight
federal systems as defense and air traffic control, it is the states
that deal with services that touch close to home, including unemployment
insurance, food stamps, Medicaid, welfare and disability.

The problems of the states raise the unsettling prospect that even if
the federal government completely repairs its critical systems, the
delivery of important services could still be disrupted by the weak link
of the states and the counties and cities below them.

The potential problems included overpayments to recipients,
under-payments, delayed payments and denied benefits. In addition, a
year 2000 failure could make the state unable to add new recipients and
determine benefits for new applicants.

An examination of counties and cities reveals an even more erratic
portrait of preparedness. According to a random survey of 500 U.S.
counties in November by the National Assn. of Counties, nearly half have
no countywide plans for repairing the computer glitch, allowing each of
their agencies to deal with the problem on their own. Out of the 500
counties, 23 have not even taken the most basic step of assessing
whether their systems are vulnerable to a year 2000 problem!

Group won't publicize year 2000 ratings
c.1999 N.Y. Times News Service
An international group of banks, securities firms and insurers has
its controversial plan to publicly rate the year 2000 computer readiness
the world's major trading nations.

Critics of the organization, which is known as the Global 2000
Group, had feared that the rating plan would ignite a flight of capital
from low-rated nations that could make it harder to head off year 2000
computer problems. The group dropped its plan on Friday, after a
three-day meeting in London.

The influential 250-member group, which meets every six weeks, first
announced its intention to rate more than 30 nations at a U.N. meeting
December. The criticism came from federal regulators, some developing
nations and some of the group's own members.

The group had gathered information about the year 2000 readiness of
nations. On Friday, it said it now planned to share that information
the United Nations and the Joint Year 2000 Council, an international
coordinating committee.
Your Money ... will you be able to get at it?
While banking and financial executives expect their systems to be
functioning, they acknowledge that troubles could arise in the many
systems that link the nation's financial network.

Already, issuers of credit and debit cards have been warning consumers
technology glitches caused by the Y2K problem could mean that cards
not be accepted at all locations.

But those computer glitches can happen today, not just in the Year 2000.

And typically, the card issuer wants such cases reported so that it can
help the merchant whose technology is not Y2K-compliant.

The Federal Reserve Bank plans to print more cash late in 1999, largely
meet the expected demand. But having greenbacks to supplement the
plastic is not the only task at hand for consumers who want to steer
clear of Y2K problems. A host of ordinary financial tasks - the kind of
things consumers routinely put off - are worth doing this year ... just
in case.

Those steps include:
Updating financial records.
Have a paper listing of all investment accounts, credit cards, and other

financial obligations, including account numbers, payment addresses, and

amounts due or deposited. And make paper copies of your last three tax

If your personal computer gets bitten, these records enable you to make
payments on time and maintain your good name. If your financial
gets hit, they prove your account.

Getting a copy of your credit report.
Many computerized companies report to credit agencies, and some
believe this could be a big Y2K trouble spot. To avoid problems, get a
of your credit report now and clear up any erroneous information. Then
another copy late in the year; this version should not only be correct,
it will help you reconstruct any problems that might be caused by the
millennium bug.

Getting a benefits statement from Social Security.
Many Y2K forecasters are worried about the government's computer
Do a check-up on your most important government account by getting a
Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement, a year-by-year breakdown of
wages and the Social Security taxes paid into the program.

Consider spreading your money around.

Because no one can be 100 percent certain that the new year will arrive
without problems, this might be a good time to consider diversifying
whom you do business. It may not be necessary, but it's certainly not
medicine against a computer glitch knocking one firm off-line.

This, along with a little extra spending cash, should help you maintain
access to sufficient funds so that the Y2K adjustment period is not a
Will GPS Fail?
The Global Positioning System (GPS) has a date "roll-over problem" in
than seven months. How bad might this problem be to the military and to
civilian users worldwide?

GPS is a military system that allows users on the earth to determine
location and time with great precision. Airborne users can also
altitude. GPS tells soldiers, airplanes and ships exactly where they are

and is also used for the precision guidance of missiles and bombs. Such
information has great value to military forces. GPS was widely hailed,
example, as one of the key technologies that contributed to our military

victory over Iraq in the Persian Gulf War.

One unusual aspect of GPS is that this single system and its services
available with high precision to military users and, with reduced
to non-military users worldwide. Commercial users employ GPS to locate
continuously track airplanes, trucks, taxicabs, buses, railroad cars,

GPS Time is also used commercially. Banks, for example, use the time
signals to keep track of the precise occurrence of very large financial
transactions where even a few minutes worth of interest can amount to
substantial sums. Electrical utilities use GPS Time for the delicate
task of synchronizing electrical power from two different sources. The
system also enjoys widespread recreational use by campers, hikers,
hunters, and fisherman.

Experts believe that the "Space Segment" of GPS should hold up ok during

Y2K rollover, but, the "Ground Segment", on the other hand, is neither
Y2K compliant nor End Of Week (EOW) compliant. The repair efforts are
apparently underway, however.

The "User Segment" is in the WORST shape because anyone can manufacture
GPS receivers, and, as in any industry, some of the GPS receiver
have excellent engineering staffs but some do not.

Some poorly designed GPS receivers are not properly programmed to
compensate for the EOW rollover. These receivers will begin giving
incorrect position information on August 22, 1999. They will also
provide flawed GPS Time - the week counter will be wrong but the seconds
in the week will be correct.

How widespread is the problem? No one really knows because only a few
manufacturers have publicly announced their EOW status. Older systems
(those manufactured prior to 1994) are more likely to experience the
problem but all systems should be considered suspect until cleared by
their manufacturers or tested with the use of satellite simulators.
Free Y2K Hardware TEST for Your Computer
The best computer Hardware FIX for the Y2k problem, is to install a Y2K
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More Free Software!

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Thank You, surf well!
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