Y2K could still cause problems Monday

Year 2000 computer compliance problems fell far short of calamity as thenew year dawned around the world Friday, but industry and governmentofficials warn watch out for Monday, Jan. 3.

"The stresses on systems have been minimal because it's a holiday," saidHarris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association ofAmerica. When the world goes back to work on Monday—while it is stillSunday in the United States—"there could be some hidden problems thatwere not recognized or diagnosed."

The news is good now, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said as midnightapproached Dec. 31, but problems could still crop up "in the next few daysand weeks."

For the airline industry, 7 p.m. was the "magic hour," said TransportationSecretary Rodney Slater. That's when the new year arrived in Greenwich MeanTime, the time on which the aviation industry operates. The hour passedwithout incident. "But we still must remain vigilant as America goes backto work after the holidays," he said.

Still, the relative absence of computer problems here and abroad was arelief. "I have been pleasantly surprised. I didn't expect major problems,but I expected more reports of power outages and telecommunicationsproblems," Miller said.

Instead of a hectic night of trouble shooting for national andinternational corporate members, Miller said he was having a late eveningdinner at home with friends.

The ITAA received updates from its members around the world, and sometechnology companies reported receiving more calls than usual to help desksand 800-technical-support numbers, an ITAA spokeswoman said.

But by early evening it became evident there would be few problems. ITAAmembers from as far away as Zimbabwe were reporting few problems.

Some parking meters in Iceland stopped accepting prepaid tokens. Cashregisters at small retail stores in Great Britain stopped accepting certainbank cards. A South Korea court ordered people to report Jan. 4,1900. And hundreds of slot machines at Delaware racetracks stoppedoperating.

The ITAA will continue monitoring computer systems for year 2000 complianceproblems through the coming week, Miller said.

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