Beyond the millennium bug
Lacking trouble from the date change, federal officials emphasized other
benefits from the massive effort to make computers safe for the new century.
Year 2000 czar John Koskinen said on Jan. 3 that as much as $10 billion
may have been spent on upgrades that proved unnecessary, but he pronounced
the overall compliance effort "a marvelous accomplishment."
While examining computer systems for Year 2000 compliance, the government
discovered that as many as 20 percent were outdated or redundant. Many could
simply be scrapped.
n The Department of Veterans Affairs spent $220 million on Year 2000
compliance. About $70 million of that was spent on new computers and software
that should improve VA operations, a spokesman said. The effort also produced
"better understanding of the ways computerized systems impact people," he
n The Justice Department spent $160 million fixing its Year 2000 problem
over roughly the past three years, said Linda Burek, the agency's deputy
CIO. Most of the money was spent on PCs and telecommunications lines rather
than on software applications, she said. "[The applications] were running
on top of an infrastructure that was not [compliant]." n The Energy Department
spent $235 million, which also paid for improvements that will help in the
future. Systems implemented to solve the Year 2000 glitch will help to better
regulate energy in periods of high usage — cutting down on heat-wave brownouts.
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