Portugal - various Y2k glitches reported by 1/8/00

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Front Page Online, The News Weekly, Portugal

08/01/2000 (January 8, 2000)

Y2K Bug - So what happened here?

At the time of going to press, and besides the emergence of a few small anomalies, none of Portugal's major institutions had reported any incidents connected with the dreaded "Millennium Bug". Oporto's firework celebration never came, (see page 6) though that was blamed on primitive human flaws, rather than technological errors, while in some centres, medical equipment and computer systems registered problems attributed to the transition to 2000 but which provoked no meltdowns in system hardware.

It is early days yet, but the first days of the year 2000 appear to have caused little, if any, headaches to people operating equipment that was supposedly not primed for a change to four digits.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Mariano Gago, who was awarded the task of supervising and coordinating Portugal's progression to the year 2000, has come out on a number of occasions this week to reassure the public that no complications had been experienced in Portugal.

According to the Minister, an insignificant number of "small problems were detected" though he hastily added that they were of "no serious consequence".

Two refuse removal companies revealed that they had experienced problems with their equipment, while the main Air Force Hospital had a heart monitor that ceased to function normally.

Mariano Gago explained that some medical centres had been in contact with his Ministry regarding computer trouble, a situation that was explained as being due to an "incompatibility of their software" with the year 2000.

Without the huge investments made by the Government, both monetary and in human resources, Portugal could have plunged into a state of complete chaos, the Minister eagerly explained to reporters. It has to be highlighted that countries which spent little or none of its taxpayer's money in avoiding possible "bug bytes", also navigated the Y2K passage without any scares.

The Lisbon Stock Exchange and the Central European Bank have both confirmed that all their services are functioning as they had before last weekend.

The Minister of Education, Guilherme d'Oliveira Martins, said on Tuesday that no reports had been lodged with his Ministry regarding any mysteries associated with the Y2K bug.

The Portuguese News Network (PNN), a news provider based solely on the internet, witnessed its software make the transition from 1999 to 3900 on January 1. Josi Alberto Oliveira of PNN said to the Lusa News Agency that the computer software used by the news association reverted to the year 1900, then proceeded to add 2000 years to provide a year count of 3900.

The problem has since been rectified.

A problem with the wage register of Finance Ministry's staff detected over the weekend has also been resolved, and the assurance has been given that no employee will be under-paid come the end of the month.

The Science and Technology Minister notified the press on Wednesday that the Government's contingency programme to avert any bug problems, has officially been finalised, though daily monitoring will be maintained over computer networks throughout the country in order to ensure that should any belated problems occur, the Ministry will be ready to counteract.

In South Korea, a baby born on January 1 was given the dubious title of being the youngest-old person in the world. The baby's birth certificate reads that the week-old boy was born at zero hours on January 1, 1900.


-- Lee Maloney (leemaloney@hotmail.com), February 18, 2000

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