Slovak Republic - Y2k glitches, but they "smell a rat" : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Slovak Y2K fears as yet unfounded

January 12, 2000

Businessmen Say They Smell A Rat Among Software Companies

By Daniel Domanovsk}

The dreaded `Millenium Bug,` a computer timepiece problem which it was feared would wreak havoc with financial, telecom and business systems the world over, seems not to have materialized in Slovakia. Several days into the new year, Slovak businessmen are even saying that the Millennium Bug scare was a hoax created by software companies to sell expensive upgrades.

"The Y2K problem was like a bubble that disappeared when pricked," said Ladislav Holubansk}, IT chief at Istrobanka. "Some companies just wanted to earn more money, and used Y2K to convince clients to upgrade their older computers."

Reports from around the country in early January said that Slovakia had passed into the new millennium without any dramatic problems. Peter Mach, head of the Slovak Statistics Office and the leader of the government working group for monitoring Y2K, said on January 4 that "so far we know only of minor breaks in electricity supplies in some regions as well as in the aluminum factory in iar nad Hronom, but it none of these were caused by Y2K. We have actually had fewer emergency situations than usual."

According to Mach, the Slovak government had considered the areas most vulnerable to Y2K, and thus most dangerous to the public, to be nuclear power plants, the chemical industry and health care. He estimated that Slovak state institutions had spent more than Sk 2 billion ($47.6 million) to update their systems for the new millennium.

Holubansk} said that he felt the furore over Y2K had been excessive, especially in the banking sector. "Slovak banks in particular weren`t affected by Y2K, because their computer systems are all less than 10 years old. Y2K was really a serious threat only for big companies still using computer systems from the 1960`s," he said. "Istrobanka wouldn`t have been afraid to continue doing money transfers even on December 31, but the Slovak National Bank forced all banks to stop all clients services on that day."

Otomar Ambros, head of the Y2K taskforce at telecom monopoly provider Slovenski Telekomunikacie (ST), agreed that Y2K had failed to live up to expectations. Problem-free since January 1, ST spent Sk 400 million insuring itself against the Bug and had more than 200 people working on Y2K plans even during the very last days of the old millennium.

Paradoxically, Istrobanka was one of few Slovak companies having troubles with Y2K in early January. The date on their web site showed `January 3900` rather than `January 2000,` a minor glitch that was fixed on January 4. Holubansk} blamed the error on external systems rather than on the bank`s operational net.

Indeed, instead of the havoc that many people had anticipated on January 1, wrong dates on internet sites seemed to be the extent of the damage. Slovak internet firm Onlinerevue was perhaps the worst hit, showing the date as `January 192000.`

But several IT experts warned that it was still too early to assess the whole impact of Y2K, warning that problems might continue to arise until the end of February. "I would say the first week of January was only the first of several risky periods. We should hold on with our final comments for a couple more weeks, and I imagine that some troubles might occur even within the coming years," the government`s Mach said.

Other experts believe that January 1st wasn`t the real end of the Y2K problem, which had been forecast as older computers would be fooled into thinking that the year 2000 was actually the year 1900. "Y2K was a problem of old hardware which wasn`t able to deal with the new century. But since the year 2000 is a leap year and 1900 wasn`t, we still have to get past February 29, and that will be a real problem for software," said Jozef Lenhi of the ICL computer firm. "But I don`t expect any huge problems."

Source: The Slovak Spectator International Weekly, "January 10 - 16, 2000 NEWS", Slovak Republic

-- Lee Maloney (, February 26, 2000


Found this Slovak editorial in "Experts 2000." One vague comment: "most of the problem-causing devices had been safely moved to non-critical positions".....

January 24 - 30, 2000, Info Technology: On Hardware

Y2K disaster scenarios never materialised as predicted

by Peter Krolak Peter Krolak is responsible for Hardware Solutions at PosAm Bratislava. His column appears monthly. Send comments or questions to My name is Peter Krolak, and I work for PosAm Bratislava, a company that sells hardware solutions for information systems. Once a month in this space I will be bringing you hot topics from the field of information systems technical infrastructure, such as "Unix, Windows or NetWare?" or "Do You Need a Highly Reliable and Accessible System?" and so on. I intend to examine each problem from various points of view, and then invite your opinions and questions. Are you ready? Let`s start.

Nobody could have been unaware of the immense attention paid by professional experts, media and government institutions to `The Millenium Bug,` a phenomenon linked to our passage into the year 2000. For the first time in history, the entire world was given an absolute and fixed deadline for adjusting information systems so they could operate in the year 2000.

As we saw, preparations for the event varied from the casual to the frantic. Home computer users showed a cheerful disrespect for the impending `catastrophe`, while governments sponsored intensive campaigns and computer-age clairvoyants predicted disaster scenarios in which we would only survive New Year`s Eve in bunkers.

In reality, most companies and institutions were well prepared for the event, and the occasional failures caused by faulty computers resulting from the Millenium Bug have not caused a domino effect leading to collapsing economies. The several known failures included a Pentagon computer that broke down for a couple of hours and a box office that charged exorbitant fees for videotapes rented since 1900.

In Slovakia, the millenium celebrations passed with scarcely a problem. There were no blackouts, and most systems worked normally. I personally helped several friends who used their personal computers principally for cash and accrual accounting. One of them called me towards the end of the year in a panic, because he had received a floppy disk with diagnostics that showed his computer was not Y2K ready. He was afraid of big hardware costs. I did a basic test and found that his computer was able to pass into the new year without difficulties.

As far as big companies were concerned, after January 3 it was clear that most of our customers had had no problems with their Y2K transitions. Most of the problem-causing devices had been safely moved to non-critical positions.

The next test for Y2K preparedness will come this February 29, because 2000 is a leap-year (which 1900 was not). We will also encounter several problems with the operation of computer date functions connected with overflows of internal operation system counters and chips.

How did you make it through Y2K? Write and let us know.

Source: The Slovak Spectator International Weekly, "Experts 2000", Slovak Republic .asp?id=2931

-- Lee Maloney (, February 26, 2000.

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