Leap Day Bugs In Asia

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Daily News Leap Day Bugs In Asia By Adam Creed, Newsbytes March 02, 2000

The problems caused by computers not recognizing this year's leap day have generally either been addressed in Y2K preparations or will cause glitches that will be organization-specific, will be corrected quickly internally and not publicized, although the tales of date-related billing and reporting quirks are growing more commonplace.

As on the Y2K transition, we heard from Japan for reports of the first problems. At the new year it was a non-critical computer system in a power plant, for this leap day (February 29) it was unusual reports from the nation's weather bureaux.

Japanese weather stations reported heavy rainfall when none actually fell, according to AP reports. Computers at the weather stations were confused by the February 29 leap day, which some software had not been programmed to recognize. Another glitch materialized when ATMs stopped working, for similar reasons.

Most countries across Asia reported no "significant" problems, although reports of glitches and problems are emerging, as they did some time after Y2K.

"No significant problems to computers or equipment relating to February 29 have been reported," said Basil Logan, chairman of New Zealand's Y2K Readiness Commission.

Yet, in the banking sector the commission goes on to report a localized problem with electronic banking systems.

"The banking sector is managing the issue and we have been advised that there is no impact on cardholders or individual transactions," Logan says.

In Hong Kong, Jessie Ting, deputy secretary for information technology and broadcasting said that: "Hong Kong has entered February 29, 2000 without any disruptions in the provision of critical public services."

A similar message to that on the Y2K rollover. But in January, questions were asked in the SAR's Legislative Council over the failure of a computer system at the Hong Kong Futures Exchange when it reopened for trading on January 4. The government said that because the Y2K problem had been contained, was not "critical," and was quickly corrected, it was up to the organization itself what publicity it made of the glitch.

The choice between revealing a potentially embarrassing date-recognition problem, or keeping the matter within the organization may not be a difficult one.

There has been widespread anecdotal evidence of localized Y2K glitches in Australia alone, from invoices not being sent out on time, to erroneous date calculations and computer system glitches. While consumers have been affected, the localized nature of the problems has not been considered serious and problems have been dealt with internally.

"Any problems that do occur over the next 12 months are likely to be organization-specific and capable of being handled by normal management processes," New Zealand's Logan said.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), March 02, 2000



(for educational purposes only)

"Glitch creates instant billionaires in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (March 2, 2000 9:13 a.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - A bank computer's error Tuesday made instant billionaires of some customers - but only for a few hours.

A number of depositors at the Hang Seng Bank saw their accounts soar dramatically Tuesday as a software glitch added a series of nines to the end of their balances, spokeswoman Cecilia Ko said Thursday.

The bank quickly fixed the problem and none of the customers attempted to withdraw the extra money, she said.

Tuesday was Leap Day - a day that had high-tech experts on the lookout for problems that caused by computers were not programmed to recognize the date. But Ko said the problem was not related to this potential bug.

The bank did not say how many customers were affected."

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), March 03, 2000.

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