The Mouse That
Didn't Roar
By Alan Dawson
The lights stayed on, the phones still rang and the computers mostly rolled over smoothly to 2000. In the main, reports said this: Man beat the Y2K bug that had threatened the machines that help to run our world.
Uncertainty gave way to relief, as midnight rolled around the globe. A high-technology world remained connected, networked and ready to proceed in a new millennium.
Vital life-support systems worked through midnight and into the new year, the new century and the new millennium. Experts cautioned that local problems are still likely to occur, and it will take months to assess the final damage of the software bug.
But the good news, thanks to years of preparation and billions of dollars: The lights, water supplies, telephone and fax networks, and aviation systems were intact in Thailand and around the world. The Bangkok Post editorial systems, including links to world-wide news agencies and services, appeared unaffected. The Internet was up, running and apparently unaffected.
Bill Gates of Microsoft, which helped to create the dreaded glitch, spent an unconcerned New Year's Eve on a yacht. He and his host, fellow tycoon Kerry Packer, watched the Sydney Harbour fireworks.
The United Nations-sponsored centre for Y2K reports showed all green on its reporting bulletins-no Y2K emergencies across the board.
The automated teller machines, credit card transactions and the electronic fund transfers all were tested shortly after midnight as each country or region entered the new century. There were no reported failures.
Even better news to many: The first Russian nuclear reactor to cross the millennium time zone survived fine. The Bilibinsk nuclear power plant in Russian Asia hummed into 2000 without a problem. "No shutdown in the work of the equipment was observed" at the automated plant, supervisors said. The plant is in Chukotka province, opposite Alaska. Well before midnight in Thailand, New Zealand began sending its utilities and emergency staff home. New Zealand's New Year began at 6pm Thailand time-and by 9pm the country began to breath easily. There was not a single Y2K-related incident reported.
The country's official web site had 2 million hits from nervous people wanting to see what happened in the first industrialised nation to hit midnight.
Shortly after, Australia's banking industry issued an all-clear statement. Everything was working smoothly, and the staff began clearing out to go home or to late parties.
Thousands of people around the world were on nervous midnight duty yesterday, just in case. In banks, offices, stock exchanges and accounting firms, staff checked and double-checked their computers and systems before and after midnight.
Airport and air control centres were manned and senior staff were called in to supervise-even though hundreds of flights were cancelled as even frequent flyers opted to stay on the ground through the midnight period.
The glitches which occurred were the type long familiar to computer operators, administrators and home owners. Many were not computer problems, but were human-caused.
In New Zealand, international toll calls on cellphones stopped working for a while shortly after midnight. Harassed workers at the Telecom New Zealand Y2K centre told callers circuits were simply overloaded by too many callers. All circuits were working within an hour. A similar problem was reported by a Japanese mobile company.
Computer hackers broke into the Web page of British Railtrack, and posted a fake message that Y2K problems had cancelled all trains. Officials fixed the page quickly-all trains were running just fine. A practical joker informed another Y2K site that IBM was chartering planes to get badly needed computer parts to Australia and New Zealand, but the report was false.
On the home page of the Tonga government just after midnight local time was a notice: "Just a Reminder. There are only -1 days until Tonga is the first to greet Year 2000!"On the Web site of the world time clock, a date for New Zealand showed as "Saturday, January 1, 19100." Meteo France, a weather service, reported dates as "19.100."The Web site of a rival Bangkok English-language paper told visitors there would not be any more breaking news posted "until Dec 4"-presumably meaning Jan 4. It was not known if the error was Y2K-related.
In South Korea, a court ordered 170 people to appear for trial on Jan 4, 1900. A Spanish worker was ordered to labour court on Feb 3, 1900. Japanese shoppers staged a mild panic, crowding stores and supermarkets to stock up on water, food and emergency supplies. Several stores cashed in with special sections for the Y2K-paranoid. They included portable radios, canned food and portable cooking stoves.
The Internet itself held up as predicted. The network designed "to withstand a nuclear war" was as robust and dependable as usual. All 42 websites chosen for special monitoring were up and running as midnight raced around the world. That includes , the Internet Thailand main site.


This Site Served by TheHostPros