Prepared by the UCAR Y2K Task Group: Steve Dickson (F&A), Larry Anderson (formerly with Contracts), Brad Crysel (ACD), Tom Engel (SCD), Steve Hinson (F&A), Kathy Strand (UOP), Susan Stringer (ATD), and Paul White (Intellectual Property Management Program).
Besides updates to SCD's plans, this page includes an inventory of SCD systems that notes when a system has been upgraded to Y2K compliance. There are also links to Y2K information from major vendors and other interesting reading.
The NETS proposal is essentially an implementation of the conceptual network proposed by HPS, with the addition of networking ability. The proposed configuration would allow anyone in UCAR to connect to a logically isolated virtual network for Y2K testing.
A resource for grantees and a wealth of information (e.g., "Technical Briefs," "Myths and Facts") and links to other government agency Y2K pages, including the Office of Management and Budget Quarterly Report, "Progress on Year 2000 Conversion."
A public information site focusing on awareness, mitigation, contingency planning, and preparedness. Features "Rumor Central," a table categorizing the relative fact or fiction content of dozens of rumors and predictions about Y2K. More technical information is also available.
The IEEE's Y2K Resource Page is an excellent resource itself, with lots of jumping-off points to additional sites they find worthy. Special feature: a Y2K humor page.
Technical and consumer information from the federal government. An information-sharing section has links to nongovernment sites. There is also a telephone information line at 1-888-USA-4Y2K.
Describes the city's planning and mitigation and lists the status of the city's "Top 20" critical systems. Provides links to Web sites for local utilities, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for banking information, and the state of Colorado.
As of press time there are two separate sites for the Boulder-based Cassandra Project, which has championed community awareness and preparedness through cooperation. The second URL takes you to a less cluttered site than the first one. The second URL also has links to a neighborhood organizing section, a downloadable Spanish translation of "Individual Preparedness for Y2K," and an international/multilingual page for Y2K information and resources in different languages. Link here, too, to the thoughtful Utne Reader's "Y2K Citizen's Action Guide."
Tried and true advice on disaster preparedness, based on winter-storm scenarios. Includes a concise assessment of potential Y2K problems.
Downloadable PDF files, including an emergency preparedness checklist, a family disaster plan, and brochures on financial disaster preparedness and food and water in an emergency.
The week zero problem: On Saturday, 21 August, at 6:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (0000 Greenwich Mean Time 8/22/99), the world's Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites will have to hurdle a time-code glitch of their own. Although this problem has nothing to do with Y2K, the possible impacts on transportation and other areas could be significant.
Call it the week zero problem. When the initial NAVSTAR network of GPS satellites was launched in 1979, week one was labeled 0000000000 in ten-bit binary code. Week two was indicated by the binary code 0000000001 (denoting 2), week three by 0000000010 (denoting 3), week four by 0000000011, and so forth. "The engineers who set up GPS said 'How many bits do we need?' and decided 'Uhhh, ten bits,' and so at week number 1024 it goes back to zero," says UNAVCO director and GPS expert Stick Ware.
That week of reckoning--the week that follows 1111111111--arrives on 21 August. At that point, the timekeeping software aboard the GPS satellites will reset to 0000000000. In effect, the software will think it's 1979 again, analogous to Y2K-vulnerable software that will interpret next year as 1900. "It's the NAVSTAR millennium," says Stick, "a singular event in GPS history."
The key question is how the wealth of GPS receivers and related software will handle the rollover to week zero. Stick says that some manufacturers have pledged their readiness, while others aren't making any promises. One company's receivers failed to handle the transition from week 0111111111 to 1000000000 in 1989. (That firm later went out of business, although it may have been unrelated to the transition failure, says Stick.)
"The satellites are all set to roll over and just keep transmitting with the new [zero] time, and it's up to the GPS-receiver manufacturers whether or not their hardware and software can deal with that," says Stick. "The receivers may not work unless they're upgraded." According to Stick, anything that relies on GPS signals--aircraft navigation systems, traffic lights that use GPS for timing, and more--has the potential to malfunction if the bug isn't addressed. GPS is not yet an FAA-approved standard for aircraft navigation, but some private pilots and smaller airports already make use of it. "I wouldn't want to be trying to land a plane with a computer that thought it was 1979 instead of 1999 without knowing all the implications of that," he adds.
UNAVCO and GST have asked the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Trimble Navigation to provide simulated GPS signals for week zero from their signal generators. These simulated signals can be used to test the response of receivers so that UNAVCO staff can understand and (they hope) correct any problems before week zero. Meanwhile, ATD director Dave Carlson has been checking with manufacturers of GPS components used in ATD's dropsonde and radiosonde systems. Thus far, he says, he's encountering confidence that problems in the use of these sensing systems will be minimal.
Should this sneak preview of Y2K catch the attention of the media and the public this summer, Stick hopes it will provide an opportunity to explain some of the exciting geophysical science that's being pioneered at UOP by the COSMIC and GST programs. He also likes the fact that the rollover will happen at 6:00 p.m. on a Saturday night in summer. "You'll have to stay up until midnight [to be awake for] the Y2K event, and that's too late for me." BH
On the Web:|
The U.S. Naval Observatory:
GPS Week Number Rollover Approaches
If you're upgrading a PC yourself (at home, for instance), start with a visit to your computer manufacturer's Web site to download their Y2K upgrades. Some downloads will actually reburn your BIOS (Basic Information Operating System) chip. Then you need to test the results. "There's a good description of Y2K-BIOS testing and a nice test program that I tried on my Hewlett-Packard without problems," Basil reports. But he has a few caveats:
"We're requesting verification from manufacturers on embedded chip sensors. But we don't believe from our investigations that there will be any problems." At the Mesa Lab, "everything is so old it's pre-computer." The ML refurbishment will update those control systems well after the turn of the new year. Heat is provided by boilers or electric panels, none of which depend on electronic controls. So if Public Service is providing power, buildings at all four sites (ML, FL, Jeffco, and Marshall) will have heat.
"For fire alarms, we're looking for verification from the manufacturer for all buildings. . . . The vendors are being very proactive." The elevators at ML have programmable controllers; those at FL do not. For the ML system, John's group is working with the manufacturer to get the information they need to make whatever upgrades are necessary.
"We're asking people to be aware of equipment they're working on to see if there are some potential embedded chips there. We will try to touch base on everything we have. Routine maintenance should uncover most concerns." Finally, some people have asked John whether a glitch in his systems could unintentionally shut down SCD's computer room. The answer is "No--we are not interconnected in any way." ZG