Y2K troops prepare for leap year test

Y2K troops prepare for leap year test

Air-conditioners hummed, phones buzzed and airplanes stayed airborne. So what's next?

Well, bug fighters aren't ready to declare victory over the Y2K bug - not until after the final D-Day - February 29.

While most computers know that the additional day in February comes once every four years, the problem with leap years is that they have been difficult to define.

Most computer systems are programmed to know that years divisible by 100 are not leap years.

But there is an exception to the rule that computers could miss: years divisible by 400 are leap years, such as the year 2000.

Yet, just as with 9/9/99, most Y2K contingency teams should not have anything to worry about, according to Frank Strage, CEO of Melbourne-based 80-20 Software.

`I think they would have ticked that off as part of the wider Y2K testing. The leap year issue is just a subset of the overall thing,' Strange said.

With all the confusion, it is not surprising that Y2K emergency teams and corporations aren't backing down despite walking away unscathed from January 1.

`We tested the 29th of February, as we did the 9/9/99, as part of our Y2K testing ` revealed Jim Carey, director of business systems at Sydney-based Lion Nathan Breweries. `So far, everything has tested out alright for us.'

No complacency

Yet, industry experts warned that just because the industry passed the big test with flying colours there is no room for complacency.

`It's the first leap year [to fall on 00] in four centuries. We won't let down our guard,' said Lavina Chan, a representative of Cathay Pacific. `We'll be stringent in our efforts.' Chan said the airline will continue to maintain its Y2K program centre until February 29 rolls over.

Still, most teams are optimistic because of the measures already in place for the millennium rollover.

`We are quietly confident,' said Lion Nathan's Cary. `I am on a few mailing lists for the Y2K issue and it appears other companies are also quietly confident.'

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