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Town in good shape for ‘Y2K’ problem: Allan

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The Town of Fort Frances may have to do some more exterminating to get the last of the “Y2K” bugs out of its computer system in the next year but Administration and Finance manager Darryl Allan said Jan. 1, 2000 shouldn’t bring Armageddon.

Allan reported to council Monday night after returning from a “Y2K” conference. In the general scheme of things, he said Fort Frances is in pretty good shape to meet the so-called “millennium bug” head on.

“[Canada] is somewhat back of Australia but on par with the U.S. for Y2K,” he said, adding “Ontario is in the lead” of all the provinces in Canada for handling the millennium change.

“The PUC has been checking the power distribution system and that check will continue on a switch-by-switch basis right from the source,” Allan stressed.

“In Fort Frances, power is a low-tech thing,” he added. “If Ontario Hydro can get power to us, we can get it to our customers.”

Mayor Glenn Witherspoon noted even if Ontario Hydro experiences problems, a representative from the mill here said they would be interested in setting up a worst-case scenario contingency with the co-gen station.

“He says they have enough capacity to light up the whole district,” the mayor told council.

“I feel very comfortable with our efforts,” Mayor Witherspoon added yesterday. “We have a pretty good grasp on it. I think we’re going to be just fine.”

Allan also has started random testing on some of the PCs at the Civic Centre, resetting the dates on these computers to the year 2000. Several failed to “roll-over” to the new date but were able to be reset manually, he noted.

But Allan warned this can only be done with low-level equipment, such as word processors. A manual reset on a large database potentially could erase all the files on a system.

Still, he said administration has all of 1999 to uncover any major problems with the town’s computer system so local residents needn’t worry if there will be power on Jan. 1, 2000.

“Some say the world will be Armageddon--others say it’s a big joke to sell more computers,” Allan remarked. “There’s all sort of urban myths that are out there.

“Personally, I believe there will be problems,” he said. “But the world won’t end.”

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