More Y2K Glitches That Could Bug You

Here are a few ways to protect yourself from the millennium sting-even if you're not a techie

keep credit card receipts for anything you buy around January 1, 2000. When you receive your statements, verify your purchases and report any discrepancies to the card issuer. Also, check your credit report in both 1999 and 2000, reviewing it for errors or discrepancies. If possible, Webster suggests paying off credit cards or, at the very least, reducing the balance as much as possible.

“[Credit cards] are a form of financial storage, so tighten your belt for the next several months. Avoid new debt and pay off existing debt.”

COULD THE Y2K BUG TRIP YOU UP?
“There have been a lot of gloom stories about airplanes falling out of the sky because of Y2K, but the people making those predictions don’t understand how air traffic control works or the progress that we’ve made,” explains Paul Takemoto, spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C. “Air traffic control computers are designed for very specific uses. They rely on the time of day and day of the week. The year is largely irrelevant for frontline systems.” As far as the airplanes themselves are concerned, Thomas Browne, the executive director of the Air Transport Association’s Aviation Millennium Project, identified two main devices-the flight management computer and the inertial navigation system-as having Y2K problems, but the manufacturer of these mechanisms found these errors two years ago. “We know which planes have these devices, so the airlines have either fixed or replaced them,” Browne insists. The FAA administrator, Jane Garvey, is so confident of the airline industry that she announced her plans to fly from Washington, D.C., to Dallas and then on to San Francisco on New Year’s Eve. Says Browne, “Airplanes are going to fly, tickets are on sale, so don’t worry about it. It’s going to be like any other day.”

Your car should not be affected by any Y2K glitches. According to the Web page of the President’s Council on Year 2000 Conversion (www.y2k.gov), General Motors reports that most of the computers in its cars and trucks do not have date-related functions and pose no year 2000-related problems. Although other car manufacturers are less vocal about Y2K issues, the government believes the same situation applies to other automakers as well.

fuel for your vehicle is expected to be widely available and the machines that pump it in working order. Gas pumps do not use timers or dates anywhere in their software, according to Frank Kendall, marketing manager for Gilbarco, the world’s leading supplier of fuel-related and point-of-sale equipment for petroleum. The site management device is a tool that tracks the shift, day and week. The point-of-sale device starts the pump and processes credit or debit card purchases. Says Kendall, “We have communicated with all the people who purchased point-of-sale devices to encourage them to use the latest version of our software, which is Y2K compliant.” The real issue, according to Webster, is not whether you’ll be able to “fill ‘er up” but how much more it’s going to cost in the new year (see sidebar).

TAKE

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