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New York does final Y2K checks

With just 23 days before the crystal ball drops in Times Square, New York City officials are holding the last Year 2000 test of all municipal computer systems tonight.

With just 23 days before the crystal ball drops in Times Square, New York City officials plan to hold the last Year 2000 test of all municipal computer systems tonight.

A spokesperson for the city's Office of Emergency Management said the test is taking place between 9:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. ET.

Y2K: The cost of fear City officials plan to check hundreds of computer systems and countless devices in New York City's vast inventory of technology to be sure everything from traffic lights to elevators in public buildings will work after the century date change.

The evaluation comes just a few weeks before hundreds of thousands of people gather in Times Square to watch a Waterford crystal ball descend.

In what is one of the most heavily attended New Year's Eve events in the world, 500,000 regularly attend the New Year's Eve Ball drop in Times Square. Another 300 million TV viewers watch festivities from home. Some estimate that this New Year's Eve nearly a million people will be in Times Square to take part in the festivities

Back to Year 2000 Index Page New York City plans to spend $300 million, more than any other city in the world, in its effort to prevent any problems sparked by Y2K.

The high price tag for the Big Apple's Y2K program is paying off. Compared to many other US cities, New York is making headway in beating the computer problem.

According to the most recent survey conducted by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), the auditing arm of Congress, New York, Houston, San Diego, San Jose, Calif., Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Fla, Milwaukee, and Memphis, Tenn., completed Y2K renovations no later than Sept.30. Today's test is the final check to see if that renovation work was done well.

The Year 2000 problem, also known as the millennium bug, stems from an old programming shortcut that used only the last two digits of the year. Many computers now must be modified or they may mistake the year 2000 for the year 1900 and not be able to function at all.