Y2K glitch a "black eye" for Naval Observatory

The Navy called it a "bump in the road" and a "black eye" when a Web site operated by the U.S. Naval Observatory, the nation's official timekeeper, marked the date Jan. 1, 19100, early on New Year's Day.

According to Navy spokesman John Fleming, the year 2000 software glitch occurred because of an error in a JavaScript written with an older version of the programming language that was not Y2K-ready. The script ran at a Web hosting service he could not identify, not at the observatory's own site (www.usno.navy.mil/home.html).

For 45 minutes, visitors to the observatory's millennium countdown Web site were given an incorrect date for the U.S. time zones that had already entered the year 2000.

The problem didn't affect the Naval Observatory master clock in Washington, the nation's official timekeeper since 1845.

"This really is a non-problem," Fleming said. "It was almost like a typo that was fixed within 45 minutes [after it was discovered by a technician] at about 1:30 or 1:45 a.m.''

Data services specialists at the observatory could not be reached for further comment today.

Copyright © 2000 IDG Communications, Inc.

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