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Y2K remains top concern in business, industry


If you've been reading the newspapers regularly or watching TV newscasts, you've undoubtedly seen an increasing number of stories about the Millennium Bug -- the Year 2000 or Y2k problem.

Simply stated, computer software and hardware has been designed to use only the last two digits when referring to any particular year.

Ten years ago, this wasn't considered a problem, as most programmers and hardware companies figured their systems would be replaced by the time this system of dating became a problem -- which would be when the date rolled over on Jan. 1, 2000.

But in the last couple of years, computer professionals have been examining just what can happen -- and what can go wrong -- once we begin January 2000 and our computer hardware and software believes the date is January 1900.

The problems are widespread and numerous.

MICROSOFT. Just this past week, Microsoft released its service pack for Internet Explorer 4.01, it's latest browser software for the World Wide Web.

The service pack fixes the Y2k problems in Internet Explorer, and is available at no cost from Microsoft's Web site at www.microsoft.com.

A number of Microsoft products -- particularly older ones -- are not Y2k compliant, and the company has no plans to release fixes or updates for these.

Tucked away in a section of their Web site devoted to computer professionals, Microsoft has a really neat searchable index of their products called the Year 2000 Product Guide.

The guide offers detailed information on their products' Y2k compliance. I recommend it to anyone who owns or sells Microsoft products -- its a little technical, but very detailed and simple to use.

Visit the guide at www.microsoft.com/ithome/topics/year2k/product/product.htm.

Y2K NEWS. As we draw closer to Jan. 1, 2000, corporations are putting time and resources into preventing a meltdown of their computer systems.

If you're trying to keep track of all the latest news and company releases about the problem -- and watch the "it's a problem/it's not a problem" debate continue among computer professionals -- you'll want to bookmark a this site.

Y2k News.com is a expertly crafted compendium of links and content devoted to the latest news about the Y2k issue.

The Web site is actually the online version of a printed bi-weekly magazine called Y2k News Magazine.

The online version of the magazine offers links to news stories all over the Web, as well as links to content covering an array of Y2k topics: survival, social, legal and other aspects of the problem.

Obviously, the Web site is aimed at promoting subscriptions to the printed magazine -- which is aimed primarily at Information Technology professionals. The online content offers excellent information to anyone with concerns about what might happen come the new Millennium.

Visit Y2k News on the Web at www.y2knews.com.

FRUGAL NEWS. If you're working hard to make ends meet, and there always seems to too much month at the end of your money, you might want to visit Frugal Living Online.

This electronic magazine -- or e-zine for short -- offers common sense tips for doing household chores on a budget.

For example, if you have vinyl or vinyl-coated lawn furniture, you don't need to buy special cleaner for it after you dig it out of storage for the summer. Frugal Living Online offers tips and methods for doing chores with what you would probably have on hand, including special handling precautions.

The site offers tips for your entire house -- and even outside in the garden -- for saving money.

The most frugal part? Frugal Living Online is free of charge!

Visit this e-zine on the Web at http://shell.kingston.net/~goju/flo/.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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