THE OBLIGATORY Y2K ARTICLE.
With less than 11 months left in the millennium, we reluctantly join the 1,248,345,872 other computer publications in writing about the things that might go wrong when we stop typing "19" in front of the year. Here is our checklist of Y2K issues and answers: Most important (to us anyway) is that your subscription records be accurate. We converted our software to handle the year 2000 in 1998, and it seems to be working fine. However, if you have any doubts or concerns about invoices, statements, or renewal notices you receive, please call or write us. (See page two for contact information.) Fortunately, dates are not very important to CAD software. Most CAD outfits have added sections to their Web sites assuring customers that there are no millennium bugs. Given the reliability track record of CAD programs, however, they'll probably all stop running when we go back to work on January 3. PDM systems are another matter. According to the January 1999 Product Data Management Report, a number of older PDM systems store dates in two--digit formats. These systems could interpret a drawing or model released after January 1 as being an earlier rather than a later revision. If you have an older PDM system, 1999 might be a good time for an upgrade. Similarly, if your PDM software reads dates from title blocks in two--digit format, it's time to revise your programs and drawing formats. Most personal computers that are used for CAD work will operate properly in 2000. However, systems that are more than two or three years old may not. In some cases, all you need to fix the problem is a BIOS upgrade from the computer manufacturer. These can be downloaded from Web sites. The National Software Testing Laboratory offers a free program to test whether or not your Intel computer will run in the next millennium and if you need a BIOS upgrade. Obtain it from the Web site http://www.nstl.com. On the home page, click on the words YMARK2000. You'll need to boot Microsoft's DOS (not Windows NT) to run the software. Also, check with vendors of older Unix systems and see Compaq about any DEC VAX systems still in service to find out if these machines will work next year. If a BIOS upgrade won't fix your PC, Calay Systems (the folks who made a turnkey router for PC boards in the 1980s) will sell you a new system clock mounted on a circuit board that plugs into an EISA slot. For details, see the Web site http://www.calaysystems.com. If you're currently buried by forms asking you to certify that your company's computers will work next year, take a tip from the chief financial officer for Mirage Resorts in Las Vegas and throw them away. By far the most disturbing news about the millennium we've heard is not about potential computer problems but the possibility of a shortage of champagne. We intend to stock up now so that if the computer won't boot in January, we won't care.
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|Date:||Feb 1, 1999|
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