Emory Report

 October 6, 1997

 Volume 50, No. 7

As 21st century approaches,
so does Year2000 problem

While stealing headlines just a few years ago, the infamous Year2000 problem (Y2K) has become almost a whisper. Problems have been found in operating systems, BIOS ROM (Basic Input Output System information that is permantently written into the Read Only Memory), and various software programs.

Touted by industry experts as a concern primarily for large computing systems, Y2K will affect an estimated 80 percent of personal computers to some extent. Emory is not immune but is racing to protect itself against Y2K.

ITD is addressing the Y2K problem with four separate approaches:

To find out if your computer is Year2000 compliant, Mahbuba Ferdousi, projects specialist for information technology, suggests resetting your computer's date to Dec. 31, 1999, and its time to 11:58 p.m. Turn your computer off, wait five minutes and restart your computer. If the date reads "01/01/%0," "01/01)!!" or "01/01/80" then you have a Y2K problem.

Ferdousi is worried that people have become complacent or even forgotten about the issue. She warns that without proper attention, Y2K could affect every desktop, every mainframe and every network. ITD has been working on which applications to replace and which to recode. Platinum Technologies will recode the software ITD decides to keep.

Ferdousi is also concerned about the number of outdated software packages currently in use. The older the program, she said, the more likely it will be noncompliant. Updating commercial software packages is the easiest approach for desktop PCs.

Individual departments are responsible for Y2K problems on their PCs. ITD has a list of compliant software and recommends asking either the purchasing department or individual suppliers if software is Year2000 compliant before buying additional software. ITD is looking at putting together a team that would visit departments to assess applications and hardware.

For Macintosh users, there is some good news. The Macintosh operating system is unaffected by the date 2000, and much of the software uses the operating system's date information. Still, it is important to find out if your software is compliant.

Visit ITD's website at <http://www.emory.edu/ITD/YEAR2000/> for updated information and <http://www.emory.edu/ITD/YEAR2000/Y2Kswlist.html> for information on specific software applications.

-Scott Barker

Return to October 6, 1997 Contents Page