At 15:11 03/04/1998 +0200, you wrote:
>What research do I need? I turn the computer off, and on again and set
>the date in the BIOS if need be. :-)-O (This is the short version of
>it, of course :-)-O)

Very short indeed. It omits the whole question of whether the _software_ works.

I know you know this, but for the benefit of those less experienced than
you, here is Y2K 101.  The "you" in the following is the generic "dear reader".

Using two digits for the year will cause software that worked for 97,98, and
99 to fail when those digits are compared or calculated with 00.

This is a software problem. It is only a hardware problem where the hardware
contains embedded software. A failure in date derived from hardware may or
may not matter, it depends entirely on how it is being used. Automatic
processes that act without giving the user an opportunity of intervention
can be things like PIMs, backup schedulers, process control systems, and so on.

It is completely predictable whether software will fail - you just need to
have it tested for all the date functionality; e.g. date comparisons,
database selections, age calculations, end of periods/years, etc.

If you do not test, or rely on trustworthy guarantees where you cannot test,
one of two things will happen to you between now and 2000.  Either the
software will not fail, in which case you have no problems - no thanks to
you. Or it will fail, and you will have the utter certainty of knowing that
the consequences are entirely due to your negligence, as you knew of the
possibility and did not check.

If you do validate the software, you have demonstrated due diligence and
should proceed to help others less informed than yourself; especially if you
depend on them. None of these problems may apply to you, but they may apply
to someone that you know.

You cannot make any assumptions. It is possible to write logic in any
language that will fail to handle 00 dates. This includes user-developed
applications such as databases and spreadsheets. In my spreadsheet
workshops, I demonstrate one way of entering dates that is always safe and
unambiguous; one that treats any two digits as always 19xx; and one that
shows a person's age as 69 when the spreadsheet is opened in Excel 95 but
-31 when opened in Excel 97. Most users will not have those problems, but
that is no comfort to those who have.

If you have common off-the-shelf packages, an upgrade may or may not be
required - you have to check. If you have customised or once-off
applications, you may have to have it repaired, re-engineered, or retired -
you have to check, nobody else can.

Best wishes,


Patrick O'Beirne B.Sc. M.A. MICS. Year 2000 & euro Consultant
PSP, TickIT, Year2000 assessment on PCs, euro(EMU) conversion    Tel: +353 (0)55 22294  Fax: 22297
Systems Modelling Ltd, Tara Hill, Gorey, Co. Wexford, IRELAND