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1998-03-10 13:21:24


The Fantasy Continues, Warns Global Technology Magazine



The stories of silver bullet solutions still are paralyzing decision-maklers (including, possibly, you).


* * * * * * *

With billions of dollars, yen, lira, pounds and pesos at stake, it's not surprising that instant, 'add-water-and-stir' solutions to the Year 2000 problem are a growth industry. The stories and folklore about magical Y2K solutions are nearly as epic as the coming millennium itself.

Reports of miracle cures span the globe. An Australian teenager claimed to have a simple software patch. Bob Bemer, the IBM programmer who devised the 'escape' command found on many keyboards, announced he had a "silver-plated-bullet- not the silver bullet - fix." (Bemer is now marketing the 'Bigit Method' through his Dallas-based BMR Software company). And, in late November, an Indian accountant in Chennai reported that he had an alternative methodology that "will handle the Y2K conundrum with minimum efforts in terms of operations, manpower and skill levels," according to the Hindu newspaper.

Like children seeking a fairytale ending, the quest for a single, simple answer is feeding the appetite for Y2K panaceas. But, warns Waverly Deutsch, director of computing strategies at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, all the tools in the world can only help solve the millennium conversion - they will not work automatically. "I can't believe anyone still hopes for a silver bullet answer," she says. . . .

Claims of magical cures haven't only come from small players. Charles Wang, founder of Computer Associates International of Islandia, New York, boasted to a group of sceptical industry executives and journalists late last year that CA had fixed the Year 2000 problem. In fact, the CA-Fix/2000 product is another suite of tools for remediating Cobol programs. "Just because they have all the tools you need, doesn't mean they've solved the problem," says Deutsch. Furthermore, she says, while most so called 'silver bullet' answers to date are for Cobol, there are multiple systems in languages such as C, Pascal and C++ which have yet to be tested.


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