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The Year 2000 Problem:

The mother of all bugs and how to deal with it

by Michael de la Maza

Year 2000 bugs are deeply hidden in thousands of mission-critical software systems, many of which are decades old. Often, the original programmers have moved on or retired and the source code may be unavailable. Year 2000 bugs can also lurk in firmware, in PC BIOSs, and even in off-the-shelf software. In some cases, even systems that are year-2000 compliant will be affected when they exchange data with those that are not. In addition to causing chaos, many year 2000 breakdowns will have big legal ramifications.

These books can help your and your company evaluate the problems you face, then formulate and implement strategies to address them. The lineup includes books that address both technical issues and managerial problems.

Peter de Jager, who runs a year 2000 Web site, teamed up with Richard Bergeon, a principal at a year-2000 solutions provider, to write Managing 00: Surviving the Year 2000 Computing Crisis. This fun, information-filled book is aimed at project managers and high-level IT analysts. Managing 00 begins with several scenarios of problems arising from year 2000 bugs and then describes steps that year 2000 managers should take to solve them.

The Year 2000 Software Crisis: Challenge of the Century provides technical managers with a good framework for evaluating year 2000 problems and designing large-scale programs to solve them. Although the book covers both technical and managerial issues, it is primarily aimed at a technical reader.

Year 2000 Problem: Strategies and Solutions from the Fortune 100 is a collection of 50 essays covering a wide variety of year 2000 issues. While it provides some coverage of technical problems, the focus is more on the complex managerial aspects of year 2000 projects, everything from corporate liability to employee compensation.

The Year 2000 Problem Solver, by Bryce Ragland, provides a substantive five-step plan for addressing year 2000 issues. If you are the one charged with creating such a plan and are looking to minimize hassle and cost, you can adapt this ready-made strategy to meet your company's needs.

Most of Solving the Year 2000 Problem is devoted to commonsense questions and tests that information technology departments should keep in mind when implementing a year 2000 solution. The book also outlines a five-step process for solving year 2000 problems and provides a list of companies who offer year 2000 services.

The Year 2000 Computing Crisis: A Millenium Date Conversion Plan gets down to basics by providing hundreds of pages of assembly line code for addressing year 2000 problems. If you are interested in learning to write code that will fix your company's computing problems in the millenium, this is a strong title.

The Mythical Man-Month, by Frederick P. Brooks Jr., is a classic in the field of software project management. The author led the software development effort for IBM's 360, one of the most famous mainframe computer systems of all time. Brooks succinctly describes many of the pitfalls that large software projects fall into and provides IT managers with a carefully thought-out analysis of how to avoid them. Any technical manager responsible for a year 2000 project should read this book.

About the Author

Michael de la Maza, president of Redfire Capital Management Group, has a degree in computer science from MIT's Artificial Intelligence Labs.

Featured Titles

Managing '00: Surviving the Year 2000 Computing Crisis by Peter De Jager and Richard Bergeon
The Year 2000 Software Systems Crisis: Challenge of the Century (Yourdon Press Computing Series) by William M. Ulrich, et al
Year 2000 Problem: Strategies and Solutions from the Fortune 100 (Software Engineering Series) by Leon A. Kappelman, Ph.D.
Solving the Year 2000 Problem by James Edward Keogh, et al
The Year 2000 Computing Crisis: A Millennium Date Conversion Plan by Jerome T. Murray and Marilyn J. Murray
The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
The Year 2000 Problem Solver: A Five-Step Disaster Prevention Plan by Bryce Ragland

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