With January 1 fast approaching, IDG takes a look at the latest developments: the PC industry is making its final preparations for the millennium rollover; the PC Y2000 Alliance has posted the latest consumer resources online; and we take a look at the free Know2000 QuickCheck utility and the latest in Y2K fashion.
Who you gonna call?
The threat of Y2K is prompting unprecedented cooperation among competing PC companies. One example: the PC Y2000 Alliance. Composed of such hardware heavyweights as Compaq, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Toshiba, the alliance has put up a Web site (http://www.pcy2000.org) designed to help users determine whether their system is Y2K-ready. You'll find FAQs, step-by-step instructions for checking your hardware's Y2K compliance, and links to members' year 2000 Web sites for more specifics. Regrettably, there isn't much software support, though -- ClickNet and Symantec are the only contributing software vendors.
The Year 2000 Group, a software company, recently released a free trialware version of its Know2000 Y2K compliance utility. Rather than independently testing your software, Know2000 checks every executable file on your drive against a database of known software problems. The database, provided by software publishers, contains results of vendor tests for over 3500 programs, including office applications from Microsoft and Corel. The free trial version, Know2000 QuickCheck, took about 10 minutes to download over a 56Kbps connection, and another 15 minutes or so to run through our test PC's hard drive. But to get the full database entry for a particular application, including contact information for the issuing vendor and URLs for online patches and updates, you must purchase the $US20 retail version. http://www.know-2000.com/y2k/quickcheck.htmlKeep your shirt onSo let's say January 1 rolls around and your office's PCs all crash, taking with them millions of dollars worth of crucial customer data. Don't even think about suing your computer vendor, not after the US Congress recently passed legislation effectively limiting Y2K-related lawsuits. The bill would give companies 90 days to repair computers before lawsuits could be filed over problems, and would also cap certain punitive damages. Small businesses, for example, would be liable for only the share of damage their products or services caused. For more information, visit the US President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion at http://www.y2k.gov.
Crisis co-opting 101
It's the end of the world as we know it -- why not try to turn a buck? Y2K-themed T-shirts and apparel are popping up all over the place. For our money, the Web site Y2Khype.com has the best attitude and selection. Its motto? "Y2K: A symbol of hope. A gateway to the future. A reason to sell T-shirts." Check it all out at -- where else -- http://www.y2khype.com.