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April 28, 1997

TOURING THE YEAR-2000 SITES

By now, you should be well-acquainted with how the year-2000 bug could foul your computer records. But will it strike you? And if so, how can you defend against it? With those practical questions in mind, Business Week Online visited the four sites listed in "It's 2000. Do You Know Where Your Deliveries Are?"

Peter de Jager's Year 2000 Page (www.year2000.com)
The biggest site of the bunch, de Jager's features and links can be exhausting. Start your visit at the site's archives, which get beyond the generalities of year-2000 issues and into the specifics of diagnosing and averting a millenial meltdown. Perhaps most useful to a small-business owner are the extensive links to local user-groups and year-2000 consultants. Of lesser interest are features tied to the year-2000 industry itself, such as computer consulting companies' stock listings and their press releases.

An electronic countdown clock presides over the page, lending it a doomsday quality, a neat promotional gimmick for the year-2000 industry. Fear sells, after all. That doesn't make the site any less useful, but don't immediately a panic without really investigating how year-2000 might affect you. Luckily, de Jager's page will help you do that, too.

The Information Technology Association of America (www.itaa.org/year2000.htm)

This site contains a straightforward look at general year-2000 issues, but its strongest asset is its list of nearly 100 year-2000 consultants. Also useful is its information on company certification. As a neutral, third-party group, the ITAA tests companies on their year-2000 methods. Ones that meet the standards are deemed certified, and a list of those companies appears online. Though sparse now, the list promises to grow in the months ahead. Unfortunately, the site's weekly newsletter has not been updated since Mar. 7.

Unisys (www.unisys.com/marketplace/year2000/)
A solid site with emphasis (as expected) on upgrading Unisys software to meet year-2000 conditions. A list of regional, year-2000 user groups is neatly organized by location. Actual programming tools are also included, though these seem too complicated for the average user. One nice feature is a list of the company's software that is "year-2000 ready." This type of product listing should be a welcome addition to any software company's Web site. In all, the site may be too technical for most small-business owners, but it's worth a visit for the user-group list. After all, not even a Web site can beat a real person for explaining a new idea or offering advice.

Digital Consulting's Year 2000 Issues and Answers Conference and Expo Page (www.dciexpo.com/2000AD)

Conference listings are few but elaborate. Be sure to check out a special "millennium counter" that simulates an actual year-2000 crash.


OTHER YEAR-2000 SITES
The federal government year-2000 page (http://www.itpolicy.gsa.gov/mks/yr2000/y201toc1.htm)

Lots of government jargon here, but a useful set of links to state-government sites and federal agencies.

Y2K Cinderella Project (http://www.cinderella.co.za/)
Advocates a novel approach to fighting the year-2000 problem: Halting current hardware and software sales until all computers are year-2000 compliant.

By Dennis Berman in New York


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