From Computing and Communication Services
The year 2000 is fast approaching. By now, you probably know what the Year 2000 (or Y2K) bug is. Starting in the 1960s, many computer programs wrote dates out as MM-DD-YY, instead of MM-DD-YYYY. As a result, some computer programs, as well as machinery with built-in clocks and computer controllers (“embedded processors”), may fail to recognize that the year “00” is the year 2000, not 1900.
You may be wondering if your St. Thomas desktop computer is ready to face the year 2000. Here is your answer: Yes!
To inventory equipment, set priorities for fixing and replacing it, and plan for contingencies, the university formed the Y2K Review Committee. The Y2K Review Committee worked with an external consultant to complete the inventory, as well as to determine what would need to be replaced before Jan. 1, 2000. The Y2K Review Committee also handled budgeting, external relations and communication. In November 1998, the Y2K Review Committee sent a letter to all budget managers asking them to make an inventory of equipment in their department with embedded processors, and to identify any computer equipment or software applications that were not provided by Computing and Communication Services.
To address desktop computing issues, the CCS Y2K Desktop Team was formed. The mission of this team was to identify Y2K issues for desktop computers, including both hardware and software issues. This team met with the same external consultant who had worked with the Y2K Review Committee, to identify and prioritize major issues. The CCS Y2K Desktop Team also researched all standard university software, as well as some non-standard software that is used on campus.
The findings of the CCS Y2K Desktop Team are as follows:
- All standard applications (which are installed on leased equipment before delivery) are Y2K compliant, or compliant with minor issues. (“Compliant with minor issues” is a Microsoft term which means that everything should work, but some things might look a little funny.)
- All desktop hardware that is leased without special circumstances is Y2K compliant. (A “special circumstance” is when CCS was scheduled to replace your computer, but you requested that the replacement be delayed because you needed it for a special project or were unable to back up necessary files. These computers are flagged in the CCS inventory database and we make no claims that they will be Y2K compliant.)
- The FileMaker Pro application is compliant. However, the application does not enforce compliance in database creation, so some FileMaker Pro databases may be noncompliant.
- Basically, the CCS Y2K Desktop Team found that Y2K shouldn’t cause any major problems for St. Thomas desktop computers. However, if you have created databases in FileMaker Pro or Microsoft Access, these databases may have problems depending on how you formatted them when you set them up. To find out more about Y2K software issues, visit the St. Thomas Y2K Web site at http://department.stthomas.edu/ccs/www-y2k/software.htm. For FileMaker Pro questions, go to the FileMaker Web site at http://www.filemakerpro.com/support/index.html.
Of course, it’s impossible for anyone to know exactly what will happen on Jan. 1, 2000, but we’re confident that St. Thomas desktop computers will operate as normal. CCS does have a contingency plan set up in case some computers get "sick" after Jan. 1, and will replace machines as necessary and appropriate.
If you think you have a Y2K problem with your St. Thomas desktop computer after Jan. 1, please call the Help Desk at (651) 962-6230, and they will send someone over to research the issue for you. Please remember that not all problems are Y2K related and that CCS may not be responsible for Y2K issues caused by databases or non-standard software. However, CCS will make every effort possible to get your computer in working order or to direct you to resources that can.
Happy New Year!