My research shows a dramatic increase in these kinds of contracts and in contract
bundling overall. With fewer feet on the street, small companies have a heck of a time
competing with the large companies for tasks, particularly as the large companies dive
deeper and deeper into the lake to feed. And the small companies are so busy pursuing
business they have few resources available to plow new ground to test the legality of the
new FAR provisions.

Paul Murphy
Eagle Eye Publishers Inc.
Vienna, Va.

In the editorial, “The sky will not fall’’ [GCN, July 27, Page 24], Tom Temin wrote: “There are signs that the professional scare
consultants ought to find other work’’ and that a “couple of recent
developments show that—whether despite the scare or because of it—government
agencies and other large institutions are making progress.’’ That doesn’t
do much to reassure me or anyone else who has been studying the potential impact of year

The contention that “Congress, or at least some members, appear to be getting
bored with the 2000 issue’’ is not necessarily a cause for rejoicing but may be
a cause for greater concern.

This wall isn’t moving, folks. Come 11:59:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, 1999, we’re
hitting the year 2000 in the next second, and if we’re not ready, there’s no
second chance. As Temin wrote, “Getting big transaction systems to the point of
testing the applications on time machines is no small feat.’’ Precisely. And the
feat that Wall Streeters and others will have to perform looks more impossible each
day—and the clock keeps ticking.

You accuse the people who imply that the sky will fall of being professional scare
consultants and computer Armageddon types. Go to http://www.year2000.com,
read “The National and Global Implications of the Year 2000 Embedded Systems
Crisis’’ by Paula D. Gordon and tell her that she doesn’t know what
she’s talking and writing about.

Temin wrote, “The date code problem is real. It is the hype that’s starting
to sound unreal and shopworn, hype that in recent months has taken on fantastic
proportions. One widely quoted consultant is predicting that date code problems will spur
an economic recession or meltdown.’’

Well, maybe they’re writing and saying these things because they’ve seen the
problem for what it is. It doesn’t matter how tired one might get of hearing the
hype, as he called it. That’s like saying that smoking really won’t cause cancer
or fatty foods won’t cause heart attacks because smokers and eaters are getting tired
of hearing doctors and scientists saying that they should stop smoking or stop eating at
fast food restaurants. The only issue is: Are the things they are saying and writing true?
And nowhere in your column do you provide any data to support your claim that the sky will
not fall.

You’re right, though, when you say that “time has run out for starting from
scratch.’’ Where we are now has pretty much determined where we’re going to
be in 17 months. And it doesn’t look pretty.

You conclude with: “Agencies are in the home stretch of getting the job done, and
so the pressure to reach the finish line must continue.’’ Where’s the
proof? Which agencies? If they’re in the home stretch, why are you so concerned that
the pressure to reach the finish line continues?

Hey, we can take it easy for the next 17 months if we’re in the home stretch.

You may be right that the sky will not fall, but nothing in your column supports that,
and many things you said and left unsaid indicate that we’ll be lucky if the sky does
not fall.

Eric Weiss
Computer specialist
Administration for Children and Families
Health and Human Services Department



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