| Beat the Clock

“We’re saying
it’s going to be broke, and you got to go fix it,” Dave Brumitt told the
audience at a recent SAS Users Group International conference.

SAS Institute is still reviewing its source code and incorporating minor C language
fixes into SAS System Version 8, which will be ready for general release this fall.
Officials described the new code as maintenance fixes for “little odds and ends”
that most SAS users would not notice.

SAS System Version 7 and the 6.09E, 6.11 and 6.12 releases all meet SAS’
definition of year 2000 readiness, provided they run under year 2000-ready operating
systems. Brumitt, director of technical support for SAS, advised users to check the Cary,
N.C., company’s Web site at www.sas.com for year 2000 updates every day, if possible.

Year check. In addition to visiting the Web site daily, SAS users
should ask their systems administrators to look for the line YEARCUTOFF=option wherever it
appears in SAS code. The cutoff year chosen should be the same in all versions of SAS
software running and it should be a year between 1901 and 1999 that is appropriate to the
organization’s data processing requirements.

“The year cutoff option is the primary way people deal with two-digit years in
their SAS applications without having to convert to four-digit years, although we do
recommend the latter,” said Rick Langston, SAS senior systems developer and procedure
interface manager.

Using the year cutoff windowing option, which has been part of the SAS System since
1989, users can change the value to suit their applications. In Version 7, SAS changed the
default cutoff from 1900 to 1920.

Too many windows. If the year cutoff option is set for 1900, the
software will read, say, a two-digit year written 15 as 1915. If the cutoff option is set
to 1920, SAS will read it as 2015.

SAS also recommends storing all date information as SAS date variables. The conversion
might require modifying subsequent statements in programs, but doing so will prevent
trouble later, according to SAS officials.

Users also should test their SAS interfaces to databases that store information as
character strings or numerics.

SAS application programs that are not year 2000-ready will likely still run after Jan.
1, 2000. “SAS is pretty resilient that way,” Brumitt said, but the program
results might not be accurate.

—Florence Olsen

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