POWER USER

Here are more places to locate last-minute Y2K help on the Web

John McCormick

My last column dealt with last-minute year 2000 software fixes. Here are some helpful Web sites for other types of last-minute fixes.

• A General Services Administration site, at y2k.lmi.org/gsa/y2kproducts/category.cfm, has a readiness database of building-related items from entry controls to carbon dioxide and halon fire-suppression systems.

' The Chief Information Officers Council's Federal Y2K page, at www.y2k.policyworks.gov/, has a large database of commercial software readiness information, searchable by vendor or product.

' The Food and Drug Administration maintains a clearinghouse for biomedical equipment at www.fda.gov/cdrh/yr2000/y2kintro.html.

' A consumer-oriented database, at www.y2kbase.com/, contains data about automotive devices, appliances, office equipment and other electrical items. So far, it is mostly links for company sites, some of which I found less than comforting.

General Motors Corp.'s statement boiled down to, 'GM anticipates no problems with past, current or future model vehicles, and no significant disruption of GM's business as a result of the year 2000 problem.' That sounds a bit optimistic to me.

Some electronics vendor links I visited did go into detail, such as RCA's Thompson Consumer Electronics site, at www.nipper.com/y2kCOmp.asp. The site identified minor problems with videocassette recorders dating back to 1991 and 1992, for example.

' The Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association site, at www.cemacity.org/govt/cema2000.htm, confidently asserted that 'most consumer electronics products will not encounter problems with the 2000 date change.' But the site contradicted itself, saying, 'Only products using calendar year data may be affected ... VCRs, TV/VCR combinations, camcorders, fax machines, personal computers, and home automation and security products.'

' The American Red Cross year 2000 site, at www.redcross.org/Y2K.html, has good information and lots of links to other useful sites.

' Wisconsin maintains an interesting site, at datcp.state.wi.us/y2k/, with ways to test consumer devices you find around an office, plus links to many manufacturers' sites. The most striking thing is a report stating that 93 percent of pre-1997 PCs have year 2000 problems, and 47 percent of later models also do.

The RX2000 Solutions Institute maintains one of the few medical equipment sites, except for the FDA site mentioned above. At www.rx2000.org/, you can find out about pharmaceutical manufacturers and medical device and diagnostic equipment. You can even sign up for a free medical alert e-mail service.

The page, at www.rx2000.org/data/documents/submitted/15_devices.htm, shows a list of medical and lab devices such as defibrillators and blood gas analyzers that do not handle the date change properly.

' Top agency managers, in addition to checking GSA's building-related database, should visit www.boma.org/year2000/ for the Building Owners and Managers Association's view of the situation.

There are articles, as well as two booklets, you can order on facility preparedness. Checklists will help you quiz the landlords of buildings your agency rents. There is also a questionnaire to send to equipment suppliers.

For sheer shock value, take a look at the April member preparedness survey at www.boma.org/year2000/survey/year_2000_survey.htm.

' Electronic Data Systems Corp. maintains a searchable vendor database, at www.vendor2000.com/. It has contact information and a list of product readiness statements, along with significant information about who declared an item 2000-ready.

With tens of thousands of listings, the Vendor2000 site is a great place to begin a readiness search even if you are only looking for e-mail and Web addresses.

Perhaps none of the sites has exactly what you need today, but all are likely to reveal new information as time goes on. Check back occasionally.

John McCormick, a free-lance writer and computer consultant, has been working with computers since the early 1960s. E-mail him at poweruser@mail.usa.com.

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