Here's to you

Here's to you

Thomas R. Temin

Doing anything fun on New Year's Eve?

A lot of federal workers won't be, especially because the rules don't allow champagne to be consumed in government offices. That's where thousands of your colleagues will be, making sure no date code problems pop up at the last minute.

Over the past few months, I have asked scores of chief information officers, program and technology managers, and network administrators where they'll be on New Year's Eve. I'm surprised at how many said they'll be at work.

This holiday is shaping up to be paradoxical. Thousands of government workers will be on the job, joined by countless others in industry, to ensure an uneventful evening. Meanwhile, tour operators and hotel and travel promoters selling once-in-a-lifetime 'millennial' parties and getaway packages have many rooms and ship berths still unbooked.

But ask yourself: What will make a better story for your grandchildren, downing an overpriced dinner and partying in a crowded hotel ballroom, or working to make sure that vital systems, on which millions of people depend, keep running?

All in all, the government has exhibited a workmanlike effort in dealing with year 2000 problems. True, some agencies needed the unsubtle prodding of Congress. Others spent too much.

But most came through with their systems in better shape than before. Some careers were made; some reputations were burnished. It isn't comparable to, say, mobilizing for a war, but it has a certain grandeur nonetheless.

We at GCN will also work on New Year's Eve. Reporters will travel to offices throughout government, reporting to our Silver Spring, Md., office about how the rollover goes. On Jan. 1 you'll be able to read about it all on our Web site, at www.gcn.com.

In fact, if you are working that night and have some news, send me an e-mail message at editor@gcn.com.

It's probably against company rules, but I plan to pop the cork off some champagne here at GCN's office that night'after we finish editing and posting the stories.

When I do, I'll toast the valiant efforts of GCN's readers.

Thomas R. Temin

Editorial director

Internet: editor@gcn.com

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