close this bookVolume 7: No. 85
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View the documentEvents and timely news

President Clinton plans to order federal agencies to "reprogram" hundreds of millions of dollars -- appropriated for other technological purposes -- to fix their Year 2000 problems. [Ottawa Sun, 12Dec97. EduP.]

A British National Health Service (NHS) study has found the Year 2000 problem to be beyond its budget and skills. Fixing life-support machines, hospital lifts, and doctors' desktop computers could cost half a billion (?) pounds -- or even more, if the fix isn't done until lives start being lost. NHS believes that the rest of the world is even worse off. [Reuters (London), 10Dec97. Bill Park.]

"Yep, kids, in my day, we talked to computers by cutting holes in pieces of cardboard." -- Le Conconcombre Masquee'. [Bill Park , 10Nov97.]

Gartner Group estimates that 30% of all companies internationally have not yet begun to deal with Year 2000 issues. London IT psychologist David Lewis estimates that two in five business leaders are "Internots," still in denial. As an example of the problems that "Y2K stragglers" may face, Brian Wengenroth of Booz, Allen & Hamilton cites a large oil company which recently discovered that thousands of its refinery oil valve controllers will need new chips. However, new chips don't work on the old motherboards, and the new motherboards don't fit the old valves -- so the valves have to be replaced as well. [Bronwyn Fryer, 08Dec97. Paul Milne ,, 11Dec97.] (How long will it take the valve company to fill all new orders from all its customers? Milne says "Membership is now available in 'The Former Optimists Society.' Applications will not be taken after Dec 31, 1999.")

Jim Rivera points out that COBOL programmers tend to be accounting-savvy and business-aware in a way that C/C++ programmers are not. While the hardcore developers were taking classes in data structures and algorithms, the COBOL-minded were studying advanced accounting and business methods, etc. MIS-related background info may be needed to effectively debug business code. Besides, you can do a better job if you're interested in the applications and the programming culture. [,, 09Dec98.]

If you're in it strictly for the money, become a SAP programmer. SAP is a business application, with models for factory machines and processes as well as inventory and accounting concepts. Pay is "... lots more than any of the rates discussed here." [Harlan Smith ,, 09Dec97.]