Response Time

Concerning "Personal Computers and The Year 2000" by Michael Lips (February ESJ),Mr. Lips clearly defines the significant Y2K risks to which PC servers and desktops areexposed. Full replacement of hardware and software with the latest versions and upgradesdoes not guarantee elimination of problems. Cost ­ and the fact that few can reallyafford full replacement ­ aside, the frightening part is that better than 60 percent ofall business is conducted using PCs with an incredible variety of packaged and custom madeprograms. Latent date problems in more than 25 areas of business activity have potentialfor experiencing serious damage (10-70 percent probability of occurrence).

As Mr. Lips points out, even new Pentiums may have non-compliant BIOSES. Microsoft hasperpetuated errors in its spreadsheet product, Excel; Different software products andversions thereof use different windowing algorithms; Custom Software contains programmererrors in leap year rules, century turnover and windowing algorithms; Intricacies ofcustom written date logic on mainframes have been carried down to PCs; Vendor fixes cannotbe relied upon because of circumstances beyond their control...

Mr. Lips recommends that the PC repair process be as highly automated as possible. Heargues that tools must not only find the problem, but they must also make repairs. Hepoints out that manual fixes are expensive, time-consuming and may be unable to becompleted by century end for a variety of reasons.

Mr. Lips calls for repairs to be done under Windows 95, 98, NT, 3.1 and DOS. He urgescreation of an automated tracking and delivery system to identify location, deploy"fix-it" technology and survey the progress. After the fix, Mr. Lips supportsfix documentation stating that maintaining compliance is at least as important asestablishing it in the first.

There is now a tool available, which performs in the manner Mr. Lips describes. Shield2000 repairs hardware, firmware, operating systems, applications and custom code. It meetsthe BSI Definition for Year 2000 Conformity and has been tested by an independent testingfacility (KeyLabs) using IBM-compatible equipment and several software applications.

The ISA Bus Package is installed permanently free from viruses and software un-installconflicts. Shield 2000 performs 14 diagnostic tests on hardware (including BIOS, RTC/CMOS,Leap Year, data retention, operating system clock, power on/off, battery, etc.). Commandsin the code are repaired by analyzing the code line by line in common machine language.Then, Shield 2000 repairs the non-compliant code, enabling it to properly process datesfrom any century. New applications, upgrades and patches are handled in the same manner.By changing the "default century" to any 100-year period, Shield 2000 is usableto 9999.

Shield 2000 scans files for Y2K problems at the machine language level and creates apointer at each problematic location. When a potential problem is noted, the code isintercepted. The Shield 2000 device driver will then supply the Y2K-compliant code to theapplication while the application is running in memory. Shield 2000 works with Visual C++,Delphi, Visual Basic, MS-SQL, Oracle, Access, Paradox, Fox Pro, dBase, Powerbuilder,Sybase and other standard industry compilers. Shield 2000 works with Windows 3.x/95/98/NT,DOS, Novell and UNIX. System requirements are: IBM PC or compatible, 3.5" Floppy DiskDrive, 4 MB RAM and 10 MB Disk Space. The Hardware Test is performed on Windows3.x/95/98/NT, DOS, Novell and UNIX. The Software Test is performed on DOS, and Windows3.x/95/98.

Time is truly of the essence. Thank you for the opportunity to congratulate EnterpriseSystems Journal and Michael Lips for illuminating a critical area that has been thestepchild in Y2K remediation.

Farell Shaftel, President and General Counsel of The AmericanSolution, Inc., a direct selling agent for Shield 2000