guest commentary: Return of the Silver Bullet Theory

There may be a Y2K solution on the horizon, though the more I ask, the more I can get no concrete information from the inventor. I have not stopped trying... for the Silver Bullet, of course!

After hearing there would be no silver bullet, imagine my surprise, scouring Peter de Jager’s web site for information, only to find this link under “Late Breaking News”: January 25, 1999 - Silver Bullet Patent Issued For Speedy Year 2000

I took the bait, and the link and got some information on the patent, and then took the next link to, the web site of record. Then I got hit with a “Our Web Site has Moved to HERE” message with a hit counter registering 4868 (April 23, 1999) on the bottom of the page. I clicked on HERE and came to

This excerpt from a press release that I found there looked interesting:

Y2K SILVER BULLET PATENT ISSUED…PHOENIX, AZ, January 25, 1999--/Y2K WIRE/--Inventor Roger Brown’s long wait ended today when the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) awarded him the first Year 2000 (Y2K) Silver Bullet Patent, patent #5,852,824. His patent application was the only Y2K patent to have passed through the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and been granted without any questions…

I must say I was excited. The web site has lots of good information. One key piece of information is that QIPP runs on the AS/400, as well as anything else. It notes that it uses a Windowing scheme under the covers and does not need any source code to work. Thus, it can actually resurrect dead, non-compliant code after the turn of the century. It is being billed as the solution for EURO as well as the solution for countries who will not be compliant, but who wish to remain in business without being compliant.

COMMTEC suggests that their product (QIPP) can enable computer shops to postpone their Y2K conversion indefinitely until the cost of IT services for Y2K are more reasonable. This is an interesting idea. However, they also say that it takes between three and six months to install their fix, so, the bullet does not appear to be gun capable. I suspect we must mount it on a turtle’s back. This concerns me. Though I am still very intrigued. I hope it is real.

Using a windowing technique, the product can work within a 200 year date range, since they also use negative numbers in the solution (plus and minus 100 gives a 200 range). It can coexist with most packages which change source code using four digit years. Thus, if you are using BYPASS2000, IBM’s tool or another tool, if you do not make your deadline, QIPP can rescue you from being out of business. According to COMMTEC, you can run QIPP until you have completed your conversion, at which time, you can discontinue its use.

Thus, the silver bullet merely keeps you in business, it does not take away the need to fix the problem. If you have decided to use a Q&D approach like source windowing yourself, unfortunately, you are out of luck. Since QIPP is a windowing tool itself, the two window schemes would yield inaccurate results. Thus, if you were expecting not to finish your source windowing conversion in time, you might want to go back to your pre-converted source and object code, and if QIPP is right for you, convert using another method which is compatible.

Though the web site information is extensive, for the questions I had, the information was not crystal clear. There is no doubt that QIPP is an expensive solution. That made me better since it looks more real at the high price. An AS/400 version for example, might cost, in the neighborhood of $30,000 to $60,000 per month to use QIPP. They also have a line of code pricing variant but it too is priced high.

The moral is: If you are not ready, and if QIPP is the only tool which will keep you in business, you will pay dearly for the right to continue in business. But, hopefully, it will do the job.

Wanting so much to find out more about QIPP and the company, I asked for a quote but it’s been over a week and I did not get a quote yet. I called several times, but there is a long holding time. One time I held, and was finally connected to a receptionist, who again put me on hold for awhile. I asked to speak with marketing. The receptionist said that she could put me through to Roger. I thought that would be just fine to talk to the inventor. After awhile she said that Roger is not picking up. I asked to speak with somebody else. She said I’d have to speak with Roger. I asked if they were selling the product just yet. She said that I’d have to talk to Roger. I guess Roger is the one to talk to!

I’m hoping that I get to talk to Roger real. If this is real solution and not a scam, I would hope that Roger is in the process of selling this to IBM or COMPAQ or HP or EDS or somebody who can deal with marketing the service in the short time available before QIPP will become a moot point.

All I can say is I’d feel a lot better if I could speak to Roger, and discover that QIPP really is the silver bullet, and that the gun is on the way!