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   Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019 U.S.V.I. Business & Career Guide    

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Y2K – Ready or Not?
by Richard J. Archer, Diseño Digital Group

     A great deal has been made of potential Year 2000 (Y2K) computer failures and the measures being taken to avoid them but most articles in the press focus on large corporate and government computer systems. Sadly, the average small business has done little, if anything, to evaluate its Y2K exposure.
     
     If you are a small business owner without an extensive knowledge of computers, here is some information about FREE tools to help you determine which (if any) problems to expect on the 1st of January.
     
     Hardware Issues
     
     The computer's built-in, real-time hardware clock provides information to the system BIOS firmware, which in turn provides the date and time to the operating system when the computer is first turned on (booted). Depending on the vintage of its BIOS, a computer may be totally compliant, partially compliant or non-compliant.
     
     Totally compliant: This means that the computer will advance the date from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000 normally at midnight and will retain the year 2000 whenever it is turned off after the turn of the century.
     
     Partially Compliant: This means that the computer can store and retain 21st century dates but automatic roll-over at midnight on New Year's Eve will not occur. The computer must be shut down and restarted, and the date manually set, on January 1, 2000. A more severe variation is where the 21st century date must be set every time the computer is turned on.
     
     Non-Compliant: This means that the computer is not capable of maintaining the century portion of the date and will most likely report 21st century dates as 1980 rather than 2000. Computers that exhibit this condition will report incorrect dates to programs like Word, Excel, accounting software and the like.
     
     National Software Testing Laboratories, a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies, has made available a very easy-to-use program for testing your computer's level of compliance. It checks for all the conditions listed above as well as some others. To download this FREE program from our Web site, go to http://www.diseno.com/digital and then click on the Y2K icon.
     
     Software Issues
     
     Any software package that depends on dates to make decisions or calculate results must be tested for Y2K compliance. If you use an accounts receivable package it probably determines your customers' past due situation by computing the difference between the charge date and the current date. The difference between December 15, 1999 and January 15, 2000 is significantly different that the difference between December 15, 1999 and January 15, 1980! As you can see, a non-compliant computer would make all your past-due customers suddenly current.
     
     Because software exists from many different vendors and in many different versions, determining compliance is a much greater challenge. You may even have some software that is compliant and other software that is not on the same computer.
     
     The best way to determine if your software is Y2K compliant is to contact the vendor or supplier and ask. Be sure to have your version number available before you make the inquiry. Many popular software vendors have Y2K compliance statements on their Web sites and any reputable vendor will have a software upgrade available that is fully Y2K compliant. Be aware, though, that these upgrades may not be free.
     
     Some vendors, like Microsoft Corporation, have made available programs that will analyze your computer's software and notify you of any of their products that are not compliant. Microsoft's Y2KScan package even suggests what steps need to be taken to correct Y2K deficiencies.
     
     To download this FREE program from Web site, go to http://www.diseno.com/digital and then click on the Y2K icon.
     
     
     

Make Your Finances Y2K Ready, Too
   Keep Cash on Hand. Anticipating potential short-term delays relating to Y2K, consumers are advised to keep enough cash on hand in case there are interruptions in credit card transactions and ATMs. Make a list of all expenses and ensure that you have enough cash on hand to cover about a month's worth.
  
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Y2K – Ready or Not?
   There are some simple steps you can take now to help avoid problems and embarrassment in January. If you are not comfortable downloading software from the Internet, seek out the advice of a local consultant who can advise you. Or you may contact servingyou@diseno.com
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