Y2K Health Check

Time is running out. Whether you're a business or individual user, it is no longer enough to simply form a plan of action about Y2K.

Time is running out. Whether you're a business or individual user, it is no longer enough to simply form a plan of action about Y2K. You have to ensure that the plan is being executed right now. Among the hordes of Y2K Web sites, there are many that provide a wealth of information to assist you in learning about the Y2K problem.

Whether you have to deal with legal fallout from Y2K or want your family to be prepared for the worst, you can get the lowdown on the Web. Most Y2K-related sites provide links to other Y2K resources, so you can generally find what you're looking for without too much trouble.

Coping with Business and Legal Issues
Up to and even after the new millennium, businesses will be assessing and revisiting Y2K liability issues. Knowing your status as well as that of the partners, distributors, and major customers who influence your day-to-day operations can help you stay proactive about the Y2K problem. For a macro view of Y2K, check the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion and the Small Business Administration's Small Business Help for the Year 2000. Both provide good overviews of Y2K, the statuses of various government agencies, and steps toward assessing your own business. You'll also find links to sites covering local government and regional business issues.

The potential litigation resulting from Y2K is hair-raising. Questions about legal liability and preparedness, pending cases, and legislation can be answered at The Y2K Law Site, the Year 2000 Liability site, or 2000 Legal.com. Visit the Year 2000 Liability site and take its online test to weigh your legal preparedness.

Tackle Y2K on the Home Front
Aside from being ready for Y2K at work, you'll also want to be prepared for the effects at home. The Cassandra Project includes excellent individual-preparedness guidelines and information on neighborhood and community organizing--our best hope to spread awareness and avoid Y2K hysteria.

The American Red Cross has down-to-earth explanations of the potential effects of Y2K and how families can be prepared. Karen Anderson's Y2K for Women offers a nontechnical but practical perspective on dealing with Y2K. The site is ideal for any head of a household (not just women) who wants to learn about Y2K from the ground up.

Find Out if Your PCs Are Y2K Compliant
If your PCs and applications are Y2K compliant, you have a better shot at sailing through Y2K unscathed. To gain an understanding of Y2K compliance, visit the PC Year 2000 Alliance home page. Here you'll find definitions of compliance and links to Alliance member sites. There are hundreds of software tools for determining whether your hardware and software are Y2K compliant.

Check ZDY2K, the Ziff-Davis Y2K site, or CNET Y2K.com for links to Y2K product reviews and downloads. Two free utilities for checking and fixing your PC's hardware/BIOS compliance are Viasoft's OnMark 2000 BIOS Test & Fix and Symantec's BIOS Test and Fix.

A few tools even let you check compliance over the Web. The best online tool we've seen yet is McAfee's 2000 Toolbox Online, part of the McAfee Clinic. The online version of 2000 Toolbox is free for two weeks (you just have to register) and includes compliance analyzers for hardware, applications, databases, and spreadsheets. After the initial two week period, premium services are available for a yearly fee of $19.95 if you sign up before the end of September.

Getting Help
If you're behind the curve on Y2K, and you still want to assess your risk, fix date-sensitive programs, or test applications, or if you're just looking for some assistance dealing with Y2K, there are loads of sites covering general Y2K topics from current news to lists of Y2K consultancies. In addition to checking your hardware and software vendor sites for compliance statements, stay on top of Y2K current events at y2ktoday and Y2K News Magazine, which cover breaking Y2K news and offer discussion forums and daily talk-radio shows. Y2ktoday can also be personalized to filter industry-specific Y2K news.

A good source for technical details about compliance, solutions, contingency planning, and links to other Y2K resources is The MITRE Corporation's Year 2000 Homepage. For lists of vendors and Y2K consultants, check the aforementioned sites, the IT Association of America, or the Year 2000 Information Center.