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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Countdown Y2K
Author:
Peter de Jager&Richard Bergeon
ISBN:
0 471 32734 4
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
330pp
Price:
£19-50
Reviewer:
Francis Glassborow
Subject:
technology
Appeared in:
11-4
The publisher's claim that this book is 'Timely, Practical, Reliable'. Let me tackle each part of that claim.

Certainly this book has a very limited shelf life. Indeed if you go out and buy it the moment you see this review you will have less than seven months use from it. Assuming that you set about reading your copy immediately you will have at most six months left. By the time you have tackled your management time will have run out. The book may have been timely at the time that it went to publication but it is now only useful to those that accept that there is a problem and one that they need to tackle at the highest priority.

Practical? Well yes. The authors list many tests and things to do. What are the most critical dates? We have already passed January 9th and April 9th and I guess you know about September 9th but what about the others (for example the first date next year whose representation (dd/mm/yyyy) will require the full 8 digits)?

Of course one thing that the Y2K problem does is to focus our minds on many management issues. The chapter on 'Managing the Fix' would be well worth study for its general benefits.

Chapter 10 (2000: A Tool Odyssey) contains a lot of valuable information about the type of tools you might have available and how they are specifically relevant to the Y2K problem.

Reliable? Well certainly much more reliable than some of our software and hardware. The strongest message from reading this book is that you should no take things on trust. Understand the problem, test and correct.

One possible side-effect of the Y2K problem is that it may weed out some of the more incompetent companies. If managers choose to remain ignorant then they deserve to take the blame for the consequences. As one of my colleagues said last year 'The only truly surprising thing will be if there are no problems with the Y2K.' If your company does not already have a fully planned set of procedures for tackling Y2K problems, get this book, read it at once and start working through its check lists etc. Finally learn enough so that you will never be caught with this kind of problem again.