Y2K OK, but what about other date problems?

We may think of the Y2K problem as happening once every hundred years, but fixing it may be only a short term solution to a long term problem.

ComputerWorld spoke with two users about the choice between short-term fixes for year 2000 problems and long term options.

According to Richard Ireson, IT manager at Victorian based mining company Centaur Mining & Expoloration, the organisation opted for a plan which fitted neatly with the already existing IT strategy of the company.

"Our [Y2K] plan is within a five year strategy . . . we remediate as many problems as we can," Ireson said.

According to Ireson, Centaur Mining works on a three year IT strategy. Hardware system are upgraded fairly regularly and software is looked over a 10 year perspective, Ireson said.

"We thought into the long term perspective, but 10 years was good enough," Ireson told ComputerWorld.

Ireson said an issue for the mining company to consider was the life span of mines.

Although problems may occur in 30 years time, in the mining game, a mine may expire before then, Ireson said.

Roger Machin, IT manager at Crane Enfield Metals in New South Wales said his organisation had chosen a combination of short term and long term solutions.

A long term fix was used for the main system, whereas short term fixes specified by software manufacturers were used for PCs and other systems, Machin said.

Machin said Crane Enfield Metals is "basically trying for the long term" solution by upgrading to new software and system versions as they are released.

" [Our] machines get upgraded when necessary, anything that's not Y2K compliant now - if it's a critical machine it will get fixed. If it's not a critical machine, it will be also replaced at the present time," Machin said.

"If they ever find any more bugs after the year 2000, which is highly likely, we'll then have to consider them [those bugs] as well."

When asked about the issue of replacement costs for new fixes, Machin said cost wasn't a large factor considered by the company.

"I think we're just trying to put things in place so its covered as far [forward] as we can and then try and hopefully have things ready to roll if anything else moves along," Machin said.

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