Who's afraid of Y2K?

Concerned about air travel when the millennium changes? A top Federal Aviation Administration official is fastening his seat belt in case of date-change turbulence. Ray Long, the FAA's year 2000 program office director, said he will monitor his work from an airplane on the evening of December 31, 1999. Long said he will be on a regularly scheduled transcontinental flight when computer clocks click over to January 1, 2000.

It gets worse?

The corporation that was Visix Software has dissolved. But its executors are still tightly guarding the defunct company's secrets. When one Visix user recently posted an offer to provide Visix Galaxy source code in a Galaxy user group, he received an E-mail from Visix President Deborah Luth Bedell that stated, "Your blatant disregard of your [confidentiality agreement] obligations has the potential to cause severe damage to Visix."

Thanks for clarifying that

Microsoft is rating some of its products on their year 2000 compliance. In a press conference last week, Jason Matusow, Microsoft year 2000 strategy manager, addressed problems with Word 5 for DOS. He noted that if a file is created after the year 2000, the file format will be corrupted and will eventually tear down the operating system. "This does not meet our compliance standards," he said.

I'm a Navigator, you're a Navigator

Netscape is apparently going to have to share the Navigator name with MineShare, a start-up that announced a data mart software suite recently. Its data analysis tool is called MineShare Navigator, and co-founder David Mariani said he doesn't fear any legal strikes by Netscape over the moniker. "We own it, dammit," he said. MineShare may consider changing the name, but Mariani said that its second choice presented the same kind of overlap. That name: Explorer.

Virtually yours

The choices users have for building virtual private networks (VPN) will grow this week as networking power Ascend Communications enters the market with products for users and service providers that are designed to make VPNs easy to use. Heavy hitter VPnet Technologies is expected to join Ascend in unveiling VPN wares this week. The news comes just one week after 3Com announced additional VPN technology features for its router line.

Mayday!

Here's another potential disaster to put on the help-desk calendar along with those date-triggered viruses. A group allied with Mexico's Zapatista National Liberation Army is seeking worldwide electronic insurrection on May 10, the FBI said this week. The group urges those sympathetic with the revolutionaries to swamp government and bank computer systems in the U.S. and Mexico via the Internet on that day.

Microsoft tool updates

Microsoft is expected to roll out new versions of Visual C++ and Visual Basic development tools in June. And inside reports hold that each new version will bring the tools' environments closer to a shared common ground.

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