Re: TW role in Y2K issues

Subject: Re: TW role in Y2K issues
From: Jay Mead <jlmead -at- OURAY -dot- CUDENVER -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 7 May 1997 14:58:08 -0600

On Wed, 7 May 1997, Eric Haddock, Q.P. wrote:

> Maybe I missed something about year 2000 but I thought its effect was
> contained in antiquated mainframe software which, generally, is only used
> by the federal government, some state governments, and ultra-large
> database-driven corporations and of those entities, how many technical
> writers document the operation of such software? It seems to me we're
> almost all employed in corporations using modern software documenting
> modern devices which aren't dependent on the what the last two digits of
> the year are.

While I agree with the main point of your post--the Y2K problems won't
have a large impact on tech writers--I have to disagree with the point you
make above. The Y2K problem will affect, in one way or another, many,
many companies.
Examples: Any company using the IBM MVS operating system with COBOL or
other code from the last decade or before (and that is thousands of
organizations); nearly all banks and other financial cos.; the military
(which has come in for much praise for their Y2K work lately); all state
gov'ts (of which I recently read thirty-something are at this date totally
unprepared); and in fact nearly all the Fortune 1000 companies.

But writers may not feel huge impact (unlike COBOL programmers), because
it's all back-end work--specs may need a lot of update, but not many user
docs. I write and edit my company's internal Y2K newsletter, and that's
likely as much writing as will be done about this. If you want
to cash in on the $600 billion that Gartner Group says
will be spent on Y2K projects in the next three years, brush off your
COBOL and Assembler skills...

Jay Mead
Galileo International
jay -dot- mead -at- den -dot- galileo -dot- com

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