November 11, 1999

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


Many people were amazed last week that Microsoft's stock did not plummet to worthlessness upon word the government has declared it a monopoly. The reason it lost less than 5% of its value is that sales are absolutely fantastic for new computers. The reason for the current end of the year rush in computer sales is good old Y2K. Many people, upon testing out their antique computers, have decided to just buy new computers rather than try and update their operating systems and BIOS. That is probably a good idea if your machine is over five years old.

However, there are many folks who are dumping perfectly good computers because they are the victims of Consultants and Experts. Unfortunately, there are a good number of consultants who are more interested in making money than in keeping the customer's needs in mind. For word processing and many other hum drum chores a 100 MHz computer is more than enough. In Ely, with our snail Internet connections, the speed of a 100 MHz computer is not much different than a 350 MHz computer. It is the slow pace of your Internet connection that makes Internet surfing so painful.

I feel it is terribly unethical to push someone into a faster computer when the things they do are not going to be noticeably faster. Even in Ely I have heard of "Consultants" wheeling and dealing clients into expensive new systems.

Granted, a new computer is a wonder. I recently got an upgraded workstation at work and it is fantastic. However, I have expanded my duties to creating missing Student Cards complete with digital photographs. My old workstation would have buckled if I had tried photos. It could barely print a text document. Now I can have two or three applications open and quickly accomplish more in less time. However, most people are not into making complex graphics or multi-tasking.

If it were not for the Y2K thing, many people would not be buying a new computer. They would be happily doing what they need to do without spending an arm and a leg.

As a public service and in order to save a few good souls from these predatory consultants, I want to offer some free solutions. The first thing that can go wrong on your computer on January 1, 2000 is the BIOS. The BIOS is the first program the computer runs to become intelligent. It makes the computer look for the hard drive and find Windows. I have posted on an Internet page a quick test that you can download and run to check your BIOS. It changes the date on your computer to several seconds before January 1, 2000 and then lets the computer reach 2000 during the test. Afterward, it returns your clock back to the present. It will then tell you if your computer BIOS worked or not. If your computer fails the test you should contact the manufacturer of the computer. The fastest way to do that is on the Internet. Most of the big computer companies have Y2K patches for their product. On my Y2K Resource Page I have several links to the bigger computer companies Y2K programs.

If you don't think Bill Gates ever gave you anything for free, check out the Microsoft Y2K patch program for Windows 95 and 98. I have that link on my page as well.

Symantec makes a program called Norton 2000 that can check your operating system and programs for Y2K. It can give you a list of who you need to contact for fixes. You can get it on for about $20.00.

At software site called "TUCOWS" there are many programs you can download for free to try out. Several do the same as Norton 2000. The address for TUCOWS is In the search line type "Y2K" and it will list the programs you can try.

For my free BIOS test go to Y2K_Resource.html. At this site you can request my test program as well as go to the major computer manufacturers' sites for Y2K.

Of course, those of your who "Think Different" can sit back and act smug. Apple Computers have been Y2K complaint since Day One. Someday, I would not be surprised to find out that Bill Gates knew about the Y2K problem way back in the DOS days and planned to cash in on this way back then. It would take a class action suit and about a million years in court to settle, but maybe all us Windows victim will get a big Check! I bet it will be at least $12.00 after court fees.


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