Riding the technology waveP.J. Campagnayear 2000, Y2K, compliance, Shield 2000 Are you ready for the year 2000? It's okay to admit you haven't started to prepare your computer systems for the millennium-most small businesses haven't. Even the government has not focused on PC compliance, working on the servers and mainframes, and leaving small business, which relies on the PC to run the entire office, essentially on our own. Would it surprise you to learn that Windows 95 and Windows 98 are non-compliant? Would it shock you to learn that the major computer stores still have non-compliant hardware on the shelves and are still selling PCs with a two digit real time clock!?! If you are like me, your concerns have included hospitals being able to admit and have accurate records for patients, the FAA keeping flights on schedule, and municipalities keeping traffic lights working smoothly. Let's not forget loan servicing records and default tracking and crediting your deposits accurately! Ask yourself some crucial questions: *Is all your unique data backed up-not once, but twice? *Could you run your business efficiently if your computer systems were down for a week? *Do you have someone you trust to help get your computer up and running should your systems fail on January 2? *Should you be worried about that PC you recently purchased? The old adage "forewarned is forearmed" does not necessarily apply here, as many companies are certifying the equipment to be compliant, when in actuality it is not. Just as you would get a second opinion before having surgery, I recommend that you double- check your office systems with an independent third-party diagnosis of any PC that uses DOS, Windows 3.x, 95, 98 and NT. Many firms have chosen an expensive path for their Y2K solution by outfitting all their branches with new computers and with expensive laptops for their "road warriors." Is this enough? I have found a quick, comprehensive diagnosis software called Shield 2000 that will run five crucial tests on your hardware and software, and lists every component that fails the compliance test. This diagnosis is free and, should you need a "fix," this warranted hardware has an affordable hardware solution for most machines and a software fix for laptops. P.J. Campagna is president of Innovative Mortgage Inc. and founder of Innovative Internet. She can be contacted at (713) 271-6633 or via E-mail at [email protected].