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"Year 2000 in a Nutshell", Norman Shakespeare, 1998, 1-56592-421-5,
%A   Norman Shakespeare
%C   103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA   95472
%D   1998
%G   1-56592-421-5
%I   O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O   U$19.95/C$29.95 800-998-9938 707-829-0515 nuts@ora.com
%P   336 p.
%T   "Year 2000 in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference"

*Can* the Year 2000 problem be put in a nutshell?  (Please?)

And isn't it just a tad late to be starting this?  (On the other hand,
Nutshell books *are* generally worth waiting for.)

Part one is a general overview of the situation.  Chapter one starts
with a rather exaggerated doomsday scenario, including concerns that
have already been seen, and thus have been addressed.  At the same
time, it ignores the "upstream" multiplier effect of supplier and
infrastructure failures.  However, it does go on to note needs and
concerns for management of the potential failures.  Management and
budgeting considerations are expanded in chapter two.  Legal questions
are addressed in chapter three, in a somewhat generic fashion.  Some
standard planning models and assumptions are given in chapter four.  A
little technical information in chapter five may help with
calculations for dates and windowing or packing solutions.  Chapter
six looks at the desktop PC; which is interesting in view of a very
heavy COBOL and IBM mainframe and mid-range emphasis elsewhere (as
well as a few PC related goofs in the doomsday scenario). 
Unfortunately, some of the information is missing and some is wrong in
regard to the desktop.  There is no mention of a "cold rollover" test
for the CMOS/system date, and the statement about Excel's date
interpretation is incorrect.  (I have confirmed this in my own
testing.)  On the other hand, the warning about internally developed
applications is quite important.

Part two provides some forms and checklists to help organize a Year
2000 project, including triage, inventory, and a project template. 
There are about a hundred pages of COBOL references and tutorial in
part three.  Date functions get extensive listings in part four with
attention to general types, COBOL, PL/1, MVS LE, Visual Basic, and C. 
There is a conceptual look at code scanners in chapters eighteen and
nineteen.  An appendix lists Web sites for Y2K vendors, tools, and
other resources.

Was it worth waiting for this?  I'm not sure.  There is little wrong
with the information, but neither is this a cut and dried quick fix
that you might expect from the Nutshell series.  An unrealistic
expectation in the case of the disaster of the century, admittedly,
but there you are.  Still, with the big iron emphasis, and the big
project orientation, the material is this work seems to be coming
later than it would have been necessary to start these kinds of
projects.  There is relatively little in the volume for small
businesses depending upon desktop machines, and almost nothing on
fallback plans for non-compliance in the supply chain.  The material
is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't go as far as it needs to at
this late date.

On the other hand, it's no worse than any of the others.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998   BKY2KNSH.RVW   981030