Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Y2K: Then and now

While Peter de Jager goes back to the future, CAmagazine presents "Technovations" and a comprehensive review of ERP products

It was five years ago but I remember it well. A group of CAmagazine editors were meeting in the CICA's Manitoba Room with four IT specialists to plan the upcoming Information Technology issue. I was meeting two of them for the first time. One was Deryck Williams, now our technical editor for IT. But it was the other guy who really had everyone's attention that cold January day in 1994: Peter de Jager was explaining that virtually every computer in the world would shut down at midnight on December 31,1999 -unless....

The rest is almost history. De Jager went home to write "2000 or bust" (CAmagazine, August 1994), one of the first-ever articles about the millennium bug. He soon gained worldwide guru status on the subject as he crusaded for action, unafraid to use powerful metaphors that painted a picture more like the end of the world than the end of the century. So, since 2000 is almost here, we asked de Jager to re-read that article and write another telling us whether he's sticking to his guns or if he feels he had been off the mark. He agreed. In "Happy New Year?" (p. 22), he reflects on what has happened over five years, and assesses the situation today. We accompany this article with a condensation of "2000 or bust."

If you noticed your August issue was not the popular annual IT issue, you might have concluded that the Y2K bug got to us early. Fear not! The CICA started the process of year-2000 compliance well ahead of time. The reason CAmagazine shifted the IT special issue to September is that its growing popularity warranted a more prominent exposure. We also took this opportunity to launch "Technovations,' which you'll find in our Upfront section. Each issue, technology writer and columnist Issie Rabinovitch will review three or four of what might be called "personal" technology products. Rabinovitch's mandate is to seek out, test and review products that present features our readers might find useful. His rating reflects value, relevance, breadth of appeal, capacity and ease of use.

Elsewhere in this issue, Rabinovitch takes a close look at the latest and upcoming network operating systems. In "Office engines" (p. 28), you will learn all about Novell Netware 5.0, Windows NT and 2000, and the new kid on the block, Linux - their features, their similarities and differences, and costs involved.

We also welcome chartered accountant Michael Burns, who has taken up the challenge of reviewing mid to high-end Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) products. In addition to providing information on the multiple features of the systems listed, Burns adds a wealth of information on price, availability, support, contacts and much more. "ERPs: A buyer's market" (p. 37) is truly the most comprehensive review of ERP products available, and we at CAmagazine are convinced that CFOs and CIOs across the country who are interested in enterprise resource planning systems will keep this article within easy reach.

This year, Canada celebrates 10 years of "free trade" with the United States (Mexico was later added to the North American Free Trade Agreement). Was it a success? Is Canada really doing better? Columnist Gerard Berube analyzes some opinions that were given at a recent NAFTA conference in Montreal, and adds a few remarks of his own (p. 10).

Last but not least, Marcel Cote writes about our political leaders' reluctance to reduce the tax load - and concludes that there's no time like the present (p. 76).

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