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Free tool evaluates Y2K issues

Accelr8 Technology debuts a free scanning tool designed to get companies started on Year 2000-related computer fixes.

Software and services provider Accelr8 Technology today debuted a free scanning tool designed to get companies started on Year 2000-related computer fixes.

Ignition 2000 identifies the number and type of files in a set of code as well as the number of lines of code within the application. Used as a stand-alone tool, it provides an indication of the Year 2000 date-related issues and determines the severity of the Year 2000 problem within computer systems.

The bug comes from antiquated hardware and software formats that denote years in two-digit formats, such as 98 for 1998 and 99 for 1999. The glitch will occur in 2000, when computers are either fooled into thinking the year is 1900 or interpret the 2000 as a meaningless "00." The glitch could throw out of whack everything from bank systems to building security procedures, critics warn.

With just 514 days left before the date change, Accelr8 chief executive Tom Greiner in a statement noted that Ignition 2000 will allow users who are up against the wall to start a Y2K conversion program "to self-diagnose the extent of date-related issues that may be present in their code."

The tool runs on Microsoft Windows 95 and NT and can be downloaded from Accelr8's Web site.

In related Y2K news, saying he was motivated by President Bill Clinton's recent speech on the Year 2000 technology problem, entertainer Pat Boone has announced that he will do his part to help the Y2K National Education Task Force (Y2KNET) raise public awareness about the issue. He has recorded the first in a series of public service announcements offering free Y2K information.