CMC ready to help governments with their Y2K worries | AspenTimes.com
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CMC ready to help governments with their Y2K worries

Jeremy Heiman

Colorado Mountain College is preparing to give some high-tech schooling to local government officials on the subject of the millennium bug.

Joe Livingston, of CMC’s Glenwood Springs office, is preparing a series of interactive conferences for officials via a multiway interactive video system (IVS) that connects the college’s Western Slope campuses.

Livingston said CMC will also give in-person workshops for banks and small businesses in each community CMC serves. Local banks have offered to sponsor these workshops, which will explore the financial impacts of the so-called Y2K computer “bug” and how to minimize the damage.

That computer bug may rear its ugly head on Jan. 1, 2000, when computers fail to recognize that “00” means 2000, because for two or three decades computer programmers commonly reduced the year notation to two digits (98 for 1998). Most computer experts anticipate that not only computers but thousands of other devices that contain microchips will fail to function properly as a result when the new millennium arrives.

CMC will host conferences for government officials from the towns and counties the college serves. The sessions will allow the sharing of information on how local governments can prepare for potential year-2000, or Y2K, problems.

“The goal is to promote dialog,” Livingston said. “It may be that one community has achieved a solution [to some aspect of the problem] and can share with another.” He said in preparing the conferences, he spoke with one person who had a question about how to deal with electric doors in the event of a power failure. Another person in another town had the solution, he said.

“What we want to do, and we think this is an advantage of IVS, is a sharing of concerns,” Livingston said. He said in some learning situations, it’s easier if just one person lectures, but in this instance, every participant is a resource.

Bob Gardner, manager of administrative services at Holy Cross Electric, agreed to kick in $1,000 for the project from a minigrant fund the utility has created for Y2K education projects. But Gardner said the lion’s share of the funding is coming from CMC itself.

Livingston said CMC is glad to make its resources available. “We think it’s an opportunity to do something for the communities that have supported us so well,” he said.

Gardner of Holy Cross and Norm Clasen of the Rocky Mountain Institute will participate in the video conferences as facilitators and information resources, Livingston said.

He said his project owes much to RMI because it got its start from the Y2K community meetings that the energy think tank, located in Old Snowmass, initiated in several local communities.

The video conferences have not yet been scheduled, but Livingston said they will take place as soon as they can be organized.


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