Y2K--A Common Cause
Maher is heavily involved in the initiative—he was a cog in the startup efforts and has chaired an industry conference—which is wholly geared toward helping members of the commercial printing industry battle the new millennium computer problem. He has provided a sampling of the findings made through the project.
* The highest degree of computerized automation is in the prepress function, thus it is the most problematic area. Maher stresses that no one area of the pressroom is problematic.
"Things are a lot more stable than we originally thought, especially with embedded systems," Maher says. "Most embedded processors will not have problems. The problems they do have will be cosmetic and not affect the way they run.
"Some older Scitex systems have had problems; many of them were based on PS2 and Whisper processors," he adds. "For example, IBM said PS2 is old technology and it wouldn't be upgraded. Scitex recommends Brisque processors to replace PS2 and is working with its customers to resolve these issues."
* The most overlooked aspect at this point is a company's supply chain. Utilities—electric, gas, water, etc.—seem to fall in the peripheral category, but remain critical systems. Maher feels a lot of companies haven't begun looking at whether these support systems will be in place.
* From the trivia department comes this nugget of information: Only 20 percent of the Y2K problems will rear their head at the stroke of midnight. Thus, 80 percent of the problems will likely catch people by surprise.
"Most of the larger printers are members of the GCP, and these companies are spending a lot of time and money on the project," Maher notes. "We're going to see small pockets of problems, but there's a lot more awareness, a lot more sharing of information."