While most Iowans sit down to enjoy the Christmas holiday with their families Iowans in the military are on assignment thousands of miles away in a foreign land. Iowa Guard spokesman Colonel Robert King says technology has made it a little easier for service men and women to keep in contact with family members. During the Gulf War at the beginning of this decade King says a long distance phone call was about the only way to keep in touch. Even with the new technology, King says it is tough on all members of the military to not be home with family. King says soldiers must still do their job even during the holiday. He hopes everyone remembers those who are serving their country and can’t be home at this time of year. King says there are a few Iowa Guard members still on assignment overseas this holiday season along with Iowans serving regular duty in the armed forces.
One computer guru in the Hawkeye State says the Y-2-K bug is effectively dead — before anyone really got bitten. Dan Buda (BYOO-dah), of the Central Iowa Computer Users Group, says the hype and paranoia has led to extensive testing and most systems are checking out or have already been fixed.Buda says he’s now confident electricity, natural gas, water and telephone services will all continue working AFTER the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. He says big and small companies have taken precautions, and if there are any computer troubles, they’ll be in mid-sized businesses.Buda says the horror stories of doom and destruction due to predictions of computer meltdowns are just a lot of bunk.Sixteen National Guard armories across Iowa will be staffed on New Year’s Eve in case troops are needed to address any trouble.
A new analysis finds the Iowa-grown “Gateway 2000” computer company among industry leaders when it comes to writing checks to politicians. The “Center for Responsive Politics” did an analysis of federal reports and found Gateway and its executives made just under 100-thousand dollars in political contributions during the first nine months of this year. The split was about 60 percent for Republicans, nearly 40 percent for Democrats. Only five other computer companies gave more to politicians and political parties than Gateway did in that reporting period. So far this year, Congress has passed a law which grants computer companies liability from lawsuits over Y-2-K problems and Congress enacted a moratorium on charging sales tax on Internet purchases. Gateway, which formed in northwest Iowa, moved across the border to South Dakota — and some of its managers operate out of La Jolla, California.
The two republican presidential candidates who campaigned in Iowa over the weekend have starkly opposing views of the federal lawsuit against computer giant Microsoft. A federal judge on Friday ruled the “Windows” computer operating system monopolizes the marketplace. G.O.P. presidential candidate Gary Bauer says Microsoft should be punished for its predatory practices.He says there are literally thousand of small companies that have been ruined by Microsoft’s “predatory” practices.Bauer says if elected, he would engage in an examination of business monopolies in the same way President Teddy Roosevelt did at the beginning of this century.But business magazine publisher Steve Forbes, also a candidate for the presidency, disagrees. Forbes says the government’s lawsuit against Microsoft was a waste of taxpayer dollars. Forbes says technology will eventually make the lawsuit obsolete. He says there’s no way you can get a monopoly for very long with the rapidly changing technology. He says the marketplace will be more successful in breaking up the monopoly than the government’s ever gonna be.Forbes ended a bus tour of the state on Saturday, greeting about one-hundred supporters gathered in downtown Des Moines.Later on Saturday night, Forbes addressed a 25-dollar-per-plate event for Iowa supporters. Bauer made his comments after speaking to the Iowa College Republicans convention in Des Moines.
Two computer experts at Iowa State University have won a large federalgrant to develop lesson plans for technology teachers nationwide. The325-thousand dollars from the National Science Foundation will be used todevelop what’re called curriculum modules.Professor Doug Jacobson, of I-S-U’s Electrical & Computer EngineeringCollege, says the modules could apply to computer courses for high schoolfreshmen to very advanced university-level classes. Jacobson specializes incomputer security and hopes to incorporate some of that into the modules.Jacobson says he’s thrilled to be working on the three-year project which hassuch wide-reaching potential.The modules will include lesson plans, supporting materials and ways forteachers to assess the effectiveness of the lessons.
The latest Fortune magazine “rich list” includes lots of computer wizards whohave made a fortune, including an Iowan. Gateway computer founder Ted Waitt is ranked at number 26 on the list ofrichest Americans. Fortune magazine estimates Waitt is worth six-point-twoBillion dollars. Waitt, who’s now 36 years old, founded Gateway in SiouxCity, then moved it across the border to South Dakota, where there’s a lowerstate tax burden. Many of the company’s corporate functions have been movedto La Jolla, California. Ted Waitt’s brother, Norman, has a one-and-a-halfBillion dollar Gateway-gained fortune, and he’s number one-hundred-59 on themagazine list. Microsoft founder Bill Gates sits atop the rankings with 85Billion dollars in net worth.
This is 9/9/99 — and the date has not proven to be the computer snafu somepredicted. Utiltiy companies were on alert overnight in case computerscrashed. 9/9/99 was used as a stop code in some old computer programs. Iowa State University Y-2-K specialist Rob Mucherjea (mook-er-jay) says itwasn’t that big a deal.Mucherjea says his university will soon be done with its Y-2-K fix-upprojects.
Utility companies across the United States are on alert tonight for possibleproblems as the calendar turns to the ninth of September. That’s 9-9-99 whenexpressed numerically, and some computer programmers have used it as a”stop” code. MidAmerican Energy spokesman Mark Renders says this is a goodpre-Y-2-K drill to see how computers react to the date.Computers may have trouble reading the 9-9-99 date as well as the 2000 atmidnight December 31st. While electric companies will have crews waitingtonight and into tomorrow morning, Renders doesn’t think there will be anytrouble.MidAmerican is participating in the drill along with other Iowa electriccompanies and the North American Electric Reliability Council.
Some Iowans may -not- have had functioning computers when they got to work this morning. The latest computer virus called Chernobyl (CHAIR’-no-bul) is wiping out boot sectors and hard drives. One expert says it’ll be tough to fix if you’ve been nailed as your computer may not even start up. Dan Buda (BYOO’-dah) of the Central Iowa Computer User Group says virus protection programs might be able to prevent this type of attack, but he says those security shields are particular. Today is the 13th anniversary of Russia’s Chernobyl nuclear diasater. It was about a month ago that another computer virus, Melissa, targeted e-mail systems. Even though the creator of Melissa was arrested within days, Buda says people will continue to unleash these damaging electronic bugs. Buda says he wouldn’t be surprised if, given the name, this latest virus originated in the former Soviet Union.
The state’s trial lawyers object to a bill which would shield businesseswhich suffer Y-2-K problems from lawsuits. Iowa Trial Lawyers VicePresident Carla Schemmel says the bill is unfair to Iowa consumers who mightbe hurt when their bank or a business they depend upon suffers a millenniumglitch. The bill may be debated in the Iowa House today.