"My personal opinion is (Y2K concerns are) way overblown, but it pays to check your systems," said Douglas Tharp, a PENNTAP technical specialist in King of Prussia, Pa. He said technical specialists around the state can provide up to 20 hours of Y2K assessment services to businesses at no charge.
Tharp said technicians can assess problems and run software and operating system patches at no cost.
With just 3 1/2 months left until the next century, however, it will become increasingly difficult to schedule a visit from a technician. Tharp said PENNTAP and the state offer other Y2K options for businesses.
"I think the free workbook and video are extremely helpful," Tharp said.
Those can be ordered by calling 1-877-PA2K-NOW.
Tharp said it's a good idea to get the package before scheduling a visit from a technical specialist.
Businesses with Internet access can check out www.pa2k.org for Y2K information, including patches that can be downloaded, Tharp said.
For this area, Tharp suggested calling technical specialists Ralph Caretti at 814-863-1579 or Warren Weaver at 717-848-6669.
The Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program was formed in 1965 and is a partnership between Penn State University, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Tharp said PENNTAP provides a range of technical assistance programs to businesses of all sizes, "although the majority of our clients employ less than 50 people and the majority of those probably have less than 20 employees."
Taylor said PENNTAP assistance could be particularly valuable for companies without a staff computer specialist.