As we neared the new millennium back in the 90s, we realized there were two ways to solve the looming Y2K problem. One was to expand the “year” fields in databases to have 4 digits instead of two. That would postpone the problem until the year 10000. Another way was to leave the fields in the databases as 2 digits and throw in some logic to decide which century it belongs to. You could, for example, say: IF year IS GREATER THAN 80 THEN century = “19” ELSE century = “20”. That would have solved the problem until the year 2080. The arbitrary value of 80 is what some people call the “pivot year.”

Except some people decided the pivot year would be 20, and guess what? Systems started failing last week. Back in the 90s, a lot of people would have probably said that the program wouldn’t still be in use in twenty years, and still others likely said they themselves wouldn’t be.

The Y2K.2 problem is not as severe as Y2K because there are far fewer instances, and also you can just punt the pivot year ahead another 20 years, which would be an easy fix (assuming you can find the source code).

Some programs store the year in full 4 digits, but allow a 2-digit shortcut. That is what Excel does. I just tested it out and on my computer their pivot year is 30. If you enter 29/12/31 it converts it to 2029/12/31. If you enter 30/1/1 it converts it to 1930/1/1. I just did a bit of research, and there is a default two-digit year range that you can set in the Windows Control Panel (Regional Settings). There you can set the pivot year to whatever you want.

SQL Server 2008 Support ending in July, 2019

If you are still running applications on Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008, you should be aware that support for this platform is ending on July 9, 2019. As of that date, you will no longer be getting security updates from Microsoft. Microsoft does make options available, such as moving to the Cloud (Azure platform), or upgrading to a later version of SQL Server, such as SQL Server 2017. Nicom’s Technical Support group can help you with these decisions. Give us a call at (902) 497-1153!

Blockchain Demystified

If you’re wondering what all this is about regarding Blockchain, here is a brief article I wrote for Business Voice: Blockchain Demystified.

Nicom-Built Data Dashboards now Online at Port of Halifax

The strength of a seaport lies in the stakeholders that participate in its supply chain. These stakeholders consist of terminal operators, shipping lines, freight forwarders, road and rail operators, federal authorities, and the other countless operators that are involved in moving goods along.

All these participants in the supply chain generate data, and need data to operate efficiently. This need has led to the creation of data dashboard systems that make information available to those who need it, in a privacy-preserving manner.

These systems, which are web-enabled and mobile friendly, have been developed by Nicom IT Solutions of Halifax. More information and a link to the site are at http://www.nicominteractive.com/port-of-halifax/.


Nicom secures Texas seaport contract

Nicom Maritime, a division of Nicom IT Solutions of Halifax won a contract to install a seaport software system for the Port of Beaumont in Beaumont, Texas.

The system, an integrated vessel scheduling, cargo tracking, and billing system, is similar to the one currently in final stages of testing at the Port of Halifax. Beaumont represents the first U.S. customer for this newly-developed system. Other ports in Canada have earlier versions installed and are being supported by Nicom.

Nicom is working with Automated Port Solutions of Miami, Florida, and Avastone Technologies of Little Chute, Wisconsin, who helped secure the business and have parts being subcontracted to them.

The Port of Beaumont, one of the busiest ports in the United States, is also the busiest port in the world for shipping military equipment. It also handles bulk cargo for humanitarian purposes as well as other types of cargo. Nicom’s system will replace aging software that can no longer meet the needs of the Port. Nicom was also awarded the business for replacing the seaport’s IT infrastructure and accounting system.