Aussie company takes Y2K fix to Comdex

An Australian start-up here at Comdex unveiled what it claims is a "universal hardware fix" to the Year 2000 problem. Priced at $US150, the aptly named Y2K Corporation's first product, called Y2K++, offers a complete Y2K fix for anything from mainframes to PCs, as well as other industrial applications, officials said.

The product consists of a software application -- which needs to be installed and embedded in the computer's operating system -- and a small dongle that attaches to a standard parallel or serial port. Called Y2K++, the product bypasses the computer's real-time clock and basic input output system (BIOS) when the user boots up the operating system, said Richard Kabzinski, director of engineering at the Cannington, WA-based company.

"It's a very simple solution, but it works and offers a fool-proof solution to Y2K," said Kabzinski, who developed the product. "I guess I'm just more clever than most people," he added jokingly.

Kabzinski proudly said that Y2K++ offers a $US150 solution to a multi-billion dollar problem.

The company came to Las Vegas to find both distributors and capital investment.

"It's very difficult to raise capital in Australia," lamented Kabzinski.

So far, the trip appears to be paying off. One distributor has already signed up to sell Y2K++ in the US, and expects to soon have additional distributors in the UK and Canada as well, said Kabzinski.

A few US venture capitalists have also expressed interest in backing the company, he added.

With 2000 less than 14 months away, Kabzinski said that patenting the technology behind Y2K++ would be a futile effort. "By the time we would have all the patents in place, we would already be well into 2000," he said.

The company has already started "small-scale" production of Y2K++ in Australia, but is also hoping to secure a strong manufacturing partner to rapidly ramp up the volume, said Kabzinski.

Y2K Corporation, in Cannington, Western Australia, can be reached at (08) 9358 3841, or on the Web at http://www.hti.com.au/.

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