Software

Y2K’s Revenge? Not quite, but DST change will cause trouble!


I lived through all the Y2K excitement and did very well out of Y2K financially as many of you probably did (especially COBOL programmers), so I know the sort of panic that can grip IT over something as simple as a date.

But precise time coordination is vital for a lot of computer operations and I just wanted to remind everyone that older computers probably will NOT correctly handle the Daylight Savings Time switch this year.

This will be on all the TV news shows later in he week, but that may be too late for some of you to take orderly remediation steps.

If you missed the news, here is the situation.

DST used to be scheduled to begin on April 1 this year and end the last Sunday in October.

But the Energy Policy Act, which just took effect last week (March 1st) has temporarily changed that start date to Sunday, March 11 2007 and it will end on Sunday, November 1 of this year.

Even better (!!), we might return to the old system next year if the time shift change doesn’t save enough energy!

Why this should concern IT managers is the simple fact that many older systems have an automatic DST function which won’t work correctly.

That could lead to things such as backups beginning at the wrong time, automated password change conflicts, or automatic security updates being sent at the wrong time.

Cisco has a DST page http://www.cisco.com/en/US/tech/tk648/tk362/technologies_tech_note09186a00807ca437.shtml

Windows shops can simply (simple that is for 10 PCs, not for 10,000) turn off the automatic DST setting in the system clock, just remember to make the change manually (which, unfortunately, is in the wee small hours of Sunday morning when hackers roam the Net and good IT professionals are sound asleep.)

With so many possible problems, it is probably best to just check the list of reports on TechNet to see which may affect you. http://search.technet.microsoft.com/search/default.aspx?siteId=1&tab=0&query=dst 

Apple has information at http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=305056

PDA and Smart Phone users will also need to make the adjustment.

Don’t forget this also affects a lot of Canadian operations because that country will also switch times at 2 a.m. on March 11!

Also, this isn't a Microsoft problem, it can easily apply to any open source shop also.

edical News Today takes all this one step further, reminding everyone to start adjusting their body clocks early to make that dreaded Monday, see http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=64458 for details.

The new DST start date certainly isn't something to panic about, but it certainly is a problem you need to confirm won't affect your systems.

19 comments
MarkGyver
MarkGyver

The only thing I need to worry about is making sure my cell-phone doesn't try to compensate. Good luck to the rest of the world.

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

Lots of businesses and even universities actually communicate across state lines. How would you like to be an hour off on making investment decisions because you don't know what time it is in New York? Sure, you're correct it doesn't affect you to the extent that you can or should change any programs or settings, but it could still have a big impact on you personally.

MarkGyver
MarkGyver

I am only in highschool so I don't have any work-related time zone issues yet. Like I said in my previous post: Good luck to the rest of the world.

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

That's fine and you are certainly welcome, but remember that I am mostly writing for IT professionals so consider that when you read the blogs. It is probably great experience and training for you to participate but just remember we are mostly talking commercial situations, the kind you will be involved in in a very few years which should put you ahead of the competition. Thanks for participating and keep reading.

Aaron A Baker
Aaron A Baker

Thanks for the info John, it's appreciated. Regards Aaron

gshollingsworth
gshollingsworth

The former start of DST in the US was the first Sunday of April. That would have been April 1 this year. I can understand choosing a Sunday morning for the change to minimize impact of the extra/missing hour. There is a part I cannot understand. If the whole concept is to take advantage of the longer days, then why are the start and end dates NOT referenced to the spring and autumnal equinox? The old and new start day is much closer to the spring equinox compared to the end day's relationship to the autumnal equinox. Logic would dictate these be equally distant from their associated equinox. Just my 2 cents.

tundraroamer
tundraroamer

I live in Alaska. We are currently gaining just under 6 minutes a day in light. By May /June, it will be light from 4 AM to about 11 PM and we still have twilight-ish light in between those times, never dark enough to even see the stars. We need DST to start in the fall and end in the spring! I think, I'll just change our time zone settings to what affects us and forget about the rest. Who cares how they do it outside! Actually, my current plan is to just turn off DST and make sure to point all the servers to a single time server that will reset itself at 2:01 AM Sunday morning. Same for the fall set back time. We are not open at those times and the only processes running at the time are backups. I just need to make sure they don't start at 2 AM. I did not know until reading here that this may be a temporary issue so it's not worth getting all worked up about it only to have to undo it later.

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

You're probably suffering from SAD from living in the dark half the year!!! GRIN Just kidding of course; my lady used to live in AL and I can't keep her in the dark about ANYTHING! We are planning some extensive visits up your way in a year or two going up the west coast of Canada (not in the Winter, thanks!) Hey, maybe I can look up that square foot of gound in the Yukon - I got a deed to from Sgt. Preston! Cheers.

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

I was sort of kidding, I prefer Onyx and, in any case, I can travel to Cuba (press credentials.) Yes, it is getting much more difficult to get out and back into the U.S. It will only get worse.

tundraroamer
tundraroamer

Smoke 'em or mail 'em but don't transport 'em. In 2002 I drove back into the US across the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario. Spent 3 hours on the bridge waiting to get to the customs booth. When we got closer, we noticed that the trucks all went to one side, cars to the other. The trucks rolled through the process pretty quick compared to us poor suckers sitting in cars. I watched one truck with 3 or 4 large tanks on it that each one carried the radioactive warning label. I wondered if they would be opened for inspection. They were not and the truck went on through. He spent less than 10 minutes at customs and was bringing in known radioactive material. Meanwhile we sat in the hot sun. When it was finally our turn, he looked at my Alaska license and said I was a long way from home and that was it. No searching, no asking the kids for ID and no explanation why it took 3 hours to go from Canada back into the US. The Canadian side at least asked a couple of questions. I've got another Canadian customs story but can't post it here. They may still be watching...

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

I'm planning on picking up some Havannas on my way through that great free country of Canada!! Besides, when confronting border guards I've always found it best to accidentally show my lady's State Department Credit Union card and my National Press Club Card. GRIN Did I say Sgt. Preston? Or did I mean Dudly Do Right? Oh well, it could have been a sq in, but I think they were still using "English" measurement back in 55 (my god, was it that long ago??) I know I'm told I did meet Buffalo Bob Smith in Buffalo BEFORE he went on TV (his office was in the same building as my dad's), but am I THAT old? GRIN Taxes? What taxes? We don't pay no stinkin taxes! (FREE Scotland! Canada is still in the Commonwealth, isn't it?) Probably doesn't matter, I own a nice chunk of Pinetree (a Canadian merchant bank.) (Funny thing, I have a fairly large eBay store - of course it wouldn't be ethical to promote it here so I try never to give any clues that would lead people from here to it. BTW, the old Yukon deeds aren't worth the cost of shipping on eBay.) Thanks for triggering the trip down memory lane.

tundraroamer
tundraroamer

I know there has been a lot of inflation since that 1955 promotion, but land size is not included. You use to own a square inch with that deed. However, those are still useful to carry when traveling up here in the North in case the Sears catalog is missing from the local restroom facility. Very funny that Sgt. Preston gave you a square inch in a country run on metric. Must be that the Canadian metric square inch translates into, well, nothing which is what you really have. And the back taxes are due. You have been paying them, haven't you? Apparently not. See: http://firstam.com/landsakes/html/email/061002biginch.html There is always eBay. Contact me when you start this way. I'll be sure to advise the border guards of your pending arrival...

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

a lot of older computers and software will shift on April 1 THIS YEAR. It is a different DAY each year. DST dates? Lots of people don't think this will make any difference which is why congress may change it back in a year or two.

gario
gario

Daylight Saving Time.....not Savings

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

But certainly not as sloppy as those programmers who caused Y2K by neglecting to use 4-digit year fields. This programming "mistake" was a bit more difficult to forsee. Still, I think the main point of my report is still valid even if I did slip in one extra "s".

AMVX86
AMVX86

Y2K wasn't really over looked. It was more or less a way to get more RAM (if i remember correctly) out of the system. Squeezing in such little code. I can honestly say that DST is a PAIN IN THE 4$$. I work the DST patches for the Unix end, HPUX, Horrible, Linux tedious and Sun, not so bad. However, it is very time consuming and can have you at the throat of your co-worker when things are going all wrong; and everywhere! -Crash.

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

Personnaly, I fail to see how this change is going to save us anything. To me it's like a shell game. We should be looking at alternative forms of energy to power the industrial engine. Biofuels are taking hold and we should be seriously thinking of hydrogen as a fuel. This move to DST is just delaying the inevitable.

cv
cv

Well thank's to the President of the good ol' USA, some of us who have time sensitive equipment other than computers will have a long and sleepless night this saturday/sunday. And with the extreme short notice for us Canadian's that Canada will be adopting this "Energy Savings". I'm just glad that the President of the USA has found a new trick to play with time....

gario
gario

Y2K was Data General, Fortran, Maritime systems (cruise ships), reservation and airline systems.....quite stressful, what with having to put a web site to let everybody know.....very active DST - not very active, but a bit of a concern. The "s" - I had to call you on it.....I'm an IT'er!!!!

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