The Daily Show Takes On The Daylight Savings Bug: Aclockalypse Now!

from the who-knows-if-we'll-be-back! dept

As regular readers know, we’ve had some fun suggesting that there’s been a bit too much fear mongering over the potential for a “Daylight Savings Bug,” for computers that don’t know that Congress moved up Daylight Savings by a few weeks this year. The fear was that somehow, having all these clocks off for an hour would cause havoc with… well… that’s not clear exactly. Maybe mistimed coffee brewing. Anyway, as we head out for the weekend in which the big switch is supposed to take place, we’ll leave you with the Daily Show’s excellent take on the matter. Just as in their earlier clips on net neutrality and online gambling, they seem to have a firm grasp on the topic… and, if we’re all wrong and everything goes haywire, guess which blog post we’ll have to live down next week?

As an aside, now that Viacom has pulled its clips from YouTube and put them only on its own site, I should say that actually getting the necessary embed code for this was painfully close to impossible. Getting the page to load properly took 4 tries, 2 browsers and 3 crashes. That’s not particularly user friendly. Perhaps it makes sense for them, but they need to make their pages a lot more usable.

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Comments on “The Daily Show Takes On The Daylight Savings Bug: Aclockalypse Now!”

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lar3ry says:

Just think...

The RIAA will have a whole hour (between 2am and 3am Sunday morning) when they will not be suing innocent people!


Now, if they can keep from suing innocent people for one hour, why not 168 hours? (A week)

How about 8,760 hours?(A year)

How about… forever???!

We can call it, “Lawsuit Saving Time.”

Anonymous Coward says:

the CC site isn’t too bad actually. I was expecting something more flashy and in overly advertised. Again… I honestly don’t see what viacom has to gain by doing that. I love the daily show and colbert but i ain’t going to that site and many people who aren’t really fans are simply just not going to be exposed to those shows now. they should have just worked with youtube to make a dedicated portion for their own clips.

Jerry says:

It’s real and it’s coming to get your java. Act now or die:

Sun(sm) Alert Notification
Sun Alert ID: 102836
Synopsis: Olson TZ Data (tzdata2005r or greater) Incompatibility Issues
BugIDs: 6466476, 6530336

The introduction of Olson Timezone (TZ) data, version 2005r or greater,
may break backward compatibility for the Eastern, Hawaiian, and Mountain
time zones, under certain circumstances.

This issue can occur in the following releases for all platforms:

JDK and JRE v1.4.2_12 and above
JDK and JRE 5.0u8 and above
JDK and JRE 6 and above

3. Symptoms The symptoms/result of this condition will be that Daylight
Saving Time (DST) will be calculated incorrectly.

5. Resolution To resolve this issue (ie. to enable support for the
backward compatible DST timezones), run the “Time Zone Updater Tool” for
v1.4.x+ with the command line options: -f -bc

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: getting any ad revenue

but great free advertising – like here

but they don’t understand that and neither do many other people.


Perhaps techDirt commenters are a little naive and can’t see the other side. Perhaps Comedy Central sees what Mike did as a form of brand dilution. There are many marketing packages that are designed on closely controlling how and when the particular product is used. Everyone I have read on techDirt takes this “any advertising is good advertising” stance but there is also a question of the product/brand owner being able to dictate what their product is associated with.

What if Comedy Central doesn’t want search results for this clip resulting in hits against a technology blog? Now that I think of it, isn’t this also publicity for techDirt by exploiting someone elses product? I’m not a lawyer or anything, but this isn’t really covered under fair use because the criticism was about fear of DST change errors, not explicitly the clip in question (and I don’t see one of those used with permission disclaimer). In fact, Comedy Centrals site says (under terms and conditions, section 3):

The contents of this Site, including all Site software, design, text, images, photographs, illustrations, audio and video material, artwork, graphic material, databases, proprietary information and all copyrightable or otherwise legally protectible elements of the Site, including, without limitation, the selection, sequence and ‘look and feel’ and arrangement of items, and all trademarks, service marks and trade names (individually and/or collectively, “Material”), are the property of Comedy Partners, and its Parent Companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, licensors, suppliers, operational service providers, advertisers, promotional partners, or sponsors and are legally protected, without limitation, under U.S. Federal and State, as well as applicable foreign laws, regulations and treaties. Unless the context clearly requires otherwise or we explicitly say so in writing, the term “Site” includes “Material” as well. The Site is to be used solely for your noncommercial, non-exclusive, non-assignable, non- transferable and limited personal use and for no other purposes. You must not alter, delete or conceal any copyright or other notices contained on the Site, including notices on any Material you download, transmit, display, print or reproduce from the Site.You shall not, nor will you allow any third party (whether or not for your benefit) to reproduce, modify, create derivative works from, display, perform, publish, distribute, disseminate, broadcast or circulate to any third party (including, without limitation, on or via a third party web site), or otherwise use, any Material without the express prior written consent of Comedy Partners or its owner if Comedy Partners is not the owner. Any unauthorized or prohibited use of any Material may subject you to civil liability, criminal prosecution, or both, under applicable federal, state and local laws. We require users to respect our copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property rights. We likewise respect the intellectual property of others. On notice, we will act expeditiously to remove content on the Site that infringes the copyright rights of others and will disable the access to the Site and its services of anyone who uses them to repeatedly to infringe the intellectual property rights of others.

We criticize people like Comedy Central for not making their resources more easily available, but does that then give us the right to just take their stuff and use it how we want without their permission. That doesn’t seem appropriate to me either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: getting any ad revenue

It has an ’embed’ tag on the website, they WANT you to use it. The complaint is that it is not easy and/or it was easier with YouTube. Also it was probably ALOT cheaper for them to not host the clips…

I should have looked at the actual instance on the site (and I still haven’t due to laziness), but if it is the case that they gave permission to use this video, I apologize and stand corrected on that point. However, I still believe my larger point that content creators shouldn’t be criticized just because they manage their content in a way that seems counterintuitve to an outsider. Sometimes there are intangible elements at work such as better brand identification control. Heck, the other motivation may simply be that by hosting the content themselves they can collect statistical data on what pople like and dont like about their content, which is invaluable data (sort of, when both collected and interpreted properly).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 getting any ad revenue

I started watching Daily BECAUSE of clips I saw at Utube.
I’ve forwarded his Utube clips to other people that didn’t know he existed.

I suspect pulling Jon Stewart videos off of Utube means his clips just won’t get looked at and he’ll miss gaining viewer ship utube previously provided.

Compared to Utube CC’s website sucks. Clips aren’t sorted in a handy manner, and are hard or slow to play. I’m not forwarding links to Jon’s clips on CC. So the people I’d have forwarded the Utube clips to now simply won’t get to know who he is.

If CC wanted to track clip popularity, that information is available at utube, albeit in a less controllable form. I think the loss is greater than the gain.

Matthew (user link) says:

Back on topic

You think it is a joke now, but what will happen when the US Air Force goes berserk!?!?,8599,1597043,00.html

And you’re freaked out because your computer might hiccup this weekend as it copes with the premature arrival of Daylight Saving Time? Be thankful you weren’t screaming across the Pacific Ocean in the U.S. Air Force’s newest jet, the $330-million F-22 Raptor. Six of the jets — that’s $2 billion worth of air power — had taken off from Hawaii en route to Japan when several of their computer systems went haywire and literally could not tell what day it was.

Wolfger (profile) says:

Re: Back on topic

Oh noes!!11!one! My $330,000,000 jet can’t tell what day it is! Now I’ll be late for the dogfight!

I seriously doubt any F-22 pilot gives a crap what day it is when he’s up in the air.

Weapons…. Check
Radar… Check
Guidance… Check
Countermeasures… Check
Parachute… Check
Clock & Calendar… aw crap, we gotta scrub the mission.

Rose says:

Re: Connecting to Comedy Central

Oh, forgot to mention…. I think the apocolyptic scenario is a joke, just like Y2K. Many people seem to assume that software engineers and IT departments don’t know what to do to fix the issue. (okay perhaps a few don’t…)

I was working in the computer/software industry even back then, and the engineers laughed at all the hysteria. Once the Y2k “crisis” passed, they delighted in saying “I told you so.”

ITPerson says:

Re: Re: Connecting to Comedy Central

No one is saying it’s the end of the world but the big difference between y2k and DST2007 is that y2k was well prepared for…DST on the other hand the big vendors have only just been releasing their DST patches in the past week and some only this week! There has been no chance for organizations to truly test all these patches they’ve been applying. All I can say is at the least, you’re going to hear of a lot of CEOs and government officials complaining about missing meetings and plane flights. The airline systems are already having problems – US Air’s system was partially down yesterday. Personally as an IT manager this whole DST change has been a pain. I’ve worked two weekends in a row now trying to find needed patches, wade through all the crazy installation instructions and warnings, and apply them to all my systems. Oh and my IT friends who work in banking are having a wonderful time too…how many transactions in banking depend upon time to be processed right…hmmm?
NOTE TO CONGRESS: No, It’s not okay to go messing about with the time!

Philip (profile) says:

Re: Re: Connecting to Comedy Central

Technically, Y2K was a real concern that was prepared for. The issue really had to do with the years either getting changed to 00 instead 100 or computers crashing due to buffer overflow errors when attempting to put 100 within a 2 digit slot.

The daylight saving time issue was a complete over blown. There was absolutely nothing to fear from it. So, your PCs might be an hour behind. Big deal. It would be no different than setting your time. Hell, most PCs auto-set themselves these days against a central time db.

DST was over blown. Y2K was made more of a deal than it was; however, there was a concern with that.

Brad Eleven (profile) says:


Disclosure: I’m a subcontractor to a contractor who owns IT support for Calpine Energy, at least until April 1 (no fooling).

At the very late hour of Friday, March 09, 2007 6:45 PM, another contractor sent this loaded missive to an undisclosed list of recipients:

“[We] will be declaring a longer change control window this weekend to perform some patching for a critical security bug in the Sun DST patches that was identified and released today.”

Looks suspicious to me. I think it’s either CYA for their not having already applied the patches, or simple FUD to justify billing even more hours. I’m very sure that if there was, indeed, “a critical security bug in the Sun DST patches” that we’d have heard about it weeks ago, from those who applied the patches well in advance.

That is, it’s been my experience that proactive folks tend to find problems earlier, as opposed to procrastinators.

krum303 says:

Billing systems...

This DST thing can be a big issue for cellphone companies. If a patch doesn’t work correctly, millions of wireless users talking after 9 PM when the billing systems think it’s only 8 PM. But since it’s Sunday and most plans come with weekends included this is probably a moot point. I’m sure they’re IT guys have it under control.

moeian says:

It's actually pretty big for transaction processin

This entire debacle is actually pretty large for any transaction processing companies (like the one I work for.) If you don’t have timestamps correct in parts of the system while you have others with correct timestamps, transactions can go haywire. You might be sending out activation or redemption requests that get declined by 3rd party providers, you end up having horrible billing headaches, and even have some legacy applications crash, just to name a few. Multiply that by, say, 100 transactions per second, and you could be talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour worth of issues. Things get nasty quickly in real-time environments when time isn’t synced correctly.

*just got done with a 6 hour maintenance window to make sure everything switched over fine after spending 60 some odd hours last week pushing out patches and shoring up some 1500 machines… not bitter at all about this useless bullshit, of course not*

PhysicsGuy says:


and while patches are all nice and dandy, it’s DST, it’s nothing like y2k. the y2k “problem” was that computer dates had 2 digits for the year instead of 4, thus causing 2000 to be interpreted as 1900 (if you all recall)… DST has NOTHING to do with inadequate variables. how hard is it, really, to manually switch the clocks? script a solution if you have to. seriously, what are IT people/network admins actually getting paid for?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Myopism

Why is it that all you “this was overblown” people out there can only look at the clocks on your PC’s and think that’s all it’s about?

The poster above who was talking about transaction processing has a real point.

Try manually updating 1500 clocks!

Also, what happens when time critical systems like the nuclear reactor down the road freak out because some critical process was scheduled, and the clock was off?

I’m not saying this wasn’t made a joke of by the press, but I am saying that it’s not only about the clock in the corner of YOUR screen.

And as far as scripting a solution, why don’t you programmers finally figure a way to stop tying all the date and time variables in a program to time zones? What are you getting paid for anyway?

Rob says:

Whats the fucking problem?

My computer updated itself just fine and dandy without a patch. Turned on my phone and the clock was right. Anyone with hardware or software that doesn’t update to the world atomic clock by itself is in need of a serious upgrade. It’s another one of those bullshit economy boost for slow markets. Just think of the record breaking sales of generators, gas, canned food, chainsaws, ect. from Y2K. So many people thought it was all gonna end. Christians thought it was gonna be the day of the Lord. But it wasnt, and millions of people were stuck with 200 jars of peanut butter they couldn’t eat and a $5,000 credit card bill they thought they wouldnt have to pay. Live and learn suckers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Whats the fucking problem?

Just because something happened without you knowing about it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Yes your computer/device did get patched or was written with the new DST information for your time zone.

The “world atomic clock” doesn’t just magically work on your time zone only. It works on UTC and your computer/device uses its time zone information/settings to apply a mask to the UTC time for your viewing pleasure.

Ignorance it bliss, I know. But some of us are working hard so you people can go on thinking that this isn’t a big deal.

PhysicsGuy says:


“Try manually updating 1500 clocks!”

again, so what exactly is it system admins and IT people get paid for?

“Also, what happens when time critical systems like the nuclear reactor down the road freak out because some critical process was scheduled, and the clock was off?”

if a nuclear reactor doesn’t have a fail safe for a clock being off by an hour, then all hope for mankind is lost. It took the minds of some of the most brilliant physicists to conceive and produce, and it all goes to shit because the auto-daylight savings adjustment feature was off by a week. riiiiiiight.

seriously, y2k had potential to be a problem, dst being off by a week? you’re out of your mind.

Anonymous Coward says:

Time zone is a client software localization issue. The critical systems that exchange time-sensitive data operate in UTC or Greenwich Mean Time. Between yesterday and today, millions of servers did absolutely nothing. Hundreds of millions of computers run by people in their houses are set to the timezone in which they live. That is the audience that needed their software to understand how to calculate the DST change, the ones that translate UTC into a localized time.

Sysadmins who run their servers in local time need to consider a career change.

Anonymous Coward says:

Myopism... 2 words: Legacy Systems

and I support a bunch of them.

In the real world, they’re every where. Telephone switching systems, factories, etc.. Anyplace the computers have done the same thing for not just years, but decades. The old cliche is “the don’t make ’em like they used to” is damm right.

Some old DEC boxes are still out there running RSX-11M in factories that run 24/7. Do you thing HP’s going to issue patches for them? What about the AT&T 3B2s in old telephone switches? The things that have worked forever, outlive their original programmers, so guys like me have to get up in the middle of the night to manually change all those clocks.

Trust me, I’ve got a few words for congress too.

Julia says:

The Clock Switcher

The things that have worked forever, outlive their original programmers, so guys like me have to get up in the middle of the night to manually change all those clocks.

It’s called job security. Corporate America can’t outsource your hands-on skill to some guy sitting in a cubicle in India. You should be happy there is no time-zone update patch for telephone switches and DEC equipment. Some of us, not yet 40 years old, have been locked out of as many as three different career paths because of outsourcing.

technofear (profile) says:

Embedded systems that are not accessable?

I am helping convert GEs DASH locomotives to being remote controlled (for a corporation that owns a private fleet).

GE decided that Y2K could be solved by changing UTC to 1/Jan/1987 (from 1/Jan/1970), thus delaying Y2k for another 17 years. Graet forward thinking….

The train protection system (ATP) and engine monitor (PULSE) can’t remember what year it is, they also ‘forget’ to record data.

Time is not controlled from a central unit (as fas as any engineer I have spoken to knows) so each loco has to be updated manually (by the diver randomly entering the time). Pity they are so busy and can’t be recalled for the update.

This is not to mention the Track Side Monitoring equipment used to locate hot/cold wheels and bearings (thus preventing derailments). Last time I was there the sites were registering ambient temperatures of >46 to 52 C! These devices are located in the middle of nowhere, 100’s Km from the nearest person (here is FOUR times larger than Texas).

If one of the systems falls over, and there is a derailment, then the corporation will lose aprox Au$100mill a DAY!

It is a big deal to us.

Anonymous Coward says:

The DST update is definitely a very big deal to some people. No, it’s not an end-of-the-world catastrophe, but it will cause problems if not properly patched. Take Microsoft Exchange for example. If the Exchange servers, the individual user mailboxes, and the end user workstations aren’t all updated with patches, then users’ appointment and meeting times could be wrong, or their calendar could become corrupted. We already had this issue on one public calendar, where all but one of the end users’ workstations had been updated and the calendar itself was updated, and the one whose workstation wasn’t updated started corrupting all the calendar entries beyond March 11. This is a HUGE problem for lots of companies.

There are numerous other computer systems where if server time and workstation time don’t sync, it causes tons of problems, errors, etc. Please don’t brush this off as stupidity when you don’t know all the facts. For the average consumer, it probably isn’t that big of a deal. But believe me, this is worse than you might imagine for many corporations. I think the earlier comment on train locomotives and whatnot is a pretty fair example of that.

Jon says:

Not an issue...

Another example of the impact of the DST change. Those of us who work in outsourced IT contracts that have SLAs surrounding performance. Now take 20,000 users who have the potential to have their meetings off by an hour. For those that do have issues because their patches didn’t get applied or they are incapable of reading and/or retaining information or both call the afore mentioned outsourced IT company for support. It was an unnecessary burden on our resources and increased our risk of financial penalties because some politician thought it would be a good idea to have DST earlier in the year.

There are plenty of concerns and significant impact due to this (pointless?) DST change. To say their are not is ignorant and dismisses all of the headaches many of us IT people endured as a result.

As for the comment about what we “IT people get paid for”.. It is a rare IT organization that has plenty of staff sitting around just looking for something to do. In exchange for preparing and patching for DST, your tickets, requests, projects, and support in general was delayed. I would guess you probably had to call your helpdesk today and got pissed cause you had to wait in queue too long.

Has anyone actually benefited from this yet? Does anyone even know WHY this change was made? I would also like to know who’s idea it was so I can introduce them to my foot.

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