by Carlo Longino

Daylight Savings Change Could Spell Doom For The World (Well, For An Hour, Anyway)

from the come-on dept

As predicted a few weeks ago, stories of doom-and-gloom about the forthcoming Daylight Savings Time changes causing all sorts of computer chaos are starting to pile up. All the stories compare the potential for damage to the Y2K bug, which turned out to be largely overblown, and if anything, it's hard to imagine anything too earth-destroying coming from some computers' clocks running an hour slow. Indeed, the real problem here appears that it will be little more than one of annoyance, such as people forgetting about the time change, then turning up somewhere an hour late, realizing the problem, then changing the time on their watch or PDA or PC or whatever. But, somehow, if the scare stories started last month and are stacking up now, we imagine they'll just get worse and worse in the run-up to the change in March.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpus, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 5:15pm

    Arctic Daylight

    We're still having -8C nights in supposedly tropical Alabama. What's the point of having daylight savings? It means the ice on the windshield in the morning will be even stickier. Nobody goes outside during the day here if they can help it -- it's just above freezing with howling winds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    dorpus, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 5:17pm

    In case you don't believe me

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    dorpus, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Arctic Daylight

    Who cares? Go away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Justin Johnson, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 6:14pm

    A TINY bit bigger than it's put here...

    The problem is not the clocks being wrong an hour for a day or so...

    It's them being wrong an hour for a few weeks.

    Time is money...

    *idly wonders if DST is the answer to inflation, shrugs*

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Steven, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 6:17pm

    I live in tasmania and daylight savings has never affected me and as for the computers they change automaticly and lets face it the y3k bug was just a money making scheem

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Mischa, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 6:18pm

    I agree Mike, especially since nothing major went wrong last fall when we kept daylight savings around for a week longer than normal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: Arctic Daylight

    And another worthless line from Dorpus.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    JP, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 6:35pm

    I must apologise on behalf of other Aussies for comment #5.

    "The computers change automatically" do they? How do you think that happens, moron? That's what the article is about...!

    The Y2K bug (y3k is still 993 years away) didn't hit as hard as it could have, because a lot of people spent a lot of time preparing for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Ravi Khalsa, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 6:43pm

    Daylight SAVING time

    It's Daylight Saving Time, without the 's'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Trapped in Time, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 7:03pm

    Help! I can't escape the time loop! Every time the clock gets to 2:00 AM, I set it back to 1:00 AM...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Caleb, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 7:14pm



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Rick, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 7:32pm

    Re: A TINY bit bigger than it's put here...

    If it takes you weeks to figure to figure out that your clocks are wrong, you deserve to have your world end...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    zcat, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 7:34pm

    I remember y2k...

    New Zealand saw a massive surge of web traffic because we're in the earliest timezone and the world wanted to see how much y2k affected us before it hit everyone else.

    There were a few amusing glitches; Auckland airport announced (after waiting a few hours to be sure) that Midnight had passed without incident. The posting was dated "02:58 1 Jan 100"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 8:04pm

    Re: Arctic Daylight

    Since when does Alabama use Metric?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Dosquatch, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re: Arctic Daylight

    Since when does Alabama use Metric?

    They don't, the dorpus is just a crank.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Don Tacy, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 9:52pm

    Re: Arctic Daylight

    It is winter, in case you forgot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 10:15pm

    Re: Y2K

    JP wrote:

    The Y2K bug (y3k is still 993 years away) ...

    The next chance for the bug to occur is 2100, not 3000. It was a century bug, not a millennium bug.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    charlie potatoes, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 10:41pm


    so..dorpus is from Alabama...hmm that explains a great deal.
    but now that i have your attention...i propose that since we can save daylight, why not go all out?.. save temperature...we raise the thermometer reading by ten degrees in late fall.....a freezing day in january becomes an almost balmy 42 degress. then come spring we subtract ten degrees.. the 98 degree july day would be lowered to a comfortable 88...im going to call Bush.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 10:51pm

    Re: dorpus

    I second this motion

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 12:44am

    My clock is still set an hour ahead, im to lazy to change it. It actually helps because i look at it thinking its 10 am and i have to get up for school but i actually get a "freee" hour.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Ryan, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 2:52am


    We should do away with daylight savings, about 2% of americans are farmers, thats not alot of people, and im pretty sure daylight savings doesnt help them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    raggi, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 3:15am


    I'm sure everyone feels this is being overblown due to the 'overblown' Y2K issue, however....

    Whilst the issue is WELL known in areas where the change is occuring, it is NOT well known in other areas.

    The issue will come with international time based billing services, and I can be almost certain that issues will occur, and it will cost people money.

    Furthermore, there isn't such a good fix for this problem - time servers have fixed slotted time zones, they will not be aware of the change, and with many time dependant services out there, one will have to:

    - patch the time server, and client
    - stop time correction services
    - correct all interactions with all other proprietary systems

    I know of at least 20 telecommunications networks globally that due to lack of support for the networks (X.25 based paknet, some Smartzone systems and many others) these software issues will not be fixed, and I also know of at least a few areas where major billing mistakes could arise as a product of the time alterations.

    The biggest issue will occur in the instances where 'automatic time correction' occurs, as it is more like to become 'automatic time mis-correction' from now on - leading to a loss of 'base-truth' in the logs - which means the billing information cannot be reliably recovered.

    In this event the carriers loose legal standing to bill for that usage, as most would require 'base-truth' proof that calls occured, which is now no longer held to be reliable.

    Life or death issue? I hope not...

    Expensive? Most probably.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Geno, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 5:19am

    Early Time Change

    Early Time Change for me Means the Clock in my Car Will be Correct Earlier Than Usual

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Dave Thewlis, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 6:32am

    Extended DST Effects

    Life and death - no. Complications - certainly, if people don't take appropriate action or automated updates don't get made (and they are not always available). Nor in some cases will they have been done in a sufficiently timely fashion. CalConnect (The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium) is trying to assemble as much information about EDST as possible, especially advisories/patches/etc. for calendaring systems, OSs, and related products, at a http://www.calconnect.org/dstdocs.html which would be worth a look for anyone concerned, and especially those who feel this is a non-issue or strictly a consultant trick. Dave Thewlis Executive Director, CalConnect (NOT a Consultancy)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Matt, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 7:49am

    Y2K overblown!?

    The only reason Y2K didn't destroy the world so to say is because of people like me who had to find and edit tons of ancient mainframe code to prevent it from happening! Thankfully, we were able to avoid the problem, and did anybody thank us? Noooo...

    Just letting you know that Y2K was only "overblown" because we were able to fix it in time. The same thing goes for this DST thing: it's already been fixed (for several months in some cases) in many affected areas such as the C library (GNU libc for example, as well as uClibc (used in embedded devices usually) and even Microsoft's C library in some more recent versions of Windows) where the timezone files are maintained (see /usr/share/zoneinfo/ on Debian-based systems at least) and even Sun's Java libraries (which also implement the timezones independently of libc).

    Once we hit daylight saving time this year, most things will continue to work without a problem, and people will wonder why this got "blown out of proportion". Sure, fixing the timezone issue this time around is far easier than maintaining decades-old code and updating their use of year values (along with all the data associated with it in some cases, ugh), but the general public doesn't know that...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    a, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 8:47am

    The daylight savings issue is a problem. It really isn't an issue that affects clocks and meeting times. Take a look at how many things are controlled by time. Phone systems, doors, lighting systems, heating systems etc. There are many things controlled by time and ensuring that everything that will be affected is not an easy task. People might say its a joke until they can't get into their office for an hour, their automated phone system throws people into voicemail systems automatically during business hours or the light signal starts blinking red an hour early.

    Those that comment on the Y2K issue being overblown probably have not thought through all of the issues either. Most companies didn't even have an inventory of all of their systems before Y2K. When 911 happened, the work that was done for Y2K was invaluable in the recovery after 911. Companies had upgraded their systems, mapped out their architecture, improved their networks. Had that Y2K work not been done, recovering in the aftermath of 911 would have been much harder and taken a lot longer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Old IT tech, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 2:00pm

    Yet another person who spent much of 1999 in a lab testing code. Mainframe, UNIX, PC, didn't seem to matter much... a lot of that code broke the first time we ran it through a simulated Y2K. That code was then fixed and retested, and therefore was a "non event" on Jan 1, 2000.

    It would have been bad, if not for all that work.

    Annoys me to no end when people say "Y2K was overblown" as a blanket statement. Certainly there were fear-mongering greedy scam artists out there... and there was a LOT of very good work to make it a non-event.

    Is early DST as much risk as Y2K? I think not. Some risk? Yeah...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Mischa, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Daylight SAVING time

    Well, in my neck of the woods we call it Daylight Savings. :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    QED, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 11:05am

    Re: Y2K overblown!?

    Having run one of the largest Y2K remediation engagements anywhere (X.25? sure), I have some salient observations to impart:

    1. Y2K wasn't a century problem, it wasn't a millenium problem, it was an epoch transition problem. My favorite demo was -- and still is -- showing all the flaws in Microsoft Excel in handling transitions across epochs.

    2. Y2K was, as several have pointed out, a nonevent because of lots of hard work by lots of folks to make up for shortcomings in their forebears, the invariable charlatanage notwithstanding. We did our jobs well: by Sat PM, Jan 1, 2000, customer was racing to me begging for "at least one failure" to prove that the massive expenditures had been worthwhile. Fortunately, we'd obliged, in the form of a 286-based Sync Research X.25 PAD (R.I.P.) that had been soft-disconnected from the network and replaced online but not physically removed as the planned site visit on Dec 31 busted when the local contact with the TELCO closet keys was out sick. Said PAD failed hard at roughly 2am, but subsequent forensics were unable to discern the cause of that failure: the logs were complete gibberish. Yes, I suppose it _could_ have been coincidence. Right.

    3. Y2K was a big deal because it wasn't just an hour, it was a year, a day, all time forever (pick one). We saved folks' houses from sheriff's seizures that would've happened had preforeclosure payments not been properly recorded the fact that liens coming due had been satisfied. Etc.

    4. "A non-event"? Would you consider a bunch of your checks' bouncing because your deposit timestamp was off by an hour a non-event? There was (in Y2K) and is (with DST) lots of potentials like that, and more (some have been noted above in previous postings to this thread). One key area is that many of the patches only apply to current or very recent versions of software; anyone running the old stuff (e.g., earlier PeopleSoft versions) may well be on their own.

    There IS a positive side of a sort to EDST. Those planning certain nefarious schemes (e.g., visiting the mistress, slaying the MIL) get a bonus hour to cover their butts with alibis, as long as the deed's done on March 11. "That tollbooth timestamp showing my client was on the LIE right before his dear departed mother-in-law was murdered, your Honor, is a baldfaced lie, as it's a fact that no computer system can have been trusted with correct timestamps on March 11 because of the confusion surrounding the early conversion to Daylight Savings Time. My client was home in bed. I move for dismissal with prejudice."



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    zeke, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 6:41pm


    does anybody really know what time it is??Does anybody
    really care?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Sean, Mar 19th, 2007 @ 9:05am


    Double click the clock icon, change the timezone to something other than your current time zone, click apply and then change it back to your current timezone and click apply and ok.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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