Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The DST Bug

Tonight, we start Daylight Savings Time three weeks earlier than normal.

According to a story in yesterday's Daily Evergreen:
People might be surprised Sunday morning when some of their clocks are an hour ahead.

This switch is because of a daylight saving time change, a month earlier than usual.

Daylight saving time usually has the country set its clocks forward one hour during April. This year, as a part of the national Energy Policy Act of 2005, DST’s start moved to March.

As for local businesses, most expect little impact.

“It really hasn’t impacted us because it’s really a function of the weather,” said Norm Ruhoff, assistant manager of the Whitman County Growers Association.

Associate professor of horticulture Preston Andrews said farmers work based on daylight, not necessarily the number of hours in a day. The calendar change will keep the same number of daylight hours, just switch the times. Andrews said there will be more dark hours in the morning, and more sunlight in the afternoon.

Farmers should not expect much effect, Andrews said. They use the sun, not a clock, and they rely on the weather for growing.

For students, it will be spring break, and the move forward at 2 a.m. Sunday should not disturb them.
As usual, the Evergreen reporter missed the bigger story. There is more to local business than farming.

Fox News reports:
Everything from appointment times to banking transactions could be affected by this switch, and with so many businesses relying on the regulation of an internal clocking system, technology experts are bracing for the upcoming glitches.

"The worst case is that it will wreak all kinds of havoc on your network," said Mark Arnold, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Master Key Consulting, a Bethesda, Md.-based information-technology firm. "You could have employees who aren't able to sign in to the network or you could lose data. A lot of things could go wrong."

The change is especially worrisome for organizations that are sensitive to timed events. For example, Master Key Consulting, an Inc. 500 firm, works within a network that includes businesses on the West Coast, in Alaska, and even China, making time synchronization extremely important, Arnold said. If some people on the network are operating on a different time schedule, it could interfere with standard business communications. Additionally, companies that operate a large mobile network and have employees using mobile PCs will also be affected by the change.

Another area that could be a cause for concern for businesses is e-mail. Operations that rely heavily on appointments in desktop calendar programs like Microsoft Outlook will have to install further updates.
ANY business that relies on computers on the Palouse is going to be affected by the earlier time change. As most of you know, I'm an IT professional, and take it from, this "DST bug" has been much more of a hassle than the "Y2K Bug." One reason is that earlier time change received little press and many software vendors waited until the last minute to release patches. I'm sure if the Evergreen has contacted the WSU IT staff, they would have found that they had been greatly impacted as well.

Monday could ber very interesting.


April E. Coggins said...

The change to Daylight Savings Time is good for everyone. Golf courses, parks, bicyclers, motorcycle shops, restaurants, etc., will enjoy the benefits of the extra hour after work. Daylight Savings Time is much more realistic to peoples lives, even in winter. Personally, I would prefer to sleep an extra hour in the dark in exchange for an extra hour of daylight while I am awake. Standard time treats daylight time in the opposite. Time is a man-made measurement, so we can change time to be whatever we like. I prefer Daylight Savings all-year.

Scotty said...

I like daylight savings time. I always have. I love it being light out later as I usually sleep until 10 am anyway.

That is more time at the river when it is warmer out. More time to do stuff in the evenings. DST is the bestest.