Switch to daylight saving time might cause problems
In what can best be termed as a "quiet uproar," the IT community is abuzz with speculation regarding the "daylight saving bug."
You see, in 2005, Congress decided to extend the period of daylight saving time, springing forward three weeks earlier, and falling back one week later.
As a result most of the mainland will move their clocks forward one hour on the second Sunday in March. This year, that day is March 11.
Theoretically, this bug could manifest in software designed to automatically account for, and adjust to daylight saving time.
Rather than adjusting on March 11, such software would adjust on the old cutover day, the first Sunday in April. Somewhat appropriately, this year that is April Fool's Day.
Lucky you live Hawaii?
Like Arizona and those parts of Indiana that don't have electricity yet, we don't have to change our clocks, so we shouldn't be affected, right?
Well, maybe not.
Certainly for software that is only used locally, like our calendars, we shouldn't have a problem. But if you are traveling, coordinating video conferences, conference calls or other meetings with mainland folk, this could cause a problem. For such events, it is best to pay special attention to scheduling, perhaps with a separate e-mail, or (gasp!) even a phone call.
Problems for Hawaii folk could extend beyond simple calendaring and scheduling. Many industries nationally could be affected that have a local impact. For example, software geared for our No. 1 industry, tourism, could be affected, what with arrival and departure times being off by an hour.
If you do your banking online with mainland-based banks (or even local banks that use mainland-based services), your transactions could be recorded at the wrong time. Trying to eke out that extra day of interest? Maybe make your payment a day or two early to avoid any hassles.
What about cell phones? Waiting for the "evening" rate to kick in? Might be better to hold off for an hour or two.
Are we making too much of this so-called bug? Maybe. After all, most of the major software vendors and service providers have released patches or fixes to accommodate this situation.
Microsoft just released a fix for Windows XP last week. Oracle, Java, Apple, and Cisco have all released patches.
Manual adjustments of time should be able to be applied to most of the affected software.
Perhaps the best solution of all is to just pay attention and take special care between March 11 and April 1.
Don't forget about the period between October 28 and November 4, 2007 either. Daylight saving time ends one week later, on the first Sunday in November instead of the last Sunday in October.
With any luck, by the time the mainland falls back this year, most reputable software applications will be fixed.
is president of ISDI Technologies Inc., a Honolulu-based IT consultancy. Call him at 944-8742 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org