Congress is debating an Energy bill, and one of the measures of that bill is to lengthen Daylight Savings Time about a month.

For those who may be outside of the US, or places along the equator, there are some countries that change their time clocks to take advantage of more sunlight during the local summer months. In the United States, we change our clocks at the first Sunday in April, and again at the last Sunday in October. In April, we move our clocks ahead one hour (Spring Ahead), and in October, we move them back (Fall Back). By doing this, we add more hours of daylight to be more active, and during our colder winter months, it encourages more inside / sleep time.

With Congress considering these bills, think of the following:

* How do computers handle the time change? When decisions of what files are older/newer for backups and databases, how is that handled? Do the programs consult the "system time", or do they go with a hard-coded routine?

* How will other programs outside your enterprise be affected by the time change?

* How about hard-coded devices, like your VCR, that knows how to change the time today, but will not know the new standard enforced by Congress?

Considering that most programs have been written since the 1970's, they have lived in an era of a standardized time scheme. Now, with some ink from Congress, think of all the IT processes that need to be considered and executed.

I forsee a situation similar to the great Y2K situation: a complete audit of industry code to see how the timechange is handled, so that software vendors can see if they rely on the system to change the time, or go with their own internal code.

Personally, I like the idea. Not because it is more work, but because I like being active, and felt that October was too early to have the Sun go down so early.


Recommended Answers

All 4 Replies

Well, Y2K, problem though it was, was tremendously overhyped, so that in actuality it was not much more than a whimper compared to the great cry that all the doodads claimed it was going to be. Then again, if you made yourself a "consultant", in those days, you probably won't complain because you were likely dragging down some large money by going in and scaring the bejesus out of clueless corporate pinheads.

This is different sort of issue, but there's little reason to be alarmed; in fact even less worry is warranted than was warranted for the Y2K "bug". VCR's don't know (or care) where they are; the time they display is either manually set, or acquired from a local time source external to the maching itself. After all, how would the VCR know if it was being used in an area that does or doesn't use DST?

Computers are similar, in that I doubt that DST is hardcoded in: the computer simply syncs with some external time server, either on the 'net or on its LAN. Backup software can intelligently handle file backups by taking the time change into consideration when determining file age. The fact that this change takes place a few weeks sooner or later shouldn't matter to the software.

Still, there might have been some "smart" programmers who decided it made sense to hard-code DST into their apps by calculating the change based on future calendars, just like those "smart" (and now unemployed) programmers in the early days of 6 and 8 MHz processors wrote timing loops into their programs based on clock ticks because they were too lazy to write code to convert clock ticks into seconds. Their timing periods shrank into infinity, their programs crashed, and they are today spending all their newly found free time doing landscaping or writing letters to the editors of their local newspapers.

I think there is a potential for some "interesting" situations, but I don't think there will be any major crises.

Another point to add is that any energy bill that changes Daylight savings time likely won't take place immediately -- its probably going to be gradually introduced.

In addition, this would affect 1 month of the year. Worst case scenario, your VCR time (which nobody uses anyway) will be off by an hour for one month.

The energy savings our country would gain would be well worth any small problems that can be easily fixed.

Last I heard they were talking about 2007. I'm hoping the energy savings will be significant... we could use it.

I don't see how that bill will affect our energy consumption at all. I will still turn on the lights when the sun goes down no matter what time the clock says it is. And, if I were a farmer, the time change will not affect when I have to milk the cows, feed the hogs, or plow the fields.

Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts meeting, networking, learning, and sharing knowledge.