Monday, February 12, 2007

DST Changes in USA/Canada... Similarities to Y2K

Remember the countdown to the Year 2000? Everyone was afraid their computers would be screwed up due to the Y2K bug where computers only used two digit representations of the year. We seem to have come out unscathed from that.

Fast forward 7 years and we now have another time/date related issue. A couple years ago, the US introduced an energy bill which changed the start and end dates for Daylight Saving Time (DST). For the most part, Canada is also adopting this change in DST. These changes, which move the start date of DST back three weeks, and the end date of DST ahead one week, will likely cause issues with any time-dependent operations that fall within this time period, including those that are stored in computers.

Microsoft has updated many of its applications to account for the new DST rules. Among these products include their Windows operating systems, Exchange Server, Outlook, Live Meeting, etc. Microsoft just released a similar update for their Windows Mobile 2003 and 5.0 devices today (PocketPC/Smartphone).

Microsoft has a 'Daylight Saving Time Help and Support Center' site that should help answer questions about what products you'll need to update.

In general, you should also be aware of any time/date dependent items that fall during the new DST affected days. This includes other computer software you may be using. If you have anything that is dependent on time (i.e. meetings, travel etc), you should check to make sure everything is literally on time. Otherwise, you might find yourself off by an hour!

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