April 2, 2007 4:26 PM PDT

Clocks play April Fools' joke

Were you fooled by your clock on Sunday? If so, you weren't alone.

Looks like not all electronic timekeepers knew that this year's daylight saving time started three weeks earlier than the first Sunday in April, when DST usually kicks off. Across the country, people woke up an hour early or thought they were running an hour late when glancing at a clock that had jumped ahead on the wrong day.

"The clock in my car was an hour off on Sunday," said John Sherwood, director of software engineering at CNET Networks, publisher of News.com. "I was thinking, 'I know getting out of the door with two little kids is hard, but this is getting ridiculous!'"

In Sherwood's case, the culprit was the clock in his 2006 Acura MDX. Patrons of a 24 Hour Fitness facility in Hermosa Beach, Calif., were thrown off by a pair of digital clocks that displayed the incorrect time. In other cases, people got tricked by VCRs and alarm clocks that also jumped ahead three weeks late.

Congress decided in 2005 to extend the period of daylight saving time by three weeks in spring and one in the fall, reasoning that providing more daylight in the early evening would reduce energy use.

But changing the daylight saving schedule has proved to be more involved than simply changing the clock on a different day. The shift has caused trouble with software set to self-adjust on the wrong day.

In the run-up to March 11, the day daylight saving time started, technology companies urged people to patch computers, smart phones and other products with clocks set to self-adjust on the wrong day. Many IT pros were struggling to apply all updates in time.

The move obviously affected calendaring applications, but also could have an impact on time-sensitive applications such as those that process sales orders or keep track of time cards. Analyst firm Gartner predicted problems including incorrect arrival and departure times in the travel industry, errors in bank transactions and cell phone billing software.

But like on April 1, no major disruptions were reported on March 12, the day after daylight saving time started, though some people were experiencing technology glitches. The bulk of the problems arose for people who had not updated their computers or had decided to postpone patching to the last minute, according to Microsoft.

If you were fooled by a clock on Sunday, make sure it gets updated, otherwise you're in for more fun on October 28, when daylight saving time was originally set to end, which now won't be until November 4.

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"Analyst firm Gartner predicted problems including incorrect arrival and departure times in the travel industry, errors in bank transactions and cell phone billing software.

But like on April 1, no major disruptions were reported on March 12"

Once again the hype and hysteria from Gartner was overblown. How many times do they get to cry wolf before people stop listening? Why do people actually pay for their advice?
Posted by solrosenberg (124 comments )
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Gartner's accuracy
is so poor that the safest place to stand is exactly where they say they're aiming their gun.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
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Congress approved extended Daylight Savings Time just to appear to be doing something. Please someone show good evidence that DST actually saves any money these days. Hmm let's see - in the summer - an additional hour of running A/C at home, as well as the A/C running at my office. Sounds like MORE energy usage to me. Oh, and having my lights on in the morning the last few weeks because it was DARK when I woke up - more "energy savings".
Posted by Nchantim (10 comments )
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I read about the new DST change the day that MS cane out with the auto update for it. But I was unaware of the update and tried to apply it manually myself. My new Dell P4 3100, Windows XP Home, had a fit. Had to reboot to even get it back up and running. The new DST setting never took.

Then I tried to apply the update for my Windows Mobile 5.0 PDA, also a Dell, an Axim X51v. More headaches, as the update did not take there either.

Now I had two units that could not make up their minds between themselves as to what the time was and when all of my appointments were supposed to be. The appointments kept changing times and/or lengths.

I finally cut the PDA off from accessing the time/date of the PC, and had to keep resetting my appointments during the three week period of the new DST thing.

Both units seem to have settled into DST now since 04-01. It would be nice to know what happened when I ran those updates, but I'm really just concerned that things will run smoothly from now on.

Not that I really believe that they will. Wait'll Fall, and things fall back apart...
Posted by Casting Fool (2 comments )
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