Your DST IT nightmare: Who's to blame? Hint: They're in DC

Summary:"Day light saving just brings a smile to everybody’s faces.” --Rep.

"Day light saving just brings a smile to everybody’s faces.” --Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., on March 8.

Talk about disconnects between Washington D.C. and reality.

Markey, one of the people most responsible for the DST change this weekend, wouldn't know a server if it fell on his head. After all, IT departments aren't exactly smiling right now. But Markey--along with Congressional comrade Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.--never bothered to check with techies before adding an amendment to change DST in the 2005 energy bill. No one did. DST is all roses to them.

While you're patching Markey is issuing statements about how swell DST is.

But who will get the blame for any DST problems? Most likely your friendly neighborhood technology vendor. As the biggest software player out there Microsoft is likely to take its DST lumps this weekend. Your respective IT departments may also take their lumps as will much of the tech sector.

After reading Mary Jo Foley's post on Microsoft's struggle to help their customers with their DST woes I almost feel bad for Redmond. And that's really hard to do.

Could these fixes be executed better? Sure. But all the blame belongs with the Federal government--specifically Congress and President Bush for moving along a DST change without evaluating the technology costs or pain involved. Apparently I'm not alone in this assessment. Kevin Dean posted in a talkback:

Microsoft isn't the only one having problems with this. I opened a case with Sun regarding the availability of their DST-patched Java runtimes and got a resolution to the problem only last week. Now I'm scrambling to get all my client workstations, my application server, and my database properly patched.

The blame for this fiasco lies squarely with Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, and Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, for sponsoring the amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The amount of energy saved is miniscule at this time of year (unlike in summer with its longer days) and the disruption they have caused to computer systems and transportation schedules (especially airlines) is phenomenal.


Markey cites a study predicting $4.4 billion saved by 2020, or $33.8 million a year for 13 years. Talk about made up baseline ROI projections. That's a guess at best.

If those statistics were such a slam dunk the Secretary of Energy wouldn't have to report to Congress whether the DST move saved any money. As Matthew Miller reports Congress can decide to keep the new DST schedule even if no benefit is found. Conversely, these Congressional sages could decide to flip back to the old schedule.

In either case don't expect the Feds to check in with IT types first.

Topics: Microsoft

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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