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

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.

TOPICS: Microsoft

"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.

Topic: Microsoft

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  • idea for even more savings

    If Rep. Markey and the ACEEE really think cranking the switchover ahead four weeks will save billions, I have an idea that ought to save us trillions: when we changover on March 10, NEVER CHANGE BACK. It would cut IT costs as well as save the environment!
    • Brilliant

      Are you annoyed by this sensless topic too?

    • Better yet

      If one hour is good, twelve must be lots better, right?

      Moonlight Savings Time. Get up in time to be at work by sundown, be home about as the sun comes up. Sleep through the hottest part of the day and reserve the less-blistering night time hours for outdoor activity.

      What's more, no messing with the clocks.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Quit whinning

    Are you kidding me? Who's to blame. There are overwhelming reasons to adjust the DST. Quit trying to cast blame on someone and just acknowledge it was necessare it causes a few hiccups, you will have to adjust your computer, cell phone, etc. Bid deal. It may take a few hours out of your life. You'll probably learn something new in the process. It does get irritating to read how someone has to be blamed for every change in life. Quit wasting time looking for the person to blame, adjust to the change and move on with your life. Especially since we are not talking some aggregious act of harm to the masses.

    • quit whinning?

      If you beleive the nonsense you just wrote, you are a bigger moron than the politicians that created this mess!!
      • If you have to bitch about pressing a few buttons and click some links....

        You are the biggest, laziest moron I have ever read about!
        • f you have to bitch about pressing a few buttons and click some links..??

          Just another example of someone letting their mouth run away before the brain engages. Do a little research about what is really going on. It is not a matter of clicking some links and pressing a few buttons.

          Your ignorance on the real problems can only be surprassed by your ability to stuff both of your feet into your mouth at the same time.
        • What are you talking about!!!!!

          Its not that IT is lazy. If you think that is the case you have obviously never worked in a large IT department that supports a large user base. When you have to apply 2 or more patches to a couple hundred or thousand machines and then apply patches to remote users who aren't on your network (so central patch management doesn't work), and then have to patch your server all in a specific order to make the update work you will see the problem. There is still the chance the patch may cause problems for the end users calendars and that individual fixes may need to be applied later. How about the fact that there are so many different products that require patches for the new DST?? Windows, Outlook, Exchange, SQL, DB2, Windows Mobile, MAC, Palm, etc... The time to research the correct patch for each device could be staggering in a large environment.

          Before you point the finger next time, please look at it from all angles and make sure your facts are somewhat straight.
    • Whinning??? You have no clue!

      I guess you don't operate servers and don't know even what they are. So I suggest you hang on the phone for 4 puls hours with Microsoft and other software vendors and see if you can fix the problem. You must be a person who fixes something that must not have to be fix and when you break it you blame someone else so they have to fix your mistake for you. If you think its a problem just be lucky you not in a hospital that has to change the medical machines. If you think thats Whinning if someone get hurt and dies you can just tell the family stop WHINNING! I guess you forgot to think before writing your post about the big picture and I only scratched a samml part of the surface.

      Also BTW I was one of the people who fixed some of the W2K problems so you folks did not have to worry about everything going down!
      • this is why companies have IT people

        are you whining about your job?
        do another one.
        • ignoramouses coming out of the woodwork

          You are yet another example of a person that seems incapable of either understanding or researching the real issues being discussed here.

          Do a little research about what is really involved before shooting off your mouth. I suggest you visit a few of the software forums (MS is but one example) to see how this problem is being addressed.

          Any company using a CDO based MS product (Exchange, SQL, etc) will be affected by the upcoming DST change. The tools being supplied by MS are dodgy at best. No one knows for sure what will happen when DST changes over this weekend. MS should have been testing for this over a year ago. No waiting until the last minute to release tools that so far are not proving reliable outside of a lab environment.

          Don't take my word for it, go here and do some research for yourself:

          Read the MS Exchange blog to the very end. Then come back and tell us it is just some button pushing and to stop whining.
        • No it's not

          Business have IT people to increase productivity. How does the DST changes increase productivity? Had the DST change been left alone there would be no need to have IT staff postpone projects that have a direct effect on productivity to fix a problem caused by governments passing laws with little or no thought.

          I say we all boycot DST. Come Monday we show up for work an hour late in protest!
          • No they don't

            Businesses have IT to quantify costs and to provide services to the users of their
            network. Period. IT is nothing but a service group within a company that is
            charged with maintaining the network, devices attached to it and making sure all
            users can get their job done. Unfortunately (In My Experiences), IT has no interest
            in increasing the productivity of the company but in making their job as simple as
            possible at the expense of productivity in the company.
          • Not here

            Where I work we do stive to increase productivity. Increased productivity has direct result on my finacial well being. The more productive business is the more I stand to finacially gain and it also means better job security to boot. On top of that I get a better sense of worth from my job. I feel I'm accomplishing something. For me the users are my customers I do my best to make sure they are happy and as productive as possible.
          • No they don't

            Businesses have IT to quantify costs and to provide services to the users of their
            network. Period. IT is nothing but a service group within a company that is
            charged with maintaining the network, devices attached to it and making sure all
            users can get their job done. Unfortunately (In My Experiences), IT has no interest
            in increasing the productivity of the company but in making their job as simple as
            possible at the expense of productivity in the company.
      • Y2K???

        Oh, I remember that non-event. That was the one where the world was going to end at 12:01AM....But nothing happened for the most part and everyone got stuck with the emergency generators and stockpiled water and MRE's.
        • because...

          Nothing happened thanks to the help and hard work of thousands of IT professionals working day and night to update every system in the world to handle the change.

          Please make sure you know what you are talking about before you start blurting things out. It is both frustrating for the people who know what is going on, confusing for those who don't, and just an overall waste of time for everyone.
          • Y2K could have been fixed

            Y2K could have been prevented if software companies had bothered to put the full dates in the computers instead of truncating them to the last two digits...
          • Easy to say NOW.

            When you buy system RAM for less than $1 per [i]mega[/i]byte, and hard drive storage for less than $1 per [i]giga[/i]byte, it’s easy to talk about spending an extra two bytes per date value to store the full four digits of the year.

            But those legacy COBOL systems were written back in the 1950s — 60s, when [i]mainframe[/i] computer systems had only a fraction of the [i]hard drive storage space[/i] (on drives the size of a washing machine) as your [i]laptop[/i] today has [i]RAM![/i] When a mere [i]kilobyte[/i] of RAM filled a major portion of a room, and consisted of thousands of vaccuum tubes, and costs [i]millions[/i] of dollars just by itself (not even counting the computer)! When data entry of records was limited by the 80-character [i]total[/i] limit of Hollerith punch cards.

            Every byte was exceedingly precious. Using two extra bytes to store the year for each and every date value in each record in a database that may store several dates each for each of millions of records? That adds up!

            Oh, and the Y2K problem (or something very like it) will happen again, and soon. While dates are no longer stored as simple numeric digits like they were back then, they’re stored now in a binary format that basically counts the number of days since a particular reference day (e.g. Jan 1, 1900), with the time stored as the number of milliseconds into that day or some such. Each of those is a four-byte (32-bit) value, so that the whole date and time is eight bytes (64 bits) long.

            The thing is, those can and will overflow and wrap around, just like Y2K. Depending on the OS and application and how exactly it stores dates, it will happen sometime in the next few decades. 64-bit OSes use double the bits for these values, and have enough room to store dates far into the future of when our species is likely to go extinct, but many database records still use the 32-bit date structures, and those will overflow no matter what the OS and software use. Furthermore, the exact overflow date won’t be some nice round number like Y2K was, that was easy for the general populace to understand. The UNIX 32-bit time_t clock, for instance, will overflow at 03:14:08 UTC on January 19, 2038, wrapping back around to 20:45:52 UTC on December 13, 1901.
            Joel R
          • Let me get this straight.

            A software design team, in charge of designing time management in the OS,
            designed DST and time zones with hard coded rules even though DST rules have
            changed frequently in the past?

            I understand what is going on. A bad software design came back and caused lots of
            pain to a companies customers. The best part is, the people getting blamed are not
            the ones that did the poor job of doing software design.