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IT and New Zealand Daylight Savings update

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-May-2007 10:48

Prepare your IT department folks, we don't have much time now - and ask your friendly OS supplier to update their OS. New Zealand is changing its Daylight Saving Time period from 2007.

Like the U.S. did this year with its Energy Policy Act of 2005, New Zealand is also changing the DST, according to the Department of Internal Affairs:


New Zealanders will have three weeks more daylight saving from 30 September this year following the decision by the Labour-led Government to extend the period to 27 weeks, Internal Affairs Minister Rick Barker announced today.

Clocks will go forward an hour a week earlier than usual - on the last Sunday in September- and back an hour on the first Sunday in April, instead of the third Sunday in March. This is the first change in daylight saving since 1990.

“The earlier start will also avoid clashing with the start of the fourth school term, which has caused disruptions for schools and families in the past. However more broadly over the longer term we will also be monitoring the effects on other parts of the economy, such as the energy sector, to see if there are long term sustainable benefits.

“Part of this ongoing monitoring will include the Department of Internal Affairs actively engaging in research that identifies potential positive and sustainable impacts experienced by other territories that have extended their daylight saving regimes,” said Rick Barker.

Rick Barker directed the Department of Internal Affairs to review daylight saving following public debate generated by Nelson City Councillor Mark Holmes in March 2006. Mr Holmes and United Future leader Peter Dunne recently presented a petition to Parliament on this issue.

“The Department of Internal Affairs will now work with computer companies and industries to update operating systems incorporating the time changes before the start of daylight saving,” Rick Barker said.

Daylight saving for 2007-08 will start at 2am on 30 September 2007 and end at 3am on 6 April 2008.



Now, "include the Department of Internal Affairs actively engaging in research that identifies potential positive and sustainable impacts experienced by other territories that have extended their daylight saving regimes" should really include reading the conclusions that extending the U.S. DST did not provide any benefit in terms of energy savings (Ars Technica, Reuters):


As it turns out, the US Department of Energy (and almost everyone else except members of Congress) was correct when they predicted that there would be little energy savings. This echoed concerns voiced after a similar experiment was attempted in Australia. Critics pointed out a basic fact: the gains in the morning will be offset by the losses at night, and vice-versa, at both ends of the switch. That appears to be exactly what happened.

Reuters spoke with Jason Cuevas, spokesman for Southern Co. power, who said it plainly: "We haven't seen any measurable impact." New Jersey's Public Service Enterprise Group said the same thing: "no impact" on their business.


There's an economical impact though, and this comes from all those technology-based businesses and tools that need to have their processes, computers, instruments adapted with all the potential for trouble.

For example, is anyone from Microsoft on the ball working on this update for all their operating systems? Remember, as I posted before, ANZ still uses Windows 2000 Professional.

And what about people using Windows Mobile devices? They never got the New Zealand DST right anyway, and I received e-mails from people at Telecom who had CxO level people missing flights because the timezone on their Pocket PCs were not changing on time with their Exchange Servers (and no this is not a Telecom problem, it happens with any Windows Mobile when synchronising with Exchange Servers during the first and last week of New Zealand DST).

This problem was reported to Microsoft many times, but I've never seem a fix - impossible they said. But when the U.S. changed their DST a fix came for them. Very convenient, right?

Do you run Java applications in your infrastructure? Check out Sun's explanation on how Java applications can be affected byt DST:


The United States has planned a change to its DST observance beginning in 2007. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandates that DST will start on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November. In 2007, the start and stop dates will be March 11 and November 4, respectively. These dates are different from previous DST start and stop dates. In 2006, the dates were the first Sunday in April (April 2, 2006) and the last Sunday in October (October 29, 2006).

Some countries are still evaluating whether they will adopt the new rules for themselves. You should anticipate more changes in DST and time zone rules for countries that typically align with U.S. DST rules.

The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) stores rules about DST observance all around the globe. Older JREs will have outdated rules that will be superseded by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. As a result, applications running on an older JRE may report incorrect time from March 11, 2007 through April 2, 2007 and from October 29, 2007 through November 4, 2007.



So, did the New Zealand government take in consideration the monumental task IT departments have ahead of them now? Analysing, coding, testing, deploying, testing DST changes?

What sectors would be impacted? Tourism, telecommunications, broadcasting, distribution channels. Anything with a computer.

Let's just hope people have already started working on this, because September 2007 is just around the corner from now.



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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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