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On New Zealand DST changes: congratulations Telecom, Microsoft... Sorry Apple users

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Sep-2007 08:28

Today is the start of the updated New Zealand Dailight Saving Time. I have to say congratulations to Telecom New Zealand and Microsoft. And be sorry for any enterprise Mac OS X users out there.

I read a lot of misinformed opinion about DST changes, which is something that affected New Zealand (with extra weeks of DST), Australia and soon the U.S.

To prevent having to apply patches to their PC, even some technical people thought that they could just disable the automatic clock update on their server OS and manually change the time during the extra weeks, turning the feature back on when the old DST time kicked in.

The problem is that that same people use Exchange and Outlook to manage their appointments, and even though there's no "international" appointments not many people realise how things are stored.

Appointments (and many other data) are stored with time in the GMT timezone. This way it's easy to show the correct time if and when the user moves from one timezone to another. The problem is that if we have DST rules in our PCs that do not conform with the real life rules in place then appointments will show one hour later or earlier during those extra DST weeks. Worst if we have updated machines interacting with non-updated machines.

The problem goes even further if you create appointments during those extra weeks, but falling outside DST. All those appointments will be shifted one hour when the DST ends, and havoc is upon us.

Now, this is only one example. What about international travel where people crosses many timezones? And if you create meetings in other timezones?

Microsoft New Zealand did a great job of creating patches for their Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows Server OS platforms, plus for Exchhange Server, Microsoft Outlook and Windows Mobile.

Not only Microsoft issued a patch for all those platforms, but this patch was sent with the monthly automatic update a couple of months ago, so your mom and pop won't have their PCs running on the wrong time, neither the big corporate will have problems.

Telecom New Zealand even sent out a SMS to all of their Windows Mobile users informing people to visit a website to apply the patch. Vodafone New Zealand did not go that far, but sent out a press release asking people to check with their manufacturers.

Sun sent out information and an updated Java Runtime, as well other platforms had the same.

What computer company was missed? Apple Inc did not issue a patch for this. Were they too busy with the Apple iPod Touch, or simply deemed the New Zealand market too small to need an update? I understand there's a third party patch for this, but users will have to manually find it and apply the correction - which is not ideal. It should have been an automatic update. 

I hope they do release an update for the U.S. market though.

UPDATE: Rod is not happy with his RIM Blackberry and Vodafone New Zealand either.

UPDATE: for users interested in the Microsoft patches, follow this link to the Microsoft NZ Timezone page.

Other related posts:
Windows 8 Mail app not hyperlinking emails
Are we seeing the death of Windows RT?
Windows 8 Consumer Preview






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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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