Tech Tuesday: Will daylight-saving time affect your computer?

Tech Tuesday: Will daylight-saving time affect your computer?

From Information Resources and Technologies

Daylight-saving time will take place Sunday, March 11. Will you and your computer be ready?

What is happening?
It is that time of year again; spring is right around the corner and our thoughts turn to vacations and warmer weather. The days are brighter and soon (three weeks sooner than normal) we will turn the clocks ahead for daylight-saving time (DST). When Congress passed a law in 2005 that changed DST, (adding three weeks in the spring and one week in the fall) it seemed like a win-win situation – more daylight hours and less energy being consumed, these are good things; however, with the good comes the bad.

It turns out that when Congress decided we could all use a bit more sunshine, it overlooked the impact this change would have on electronic devices that were programmed prior to the passing of this 2005 law. What this means is that software created before the law is set to automatically advance its timekeeping by one hour on the first Sunday in April, not the second Sunday in March.

The DST glitch has been called a mini version of Y2K. Hopefully, for most computer users, the effect of DST will likely be an inconvenience at worst – with the result being that their time is off an hour for a few weeks. Most likely, computers will be updated with new software by then, or configured to connect to network time servers that will know the correct time. But because not everyone's computer is networked or updated, some glitches could occur – especially in consumer electronics devices that aren't designed to be reprogrammed.

What are we doing?
IRT has been actively reviewing our computer workstations, servers, databases and applications and applying the appropriate patches or “fixes” as needed.

We have scheduled an additional change management weekend on Sunday, March 4, to perform computer maintenance prior to DST. Because of the large number of patches that will need to be made over the next several weeks, it is possible that there may be additional computer outages scheduled to apply these patches. We will notify the community in advance of any outage and try to keep any service disruption to a minimum.

Ideally, we would like to apply all of the patches at one time to minimize the inconvenience to our users. However, due to the nature of this issue we are still waiting for many of the vendors to release patches for their applications.

We also will be updating our Microsoft Exchange e-mail servers. As the Exchange patch is applied, it will go through each individual mailbox, possibly preventing access for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until the patch is finished. Due to the size of the e-mail system at UST, we still are working on the details of the patch process and will provide more information when the exact dates of the update have been determined. Note: We anticipate that this will take place over several days.

What can you do?
If you notice differences after March 11, please let us know. This way we can investigate and resolve any outstanding issues that may not have been identified and fixed by the patches.

If you have any questions or concerns about daylight-saving time please contact the Tech Desk, (651) 962-6230.