DST Change Causing Minor Technology Crisis
Mimicking Y2K: Time Change Comes Early
By CHARLES BABINGTON & TOMOEH MURAKAMI TSE
The Washington Post
March 4, 2007
WASHINGTON - Perhaps the worst that will happen in millions of offices on the second Monday in March is that caffeine-deprived workers will wonder why their automatic coffeemakers failed to perk on schedule. In less lucky workplaces, however, employees might miss meetings, overbook conference rooms or inaccurately record the time or date of important financial transactions.
For the first time in 20 years, daylight-saving time will not start on the first Sunday in April. Instead, it will begin three weeks earlier, at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, the 11th.
Devices from the tiniest BlackBerry to the largest mainframe computer must be updated to ensure their internal clocks "spring forward" by one hour at the right moment rather than on the old date, which has been written into countless programs. Similarly, they must be reprogrammed to revert to standard time a week later than usual, on Nov. 4. Congress decided in 2005 to expand daylight-saving time by four weeks, starting this year, in hopes of conserving energy by pushing more human activity into sunlit hours.
Throughout the country, technicians for businesses and governments have been working with vendors or software providers to make sure the fixes are made on time.
Many workplaces reported confidence that the situation is under control. "We've had a team together for some time," said Shirley Norton, a spokeswoman for Bank of America. "We should be ready." Airlines, which rely on accurate takeoff and landing schedules, said they were prepared.
Some organizations, however, have hit bumps. At T. Rowe Price, about two dozen information-technology staffers have been coordinating with more than 160 vendors to make sure the 200 computer applications used in the Baltimore brokerage firm's offices will operate seamlessly March 11 and beyond.
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