Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The DST bug?

I was musing the other evening that it was getting dark earlier, and that soon I'm going to be riding home in the dark again (always a fun addition to the set of circumstances that endanger an urban cyclist's life on any given day), and Velma mentioned that she thought daylight saving time (DST) had been pushed back by a month this year.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act, signed recently by Resident Bush, does push back DST by four weeks. But, I learned today, it doesn't go into effect until 2007.

This will, in turn, create a series of unfortunate problems that some technology analysts are saying trumps the famed Y2K bug. Most people have lots of electronics with clocks or timers. Often these gadgets auto-update their clocks to compensate for DST. When the correct date in spring and fall roll around, the chip in your VCR or microwave or digital camera or cellphone or the-list-goes-on, knows to change it's internal clock. Some Internet-enabled devices, like my Macs, can set their clock by syncing with an online clock.

But many devices are never going to get the update they'd require to know that DST starts a month later in 2007. Can you imagine your DVD manufacturer providing a downloadable firmware update on their website? Not likely.

So does this mean we'll have millions of wrong clocks and potentially obsolete electronics heading to America's already overfilled landfills starting in 2007?


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