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Energy Bill May Make Americans Late

Posted by geeknews at 7:34 AM on August 8, 2005

With the upcoming change to how the United States will calculate Daylight Saving Time (DST), users of digital calendars may find themselves arriving late for appointments. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, expected to be signed into law today, will cause unexpected havoc for electronic calendars, including those in PCs, handheld computers, and even personal digital recorders. Who would have thought?


Many digital devices, including everyone’s personal computer, have built-in clocks that keep track of the current date and time. These devices usually have internal calendars that automatically adjust for daylight saving time each spring and return to standard time in the autumn. The new law will move the start of daylight saving time forward by three weeks and extend it by a total of four weeks. So, for four weeks each year, digital devices that do not account for the changes in DST dates will be off by an hour.

Many people wait to make cellular calls until their free nighttime minutes begin. If the cellular nighttime schedule is off by an hour, nocturnal conversations could easily run up almost $1,000 a month in per-minute charges.

Dave’s Opinion
I expect that Microsoft will quickly release a patch to Microsoft Windows XP and 2003 so users of these operating systems will see the correct time in the system task bar; however, users of older versions of Windows, such as Windows 95/98/Me/2000 may be out of luck. Microsoft no longer offer full updates service for these operating systems.

I hope that Palm offers a patch for my handheld computer. I rely totally on my Tungsten E2 to keep me on time for my appointments.

Thankfully, I wake up to a digital alarm clock that synchronizes with an atomic clock via a radio signal, so I should get up at the right time, each day. But, will I know when to go to bed?

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments below.

One Comment

  1. From blankmeyer at 2:55 pm on August 8, 2005

    Y2K Part II ?

    As the media makes a mountain out of a molehill on this one, I cannot help but be reminded of Y2K. Yeah, there could be some hiccups. Yeah, TiVo might have to be patched. Yeah, I might have to adjust the time on my five year old watch and then adjust it back once it auto-adjusts a month later (or would it be earlier?).

    There is plenty of time for technology makers to solve this ‘problem’. But rational thinking will not win out. Products not labeled “2007 Daylight Savings Compliant” will sit on the store shelves with consumers afraid not to buy them. Marketing teams are going to eat through their budgets on this one, recreating product package complete with a new-fangled, neon colored sticker proclaiming compliance. Not to mention the TV ads they’re going to have to produce.

    It will be a Y2K scare all over again. I better start restocking the bomb shelter and stockpiling weaponry.