PDAs stumble over daylight saving change

The extension of daylight saving to April 6 is causing problems for PDA users at one large government department.

Computerworld New Zealand has been told of several instances of individuals missing appointments, particularly when having to synch with others overseas. The department, which spoke on condition of not being named, describes the situation as chaotic, with people missing meetings and mixed-up bookings for meeting rooms.

The department recently spent NZ$100,000 (US$78,710) on new PDAs. It maintains the issue is one for its supplier but the supplier said it is a Microsoft issue.

Microsoft Windows platform marketing manager David Rayner said there could be issues if people have done a rebuild during the daylight saving period or bought new PDAs.

"Over the year, phones and PDAs change," he said. "They have to do another update."

He said that if the appropriate Microsoft patch has been downloaded and applied correctly users shouldn't have any problems.

"Larger organizations should work with their IT team or technology partner for assistance, and escalate to us if needed," he said. Rayner said Microsoft has received little or no feedback on the daylight saving change.

But the government department affected said its supplier put out a fix a few weeks ago, which proved difficult to roll out to its PDAs because individual users didn't have the depth of experience to implement it. The fix was distributed via an email attachment.

The irony was that when a senior IT person at the department needed to meet with his supplier, the two parties had to make the appointment by phone because their PDAs weren't in synch.

Microsoft Australia last week issued an advisory to users, reminding and recommending them to update their software to reflect upcoming changes to daylight saving in New South Wales, Victoria, ACT, Tasmania and South Australia.

The company also announced the availability of downloadable software updates which will automatically adjust products like Windows, Outlook, Windows Mobile and other time-dependent systems. In October 2007, the states and territories agreed to harmonize and extend their daylight saving dates.

Customers in other states are being urged to update their systems.

-- Additional reporting by Sandra Rossi

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