Apple's DST solution 'very poor', say local users

Manually bumping your clock forward could cause problems

Daylight saving time started yesterday, but while Microsoft was out informing customers and distributing patches, Apple simply recommended customers manually put their clocks forward an hour.

This is a very poor solution, says one local developer. If you manually bump your clock forward it will give you the correct time when you read it on the screen, but in relation to the time in the rest of the world, the clock on your computer is an hour fast, says Karl von Randow, of multimedia studio Cactuslab in Auckland.

If you pull up your clock and ask what time it is in, for example, Sydney, your time in Sydney will be wrong by one hour, he says. “Your computer’s idea of universal time is actually out by an hour.”

Instead of offering a patch, as other software publishers have done, Apple recommended users go into system preferences and bump their clock forward an hour on September 30. To do this users will need to turn off automatic time updates, and then set their clock back to the correct time when the old daylight saving rule starts on October 7, says an Apple spokeswoman.

Another thing that can go wrong if users manually bump their clocks forward is the timestamp when saving files, says von Randow. If someone saves a file on, for example, Monday morning — when the computer is an hour faster than the world and thinks it is in a standard time zone — it is going to show the correct timestamp on the computer, he says.

But when Apple retrospectively fixes that time zone, the timestamp on the file saving is going to be wrong.

This is probably not going to affect a lot of people, but it could cause problems for people who are using Mac OS X as a server, he says. Around midnight, the hour difference could mean yesterday or today.

Cactuslab has installed a third party patch written by Wellington developer Glenn Anderson.

Von Randow has also created a DST patch for the iPhone. The fix requires that users have OpenSSH installed on their iPhone, as it uses scp to copy the changed files onto the phone, he says.

There was a special daylight saving update prior to a US change earlier this year, writes David Empson, president of the Wellington Macintosh Society, on the society’s website.

Apple also released a patch for Western Australia three weeks before DST changed there, he says. This patch was made available via Apple Australia’s website and the Western Australian government site.

It is “very disappointing” that Apple didn’t update its operating system in time, Empson says.

The Wellington Macintosh Society recommended installing a third party patch before the 30 September.

If users were unable to patch their systems, or didn’t want to, Empson recommends leaving the clock set an hour slow for this week.

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Tags AppleOS Xdstdaylight saving

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