No summertime blues for New Zealand ICT

Proposed change might even encourage us to get out of our computer rooms into the sunlight and network with one another outside, says ICTNZ co-chairman

Proposals being entertained by government to lengthen the hours of daylight saving have met with a ho-hum reaction from the computer industry — in marked contrast to problems faced in the US recently and to the reaction to a similar local proposal in 2001.

Back in 2001, hard on the heels of the major Y2K exercise, then-InternetNZ executive director Sue Leader expressed considerable nervousness at the possible ICT consequences of a change.

“InternetNZ is concerned that such proposals fail to take into account the large number of computer systems which automatically handle the existing daylight saving rules, but would need to be patched or changed by hand in order to cope with this one-off start of daylight saving,” Leader said then.

“Not only would such patches and changes require time to prepare and test, but there may be many computer clocks that need to be reset at the normal start of daylight saving, as they may move two hours ahead, instead of one. In addition, patches may need to be removed or cleaned up after normal daylight saving’s timing is resumed, and checks would need to be made in the following year to ensure the daylight saving change occurred at the right time.”

Leader went on to describe a change as a “major undertaking” by vendors of operating systems to provide patches and for operations staff in testing and rolling out those patches and changes. She compared it to preparations for Y2K, but “made much worse by the short time left to implement”.

However, last week and despite considerable disruption to IT shops in the US going through a similar exercise, Computerworld couldn’t get any of the senior officials at InternetNZ to come to the phone to answer questions on the issue. Instead, they reported through administrator Susi Fookes that they foresaw no problems at all accommodating computers to any daylight saving change.

Software New Zealand and ICTNZ co-chairman Chip Dawson was similarly unfazed. “We don’t see the proposed change as being anything but advantageous,” he says. It would be easy to manage at a technical level and from a human perspective “it will give us more daylight working hours, and might even encourage us to get out of our computer rooms into the sunlight and network with one another outside.”

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