foolish computers, dst woes
April 1, 2006 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Indiana finally adopts EST+DST tomorrow (discussed previously.) The historic lack of DST meant software hacks for calculating time in Indiana. People running OS X 10.4.5 are ready. Windows Users need to reset their machines for their location, possibly making some calendar entries an hour off. Unix may need a manual update depending on your distribution. Most Indiana users of OS X Panther and OS9 users should fake living in Atlanta. But with 36 years of legacy systems possibly coded and probably configured with an geography-specific hack, I'm expecting things to be a bit messy on Monday. Personally, I'm just hoping that Travelocity gave me the right time for my Thursday flight.
posted by KirkJobSluder (29 comments total)
Too lazy to search, but wasn't there a similar story recently about mass problems when Australia decided to delay the usual time shift due to the Commonwealth Games?
posted by docgonzo at 9:22 AM on April 1, 2006

posted by rxrfrx at 9:27 AM on April 1, 2006

posted by teece at 9:38 AM on April 1, 2006

fuller will remain in the sixteenth century, as usual.
posted by jfuller at 9:49 AM on April 1, 2006


Um, no. Probably not. Indiana had something like local option for time, and it's been a real mess. Try these local stories. Indiana is just the other side of the river from us in Louisville, and I know I' was always cautious about doing anything on that side of the river because I was never sure what time it was there.
posted by dilettante at 9:50 AM on April 1, 2006

Awfully elaborate for an April Fool's joke... the article linked to in the "discussed previously" MeFi entry was on April 29, 2005. It says Indiana will start DST on April 2, 2006.

Looks real to me. If it IS an April Fool's joke, then I've been fooled.
posted by Malor at 9:56 AM on April 1, 2006

Oh, man. Indiana.
posted by washburn at 10:05 AM on April 1, 2006

It's not an April Fool's joke, but I don't see what the big deal is for Windows users. Can't they just change the time zone to Eastern (New York) and check the DST box? I realize some people won't do that, but it's not the computers' fault.
posted by briank at 10:08 AM on April 1, 2006

This isn't a joke; Indiana really is standardizing. And yes, Melbourne has delayed DST one week. It causes trouble for some computer systems, but Unix, Windows, and Mac all have updates to account for it. Unix is handled by the amazing zoneinfo database. It has an amazing amount of history about timekeeping; for more, see my blog post.

Man, I hate April Fool's day.
posted by Nelson at 10:08 AM on April 1, 2006

Eideteker, you have posted April Fool's messages in EVERY FREAKING POST today. Enough, already.
posted by Malor at 10:10 AM on April 1, 2006

Not an April Fools. Indianapolis Star story, State Government Reminder at I could post more, but, you get the picture.

Living in Indianapolis, I am looking forward to not being the odd man out... it get tiring trying to explain the time zone differences to people. Hooray for moving into the 20th century!
posted by jeversol at 10:10 AM on April 1, 2006

Jeez guys, I was just being blithe.
posted by rxrfrx at 10:14 AM on April 1, 2006

Daylight savings time sucks! I live in Indiana and I liked being the odd (wo)man out. We were like the John the Baptist of time zone management but now we're regressing to the 20th century.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:38 AM on April 1, 2006

Didn't congress recently pass a bill changing daylight savings time for the whole country?

What a friggin' mess. I wonder if the cost to implement would be more then the cost savings in energy.
posted by delmoi at 10:38 AM on April 1, 2006

The time change isn't the joke. Indiana is the joke.
posted by notreally at 10:45 AM on April 1, 2006

I don't know what the big deal is. This doesn't complicate things in Indiana, it simplifies them. In Windows, for example, just select Central or Eastern now. No longer a need for the "Indiana (East)" setting. The part that kind of sucks for me, living in NW Indiana which has always been on the same time as Chicago, is that Indianapolis is permanently an hour apart from us now. (We used to be the same 6 months out of the year because CDT=EST).

Of course, being an amateur astronomer I'd like to see DST abolished altogether. It's just not right that it doesn't get really dark until after 10 p.m. in the summer. And the purported savings in lighting costs (when DST was devised) is more than outweighed by the air conditioning costs we have now.

Oh, and please, it's Daylight-Saving Time, not "savings."

The time change isn't the joke. Indiana is the joke.

notreally: As a lifelong Hoosier I just have to say I'm very offended by I agree with you completely.
posted by AstroGuy at 11:04 AM on April 1, 2006

Of course, being an amateur astronomer I'd like to see DST abolished altogether. It's just not right that it doesn't get really dark until after 10 p.m. in the summer.

Maybe it's because I've always lived in excessively light-polluted areas and haven't really been able to do any serious amateur astronomy, but the extra daylight in the summer never really bothered me, since it's been my experience that there's usually too much smog/heat shimmer/whatever in the summer to make it worthwhile.

Then again, I really like having daylight after work. It's really depressing to leave work at 5pm in the winter and have it be completely dark and freezing; it really creates the feeling that the day is over, even though I'll be awake for another seven or eight hours.
posted by Godbert at 11:29 AM on April 1, 2006

I really hate DST, you're not getting "more sunlight" at the end of the day, you're just starting school/work a bloody hour earlier in the morning. It's like renaming 7:00 as 8:00 because some people complain about starting work as early as 7:00.

Personally I like some time to "wind down" after the sun sets so the whole DST thing is really stressful for me.
posted by bobo123 at 11:41 AM on April 1, 2006

there are even people in atlanta who fake living in atlanta

but i'm glad our neighbors in indiana have finally figured out how to synchronize their clocks with each other ... who knows? ... they might even be able to figure out the value of pi one of these days
posted by pyramid termite at 11:44 AM on April 1, 2006

I'm an Indiania.. a Hoosier. The only dramatic difference I forsee is that I won't be able to watch the Simpsons, then watch it again thirty minutes later on the Kentucky channel.

However, there have been a lot of pissed off rednecks around lately, screaming about the government takin' thur' hour.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 12:48 PM on April 1, 2006

Indiana for old IU
posted by fixedgear at 12:53 PM on April 1, 2006

I'm no fan of DST, but can't we all get on the same page? I have relatives in Arizona and keep having to ask myself, "OK, is it two hours or three hours earlier today?" It makes phone calls and travelling a real pain in the butt.
posted by skeeter1 at 1:03 PM on April 1, 2006

No time to search for a link, but next year Daylight saving time will begin in March and end in November. Something that Bush passed as part of an Energy consumption test thingy. Sorry but I'm running out the door right now.
posted by Phantomx at 1:20 PM on April 1, 2006

There wa a two-part West Wing episode based on Indiana's goofy time zones.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:46 PM on April 1, 2006

Since people are smacking it around, I'll say that I really, really, really like DST.

I like how it takes the natural differences between summer and winter and amplifies them. I like how the shift signals the end of coming-out-of-winter and the beginning or going-into-summer, and from coming-out-of-summer to going-into-winter.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:02 PM on April 1, 2006

But with 36 years of legacy systems possibly coded and probably configured with an geography-specific hack, I'm expecting things to be a bit messy on Monday.

Nah, it's just like, three counties or something. Just wait till next year, when we all get to play. So, um, what Phantomx said.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005:

(a) Amendment- Section 3(a) of the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. 260a(a)) is amended--

(1) by striking `first Sunday of April' and inserting `second Sunday of March'; and

(2) by striking `last Sunday of October' and inserting `first Sunday of November'.

(b) Effective Date- Subsection (a) shall take effect 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act or March 1, 2007, whichever is later.

(c) Report to Congress- Not later than 9 months after the effective date stated in subsection (b), the Secretary shall report to Congress on the impact of this section on energy consumption in the United States.

(d) Right to Revert- Congress retains the right to revert the Daylight Saving Time back to the 2005 time schedules once the Department study is complete.

I'm amused that these bills the Republicans write, debate, and pass by themselves can't even get consonance between "savings" and "saving" in the same four-paragraph section. I mean, both are technically acceptable, but pick one. This legislation stuff is permanent.
posted by dhartung at 2:27 PM on April 1, 2006

It's not an April Fool's joke. I wish it was. I have to go into work at a large pharma. company in Indianapolis at dark-thirty to reset one of our our legacy distributed control systems, and to make sure everything is stable ala Y2K.
posted by SteveTheRed at 5:26 PM on April 1, 2006

If you don't live in Indiana, you're not likely to fully appreciate the frustration.

Living in a Central time zone county that's always observed DST, conducting business with clients literally no more than 1 hour away (but 2 hours away for 6 months of the year) often presents issues that few other situations can...

I posted in the past a scenario such as the following for those that don't experience it regulary:

- it's 6pm at your house
- it's 7pm at the house of neighbor "A"
- it's also 7pm at the house of neighbor "B", but only for 6 months out of the year...the other 6 months it's 6pm.

Now, schedule a meeting for all 3 neighbors to get together twice a month for a year. You're informed 3 months into the process that neighbor "B" needs to reschedule 2 months of meetings an hour earlier. Neighbor "A" also informs you of a conflict for the last 3 months, needing the meeting moved an hour later.

The simple fact that this feels like a problem found only on a math test should raise a few flags =)

My stance is simple. I don't care what time zone we all (or each) observe, but let's agree to ALL change or "not change." I'd MUCH prefer to work with a consistent 1 hr difference vs. a lifetime of hearing, "are they on the same time as us now or an hour ahead?"
posted by deemer at 5:13 PM on April 2, 2006

For those MIFI readers in Indiana, please set your VCRs to blink 1:00 instead of 12:00.
posted by Crash at 7:33 AM on April 3, 2006

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