This DST thing could get (at least a little) ugly

Some people (like Paul Kedrosky) are calling the DST time change the “real Y2K,” and thinking about the characteristics of the change, I would tend to agree. Fundamentally, computers don’t like irregularity, and this change is not algorithmically pretty. The Wikipedia page on DST explains it like this:

Starting in 2007, most of the United States and Canada observe DST from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, shifting clocks typically at 02:00 local time. The 2007 U.S. change was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005; previously, from 1987 through 2006, the start and end dates were the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October, and Congress retains the right to go back to the previous dates once an energy consumption study is done.

The interesting thing to me about this is that Y2K happened only once, yet depending on the whims of the Congress, it sounds like this could happen a few times. This sounds like a problem one would be tempted to solve with some hard-coding or at least deferring a solid solution, and that’s never good.

I’m not forecasting doomsday or anything (see my earlier post, “The Y2K that wasn’t“), but judging from all the wackiness I’ve already experienced with my Treo and my corporate mail, we could be in for a few bumps in the road. Stay tuned.

Update: 7:50pm: after upgrading my Good (mobile corporate email) software of my Treo 650 with the patch to deal with DST, it turns out that my firmware needs to be upgraded to deal with that software update. Ugh. Looks like I’m going to be doing a firmware update on the Treo — the equivalent of open-heart surgery. If I fall off the grid, you’ll know why.

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