?`s and ANNEswers

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Y2K Meets DST 2007

Remember the hue and cry over New Year’s Eve 1999, when government and corporations went to great lengths to make sure their computers could make the switch from 1999 to 2000 without crashing and burning? People everywhere spent hours and dollars backing up their systems in case of the Great Berserk-ness. Nothing, of course, really happened.

Now there’s a new scare, although it hasn’t received the press that Y2K did. This year, Daylight Saving Time goes into effect on March 11 instead of the usual first Sunday in April. At that time, we put all clocks ahead one hour to lengthen the evening daylight hours by stealing sixty minutes from the morning daylight hours.

Most likely there will be uncountable citizens who wake up on March 11 unaware that they’re late for church. This happens even when we change on the usual date. But the more serious ramifications are for industries that are particularly time-conscious. Like transportation. Unless changed, airlines and railroads could remain programmed to read the calendar wrong for another three weeks. This won’t make for great customer relations.

Bankers use time-stamping in a variety of transactions; so do cellphone manufacturers, computer programmers, radio and TV announcers, school administrators, payroll processors, bartenders (to know when to offer the Last Call), the list is endless. So I urge you at the very least to be aware of the situation. Then, on March 11 check all those dates you put in your computer’s calendar program to make sure you show up at the right time.

And, for an interesting take on the whole issue, go to http://webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/index.html.

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