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Daylight Savings Arrives Early This Year…Is Your Computer Ready?

3/1/2007

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The start of Daylight Savings Time (DST) typically involves minor inconveniences. We lose an hour’s sleep and need to reset our clocks. This year, however, the time switch may lead to some technology glitches. DST starts three weeks earlier, on March 11, and ends a week later in the fall. Computers and other technology devices that use automated calendar and scheduling functions (preprogrammed to change the first Sunday in April) will need to be manually adjusted.

The Better Business Bureau encourages consumers and businesses to take steps now to effect a smooth transition. In addition to changing the clock on your personal computer, you’ll need to check all computer software calendar and scheduling applications; employee time clocks and other hardware using date and time stamps; and systems that process or manipulate dates or time.

Begin by visiting the Web site of your computer software supplier or vendor. Most have information to help customers identify and modify programs to “spring ahead” on March 11. Some vendors have crafted special updates to keep their software running smoothly. Confirm if the update will be sent to your computer automatically or if you need to manually download patches.

Don’t forget your PDA. Check if the maker has developed downloadable patches. Other devices that may not automatically update include VCRs, digital radios, disk storage products and security software and systems. Contact the product manufacturer if you have questions. Cell phones are not a concern as they are automatically adjusted by the provider.

If you operate a small business, alert your employees to the early DST changeover and encourage them to download the necessary patches and make other adjustments to ensure smooth operations. If you don’t properly prepare, your business may face three weeks of chaos if employee calendars aren’t in sync, billing cycles are disrupted or your time stamp clock is “off” by an hour.

Ask your information technology staff to detail how they are preparing office computer systems, disk storage, security software and other technology to make the early time switch. You’ll probably want them on site the week of March 12 to handle any DST-related issues. Finally, be careful when scheduling meetings between March 11 and April 1. Confirm the meeting time with all attendees, in case someone forgot to “spring ahead” on March 11.

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