Are you aware that a new Daylight Savings Time (DST) law that went into effect on January 1, 2007 that will affect your personal or group calendar and any PDAs or smartphones that you use?
Beginning this year, the United States and parts of Canada will extend the period covered by Daylight Savings Time. DST will begin the second Sunday of March (three weeks earlier than before) and continue until the first Sunday in November (one week later than before). This document refers to the weeks that are affected by the change as “extended DST weeks”.
A very real possibility exists that some calendar entries, such as meetings and appointments that have been scheduled to occur during the extended DST weeks will appear one hour later and will need to be adjusted by one hour.
I've been researching this issue in order to advise my clients. I've been trying to wrap my head around the confusing list of rules, requirements, and patches for Windows & Mac, Outlook and Lotus Notes, Treos and Blackberries... oh, and Palm Desktop and Entourage. It's dizzying, at best. While most vendors are slowly coming out with patches (including patches to the patches, at least as of yesterday) to help resolve the problem moving forward, the real challenge will be how to deal with existing appointments and meetings on your calendar, those created before the relevant DST patches were applied.
What makes this even more challenging is that some people have their computers set to auto-update from Microsoft or Apple while other's don't. Which means that it's possible to have a group of users using computers (or handhelds) each relying on inconsistent rules for determining what time a 10:00 AM meeting should appear on the calendar for March 15th. Depending on the settings that 10:00 AM meeting might appear at 10:00 AM or at 11:00 AM!
Working with a colleague, we studied the patches and tech notes from the various manufacturers. The patches seem straight forward enough; it's getting everything and everyone to play by the same rules that poses the real challenge. Oh, and then we still have the nagging issue of what to do with appointments and meetings that are already on the calendar.
This issue is not unique to a single vendor. Lotus Notes, Outlook, Palm, Treo, and Blackberry (to name a few) each have similar issues. Do your homework!
Although we've read the tech notes, we wanted to demonstrate for ourselves that this problem is real and that the potential for confusion exists. Using a test computer, we scheduled meetings and appointments on a calendar in Lotus Notes, both before and after the Microsoft patch. We found that, without editing the appointment and meeting times - either manually or with an agent - the scheduled time will appear incorrectly after the DST patch has been applied. The challenge is most users have no idea if their system has been patched so they won't know if they can trust the time on their calendar. The problem compounds if you use a PDA and/or send meeting invitations/updates to other people.
1. Contact your IT department. Encourage them to look into the issue for your hardware/software systems
2. Don't wait for your IT department. Cover yourself by including the TIME and TIME ZONE in the subject line of your appointments - at least for the Extended Daylight Savings period.
3. Check with the vendors of your Mac or PC, calendaring software, and PDAs or smartphones.
4. If you rely on past appointment information from your calendar, be careful. At least one vendor recently acknowledged that their "fixes" for 2007 break the dates/times for past events. I'm confident others will follow.
I hope you find this information helpful.
I've only been focused on computers, but other "smart" and some "dumb" devices will no doubt have the same problem. It may affect some VCRs too - I don't know; we don't have broadcast television in our home.
Perhaps it's time to revisit my analog scheduling system?
PS. I've posted some helpful links at the bottom of this post.
Here's a summary of one of the series of tests I performed:
Step 1: (Before Windows DST Patch #931836)
This is a screen shot of calendar with a 9:00 AM Appointment and 10:00 AM Meeting for march 15, 2007
Step 2: (After Windows DST Patch #931836)
Screen shot of calendar with a 9:00 AM Appointment and 10:00 AM Meeting for March 15, 2007. Notice that the appointment and meeting now appear one hour later
Step 3: Edit & resave meetings & appointments
I opened and resaved the two calendar entries; I did not touch times. Notice that the appointment and meeting now appear one hour earlier! We are now back to our original time, but only because we edited & saved the entry. What about entries we don't revisit? Will we catch them? Will the agent?
Step 4. Run the IBM update agent on selected entries
Next, I ran the IBM agent on the two entries, just to see how it would change them. It appears that the agent did not touch these entries, presumably because they have already been updated as a result of my resaving the documents.
This is not an exhaustive test, but it is reproducible. To be thorough, we would need to repeat all of these tests again without editing any records before running the agent. Then, you would need to test in a mixed updated enviroment and with/without synching to a PDA or smartphone.
Here are some useful links to help you get started.
Windows Servers & Workstations
Microsoft Outlook Time Zone Data Update Tool
Lotus Notes 7.x Calendar Entries update agent
Daylight Saving Time 2007 Update Tool for Windows Mobile
Update: Palm DST Update Tool for handhelds and Treos (Palm and WM).
Update: RIM Blackberry DST Update Page
Update: BoxTone DST Expert for BlackBerry
Update: Commontime Mnotes & mSuite DST Patch
Update: Sec.110 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005
Update: Microsoft support: Updating other desktop software to DST
Update: Treo Updates from Palm and new Palm Desktop 2/27/07
Update: DST Patch & the Blackber (Dr. Frank Buck) 3/2/07