Saturday, October 23, 2010

Falling back in the Fall

Well this year to quote a lady, "an election is coming and the fox has a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry."  But more than that this insane time that comes up twice a year is now staring us straight in the face.  Here are some links on the subject of DST:

Wikipedia Daylight Saving Time
About DST Article
Moderatrix hates DST
DuncanMac's VIews on DST

Okay, lets back up for a second.  When is the mysterious day going to occur in the fall of 2010 that we have 01:00 to 02:00 hour repeated twice?  In 2010 it is going to occur on 7 November.  In spring we don't have too much of a problem with schedules.  That is because nothing is scheduled during the hour of 02:00 to 03:00.  That is because it doesn't exist.  But you better be careful in the fall.  When somebody says, record this program that is on from 01:00 to 02:00 on channel 115 we have to retort, which one, the first one or the second one? It may have been tolerable back in the days before computers and instant communications with people all the around the globe.  But now it is causing extreme problems.  We need some standardization on time again and DST must be abolished!

The failling back in the falls hasn't come a moment too soon.  For the past four weeks I have watched children trudging off to school in darkness, no doubt with some being maimed or injured or even killed because they are going to school too early.  But I have no easy answer other than to say they should have shifted to going later much sooner than now.  Why didn't they do it sooner?  Because the darn golfers in the United States Congress have saw that with global warming they can get approximately twenty more extra hours of golfing in during the month of October.  In the year 2007 they changed the shift to go back from DT to ST to be the first Sunday in November rather than the first Sunday in October.

Okay, what will happen to my computers, especially since it used to take me almost a week of hashing out what time it is due to the differences between the way Linux and Microsoft Windows handle things?  Well from now on nothing will happen.  Things will go smoothly without any problems.  That is because I have shifted my computers over to UTC time which does not change.  I advise you go read those sections in the Wikipedia article on the TZ database and Microsoft Windows.  It will clue you in that it is much more complex than just falling back an hour in the Fall and springing forward an hour in the Spring.  How bad is the problem?  I noticed no less than two TZ updates for Ubuntu Linux, one for OpenSuse Linux, and one for Microsoft Windows in the past two months.  If DST is so simple, why do I have that many updates to the TZ database to handle this insanity?  Not only that but the extra month caused all sorts of problems with more than one piece of software that had all sorts of problems with this extra DST month.

There are both downsides and upsides to having my computer and networking clocks set to UTC time.  Humorously, the only downside was to see the online schedule for one TV channel properly displayed in UTC time, not local time.  I just checked and it is still doing it.  I can see a reason for them doing it that way since my body is in the MT time zone.  If they provided a feed to Arizona, what is showing in the rest of the MT zone at 13:00 is showing at 12:00 during the Saving Time Period in Arizona.  In just a few weeks we will be back in sync again.  So how do I handle the schedule snafu?  During the Saving time period I just subtract six hours and during the regular time period I will subtract seven hours.  If I had my choice I would always just subtract seven as long as I am in the MST time zone.  But the upsides are tremendous.  No thrashing of the clock.  No problems at all. It is rock hard stable.  Let them change that TZ data all they want to.  I am now immune from it.  But I also communicate with people all over the globe.  It is much better to just stabilize on one time that is rock hard stable.  There is a reason the US miliitary and other militaries have stabilized on using UTC (Zulu) time.  Quick, which time zone is the aircraft carrier or the long range bombers in right now?  They had tons of problems before they did that and that is even without the added complexity of DST being added into the mix.  Another thing is that it throws the Internet tracking of me for a loop.  My WAN IP is correctly identified but I notice that the UTC time does throw some of them off.  Would I ever go back to a local time zone time?  NEVER!  From now on all computing and networking equipment will be UTC time all the way.

So as you can see, this is much more complex than just a simple fall an hour back in the fall and spring an hour forward in the spring. TV and other schedules get all fouled up.  Here is my tentative plan for addressing the problems I see with Daylight Saving Time (DST):

1. Safety issues, latitude problems.

2. TV Schedules.

3. Energy Savings.

4. Circadian rhythms and health issues.

5. Military and other problems where multiple time zones are involved.
    12:00 PM / 12:00 AM versus 00:00 / 12:00

Z. Simplification and beyond.

So stay tuned.  This isn't just a random beef against DST.  I am firmly committed to a fight to kill this DST monster once and for all.  To clue you in where it is headed, I am not against doing things an hour earlier during the longer daylight hour months.  But you can easily do that by just doing it an hour earlier.  It is just that when that starts and ends will be later and sooner respectively in Canada or Minnesota than it is in Alabama.  Sorry golfers, this train is coming through and that is all there is to it.  I am dead serious about seeing DST to die the death that it deserves.  It is causing infinitely more problems than any good that comes from it.  Like that Gregorian calendar that replaced the flawed Julian calendar that should in turn be replaced by the business calendar, DST needs to be abolished from off the face of the earth.

Business Calendar (proposed)

Stay tuned.

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