- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 8, 2007

The early arrival of daylight-saving time this year might cause a few headaches but isn’t likely to wreak much havoc for most technology users.

Traditionally the first Sunday in April, the date to “spring forward” was pushed up by three weeks — to Sunday — as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which Congress passed to help curb energy consumption.

“For people, it’s no big deal; we get notified by the media the day before,” said David Milman, chief executive officer of Rescuecom, a computer-repair company. “For computers, it’s not that simple.”

Most computers are programmed to adjust automatically to daylight-saving time, Mr. Milman noted. “And every computer that was built before 2005 thinks daylight-saving time is the first Sunday in April.”

The solution depends on the computer’s operating system. For users with the new Microsoft Windows Vista, the problem is taken care of; those running Windows XP need to make sure their automatic updater is turned on and the system will fix itself, while users with earlier Microsoft systems should visit microsoft.com/dst2007 for instructions.

For those using scheduling software, Microsoft Outlook users with Office 2007 need not worry, but the company is encouraging other users to visit the Web site to avoid confusion when it comes to appointments and meeting times.

Apple computer users running older versions of the company’s Mac operating system need the software updater to upload the fixes, which they can get from the support page at apple.com.

Cell phones automatically will adjust to the correct time, major carriers explained, because most phones use Global Positioning System technology to connect with company networks.

“Wireless phones will not be impacted because they pull the date from our networks,” Sprint Nextel spokeswoman Laura Rowe said.

Cingular customers with phones tied to the company’s network similarly will go unaffected, spokeswoman Alexa Kaufman said.

Likewise, Verizon Wireless spokesman John Johnson noted that the company’s network is synchronized to the atomic clock in Colorado, which keeps the federal government’s official time.

Users of BlackBerrys and other personal digital assistants (PDAs) aren’t so lucky.

“You really have to go to the wireless provider to make sure that they have a fix,” Mr. Milman said.

Because PDAs run their own operating systems, users must download software patches to adjust to the new time, which is available at blackberry.com/dst2007 for BlackBerry users. Or, consumers with hand-held computers could change the time manually Sunday, but they would need to remember to move it back one hour April 1, when daylight-saving time would have been, because the computers still will update automatically.

As for television fans worried the change might cause them to miss “Grey’s Anatomy” or another favored program, both Comcast and Cox Communications have reassured customers their digital video recorders will update automatically.

Mr. Milman of Rescuecom said most large companies in critical industries, such as airlines and banks, are on top of the issue.

“We’ve had a team in place for quite awhile now [assessing the issue],” Bank of America spokeswoman Shirley Norton said, adding that some vaults are digital and others aren’t. “We’ve been making updates. It’s just like computers or anything else.”

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