President Bush will sign a new energy bill today that will extend Daylight Savings by four weeks – it will start three weeks earlier and end one week later – in an attempt to save energy and money.
The problem is that most consumer electronics rely on the daylight savings schedule that has gone unchanged since 1987. That means that your TiVo’s and DVRs will record shows an hour later, your Microsoft run computers will need to be patched, your online calendars will be skewed, and the whole thing about peak and non-peak hours for cell phone users will need to be re-examined.
“It is unfortunately going to add a little bit of complexity to consumers,” said Reid Sullivan, vice president of the entertainment group at Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co. “In some cases, depending on the product, they may have to manually increase or decrease the time.”
The possible effects of an updated daylight savings have gotten analysts reminiscing about 1999 and the whole Y2K crisis. Billions of dollars were spent by companies and governments to avert a possible worldwide catastrophe with the previous two digit date system changing from 99 to 00. While no disaster materialized, some wondered whether there was even a danger. However, some also argued that no disaster happened because of the world’s efforts.
But the two situations parallel only to the point of inconvenience. The magnitude of the changes differ, but having to change the time on your VCR when the new daylight savings rolls out and possibly losing all of your bank account savings with Y2K tend to inflict the same headaches.
“Missiles won’t be launching but it’s still going to cause a lot of hassle,” he said. Risks grow when “things advance to the point where you expect things to happen automatically and you expect it to be correct.”