Governments Making Ad Hoc Changes to Their Time Zones Create Their Own Mini-Y2K Problems

Boing Boing has done a nice job of covering the chaos that's taking place around the switch to or from Daylight Savings Time (also known as "Summer Time") in some parts of the world. Earlier today, they pointed out that Indiana has decided to adopt DST uniformly this year. One minor problem, however, they forgot to tell the makers of computer operating systems and other electronic infrastructure services.

Can you imagine what will happen to Microsoft Outlook calendar users who don't think to change their Windows time zone setting from "Indiana (East)" to "Eastern Time (US & Canada)"?

Some states in Australia have delayed their switch back to local standard time to accomodate the Commonwealth Games. This apparently really confused a bunch of Microsoft Exchange servers (and the users that rely on them) at large companies.

I guess it makes sense to a lot of people who don't think through the electronic implications to do this sort of thing. I mean, it might have been confusing for some television viewers who wanted to watch the Commonwealth Games, since half of the British Commonwealth is located in the Western Hemisphere which changes its time on a different date than Europe and, presumably, Asia and Australia. But, this change screwed up a lot of meetings and probably caused havoc with alarm systems and things like Global Positioning Systems.