Cities Prepare PCs for New Daylight Saving

Daylight saving will begin early from now on after a Congressional mandate bumped up the start date to the second Sunday in March. While paper calendars may reflect the change, your computer's might not.

That's what city officials have been fixing over the past few weeks. Officials in Bryan first saw the need to make major updates on a minor time change back in December.

"Nobody really, at this point, realized what the impact could be," said Cory Bluhm, a public safety system administrator for Bryan, "and after everybody got back from vacation at the beginning of January, we all started looking at that saying, 'this could really be big.'"

More than 50 servers control all city computing and the vast array of information in Bryan. All of them needed to be updated to the new Daylight Saving times. They help control 500 PC, as well as about 80 laptop units for police and fire officials.

"Most of that can be automated," Bluhm said of the updates. "We can push that out through automated systems. The problem is, we won't know until March whether the fix works."

But that doesn't mean city officials don't believe they've done all they can. Hours of overtime have been spent crossing t's and dotting i's.

That's also what home PC users are being encouraged to do. Operating systems like Microsoft Windows are offering up special sections with instructions on downloading patches.

"Once you've downloaded all the components to the patch that you need to, it's very quick, just a few seconds to patch a computer," Bluhm said. "And then, to go in and verify, it just takes a few minutes."

Unfortunately, users of older operating systems may have to do some hunting for patches.

For the city, everything from response times of fire and police officials to the payments of fees and tickets would be off and could cause issues if it weren't for these changes.

"You get somebody that deals in minutes -- a bank, maybe -- it could be a big problem," said Bluhm.

But it's an issue officials are taking steps to avert.

Over in College Station, they too have spent several months getting ready for the change. Manufacturers and vendors have been contacted to make sure the right updates are made for the city.