Oz set to run on Microsoft time

Plus mind-expanding statistical shenanigans

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Letters A very special welcome this Friday to all our Australian readers who, as we recently reported were favoured by Microsoft with a special Commonwealth Games daylight saving time patch - or something like that. Suffice it to say, we thought this was a pretty straighforward matter. No so:

I'm not usually one to defend Microsoft, however the time zone patch was released late last year, not just recently, so they did not really drag their feet on that. It didn't help that some State Governments did not even gazette the daylight saving time transition changes until November.

What Microsoft did drag their feet on though was getting a patch out for the patch. The initial patch release incorrectly brought forward the start of daylight time in South Australia for 2006 by almost a month. So any user in South Australia who deployed the initial patch and lived with the problems of rescheduling meetings that had already been made during the extended week of DST would discover that their clocks were out of whack with reality in October 2006 and if they fixed it then, any meetings that they had made for that four weeks would be out of whack.

So, with Microsoft's initial (tested?) patch, a patch to fix one week of problem would have resulted in four weeks of problem. A patch in time saves... 0.25?

A revised patch was released on or about 15th February by Microsoft for this. I've yet to see anything from Microsoft specifically advising customers in South Australia (some of whom are very large) who had already downloaded the patch to do so again and the only change that I noticed on the Technet web page was that the version number was changed to 2.0. Everything else, including the "Release Date of Patch", remained the same.

Christian Legg

Don't think your article really conveys the magnitude of how stuffed up the MS patch for this problem is.

First you apply the patch, then once you are through the change, you have to de-install the patch otherwise all future daylight changes are thought to be on that date. Neat uh?

Thanks, Brian Turner

From what I hear, Network administrators have been happily applying the patch all over the country. Ah, yes, but once this patch is applied, the PC thinks that daylight saving has been extended every year into the future...And as far as I am aware, there is no uninstall that comes with this patch that could be applied (after the Commonwealth Games are over) to take the PC back to 'normal' daylight saving time.

Mark McCormick

Oh dear, oh dear. A good effort but no cigar.

SMS can cripple. That's the word from Virgin Mobile warning of the chilling consequences of excessive text. But what about those figures?:

"10 per cent of those surveyed send up to 100 texts a day."

So 90% send over 100 texts a day?

A bit sloppy! I have no idea what you were even trying to say.

Jonathan Larmou

Get your maths right... 38% of us don't have RSI from texting... 38% of those of us who send ~100 texts a day suffer from it, (that's about 10% of us, from later in the article) so that's about 3.8% plus a bit from those who send (say) 50 texts a day, or 60, or 70.

More articles like these are needed, people are still very much unaware of the risks of constantly using computers, video games, cell phones and mp3 players. I should know, my whole arm throbs in pain if I use a normal mouse for twenty minutes!

You could bee sending texts like crazy everyday for a year and not feel anything, but one day you might feel severe pain as constant use of a phone's tiny keys can compound the strain on your nerves and joints over time.


Well, praise be that someone found the piece of some small cautionary use. The person who operated the calculator on this one has been banished to the Vulture Central toilets for the traditional scrubbing-brush-based punishment duty.

After which, they'll be needing a nice refreshing cup of tea. Not Brazilian mind-bending tea, we hasten to add. Here's a bit more info on the active ingredients of this (now legal in the US) brew:

"The Brazilian blend of hoasca uses Banisteriopsis caapi - a jungle vine known as "ayahuasca" in... "

Yes, this plant also known as 'Morning Glory' grows across most of the english speaking world - I've seen it growing all over Europe, the UK, and Australia (where it's a serious weed).

Pretty plant - lots of pics via google images here: http://images.google.com/images?svnum=10&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official_s&q=morning+glory

Tim Price

Ayahuasca is actually the stew resulting from a combination of plants - the Banisteriopsis Caapi is merely a MAOI which allows the tryptamines (usually DMT) in the Psychotria Viridis, Mimosa Hostilis, Diplopterys Cabrerana etc. to be absorbed into the bloodstream - usually DMT is broken down by an enzyme in your stomach and is therefore not active orally without the use of a MAOI.

Regards, Craig Sheppard

Ok, got that? No? Let's have another go...

actually banisteriopsis caapi contains an MAO-Inhibitor that makes the DMT contained in psychotria viridis (or other DMT-conaining plants) orally active.


Er... right...

Why do I have the feeling that, after this media storm, the number of faithful in this brazilian church will quadruple faster than AMD cores ?

Pascal Monett

A fair point. Interested parties should proceed directly to the O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal.

And finally (yes we know this week's mailbag is a bit lean - you've only yourselves to blame), Pluto's moon Charon has two new companions:

I'm a great fan of your site. Good work.

As for names for the new moons of Pluto, I hope the namers stay with the theme. My votes would go to either Cerberus and Persephone or Eurydice and Orpheus.

Best wishes,

Steffen Silvis

Well, a quick straw poll of the office produced these non mythological alternatives: Morecambe and Wise; Wallace and Gromit; Tracey and Chardonney; and Bill and Ben. Any other suggestions more than welcome - we'll print the best in next week's letters. ®

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