Chilean clock-cooking could cause computer chaos

Millennium Bug 2: Daylight saving time apocalypse

In what promises to provoke an entertaining IT apocalypse, the Chilean government has decided to postpone the end of daylight saving time by five weeks.

The clocks were due to go back an hour this weekend, but the powers that be have reset the date to 7 May.

According to interior minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, the extra 60 minutes of daylight in the evening will "save energy, reduce crime and traffic accidents and improve Chileans' quality of life".

Hinzpeter went on to paint an idyllic picture of his fellow countrymen and women rushing from their workplaces to extract maximum benefit from the sunshine, but failed to spot the impending catastrophe.

The announcement of the date switch has serious implications for Microsoft users, since the company doesn't have enough time to throw out a "hot fix" before the weekend. Not that users of other systems are likely to escape unscathed. Cue a Millennium Bug 2 scenario, with planes falling from the skies, nuclear power plants melting down and, most seriously, Outlook calendar users turning up an hour late for vital meetings.

Accordingly, Chileans won't be enjoying much extra sunlight until they've manually synchronised computer hardware, PDAs and phones to the new time before the ominously-named "Delta Period" of extended daylight saving time rips a hole in the fabric of time and space. ®

Bootnote

We reckon if the Bolivians are going to make their move to wrest some Pacific coastline from the Chileans, this weekend has got to be their best chance.

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