Daylight savings time is scheduled a month earlier this year as part of an effort of the 2005 Energy Bill to reduce energy consumption.
Instead of April through October, daylight savings will begin March 11 and end on Nov. 4 this year.
This change, however, could affect technologies like computers, said Shan Barkataki, a Cal State Northridge computer science professor.
Barkataki said the issue is slightly similar to the Y2K problem, but not as significant.
There are a couple of problems concerning computers, Barkataki said.
People will have to make sure their operating systems, like Windows XP or MAC OS, are updated with the new time change. There are two ways to do this: People’s computers can automatically receive the update if they are connected to the Internet, or they will have to manually download the fix.
The Windows Web site includes a section reminding customers of the time change. “Unless certain updates are applied to your computer, the time zone settings for your computer’s system clock may be incorrect during this four-week period,” the Web site shows. “In particular, you must make sure that both your Windows operating system and your calendar programs are updated.”
Most of the lab computers at CSUN should be automatically updated, Barkataki said. There may be a problem with faculty who control their own computers. They have to make sure their computers are updated.
Another major problem could occur with smaller calendar programs. These may be out of sync.
Specifically at CSUN, there could be problems with embedded systems or devices that are not linked to the Internet.
For example, some laboratory equipment, such as data loggers, which are devices that can read various types of electrical signals and log the data in internal memory, will need to be manually updated.
Other devices that will need to be manually updated at CSUN are omni-locks, which are locks with keypads.
An operator who answered the phone at Physical Plant Management said that some clocks are connected to GPS systems and will be automatically updated. Others are not, and will have to be manually updated by CSUN staff.
“We are prepared for this, because we do it twice a year anyway,” said the operator, who preferred to remain anonymous.
“Some home devices, such as thermostats, will also have to be manually changed, according to Barkataki.
Even with all of this effort, some skeptics say the desired reduction in energy may not occur.
Evidence from an Australian experiment released in January 2007 said their research showed that “current plans and proposals to extend DST will fail to conserve energy.”
This research was done through the Center for the Study of Energy Markets, a program of the University of California Energy Institute in Berkeley.
But according to Nationalatlas.gov, “Studies done in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that we trim the entire country’s electricity usage by about one percent each day with Daylight Saving Time.”
Larry Caretto of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, a specialist in energy, said that although the savings is about 1 percent, it is significant.
“We use so much energy that even a small amount of savings is important,” Caretto said.