For the past couple of weeks Melbourne has played host to the Commonwealth Games. For my readers in the USA the Commonwealth Games is a competition that you opted out of in the mid-1700s. Not that we mind, your absence gives us a chance to win medals in something other than swimming.
As part of the preparations for this major event our legislators decided to move the date at which the South Eastern States of Australia transitions out of daylight savings time. The reasoning behind this was that the change would confuse spectators and competitors alike resulting in general scheduling chaos. That’s pretty sound reasoning, and to be honest I wish I had the power to control time on my projects as well, mind you I would want to move time back about one month, not one hour.
While it makes sense when just the games are considered, the decision had ripple effects through many Australian businesses. In order to keep clocks from transitioning out of daylight savings time too early Microsoft customers had to download a special patch which added an additional timezone just for the games. Once the patch was installed the user had to select this new timezone.
Of course – the patch was not deployed via Windows Update, so most home users and small to medium businesses didn’t even know about the patches existence, and for the larger enterprises with dedicated IT teams that did, the deployment of the patch across their desktop fleet was “patchy” at best.
The end result – chaos. While some of the people I know managed to apply the patch correctly, the vast majority didn’t so the the appointments in their Outlook Calendars were out by an hour. This begs the question – why did we bother?
Its a good question – but here is a better one, why do we even bother with daylight savings time here in Australia? The whole thing just adds a level of confusion that we don’t need in our day to day lives, and thats before we even start to look at the economic impact of missed business meetings. With the majority of Australia’s GDP coming from the services industry (see below, source: Wikipedia) its important to understand what impact it has there.
- Agriculture = 3.4%
- Mining = 4.9%
- Industry = 23.2%
- Services = 68.4%
As our society changes (from agricultural to services/industry based) – are the reasons for daylight savings time still valid? Personally I think it is pointless and frustraiting, and I think Cameron agrees.
P.S. If you are in the US and would like to join the Commonwealth to play in the games. In 2010 they will be playing cricket – you wouldn’t stand a chance