Tuesday, January 09, 2007

For the Record: This Sucks

From the "Goddamn Politicians Creating More Work for Me" file, allow me to present you this:


For the unaware (which I assume are many), Mr. Bush and our bicameral legislature decided it would be cool to extend our Daylight Savings Time by 4 weeks starting in 2007 (in addition to a lot of other junk in the act, but that is the specific change that has me riled up). 3 weeks at the front end and 1 week at the back end.

Hey, the kids get an extra "hour of light" on Halloween!! What's the big deal?

Allow me to enlighten you.

Once I get beyond the fact that I never got Daylight Savings Time (DST) in the first place - I prefer the analogy of cutting of 12 inches off of the bottom of your bedsheet, sewing that 12 inches onto the top of the sheet, and then calling it longer - this is going to create a lot of extra work for IT departments throughout the world and possible frustration for many corporate and home users.

Microsoft has released Operating System patches for its servers (unless you are on a Windows 2k server... good luck with that) and for Windows XP clients with the new rules for DST. Ok, cool. That addresses that.

Now, what about all the stuff that runs on top of the operating system. Like say, perhaps, my beloved Lotus Notes. That inherits its DST rules from the OS. Ok, that sounds good too. Patch my OS, Notes will inherit the new rules. Call it a day and crack a cold one. Not so fast.

This thread on the Domino forums sums it up nicely: (C&S is Calendar and Scheduling and DWA is Domino Web Access, a method that users can get access to their mail file from their home computer)

I have a client where the C&S system is about the most critical thing in the environment. Especially for executives.

So here is the best case scenario. On December 12th when it shipped you applied the MS Windows patches to all of your workstations and servers as well as the appropriate APAR's to your servers. As soon as you did that all meetings previously scheduled for the three weeks in question now appear one hour later than they should except on your Blackberries which aren't patched because the patch isn't available. Now you start creating more meetings for that time period which are stored and appear correctly except on Blackberries where they will appear an hour earlier than they should.

This is the BEST scenario. It falls apart very quickly if you take a while to get the Windows patches out or if you can't patch EVERYONE fairly close to each other from a time perspective.

Oh by the way if users are using DWA from home their machines probably aren't patched so they will potentially be scheduling bad entries right up to the deadline.

BTW, the worst thing that will happen is that ALL your meetings occurring in the US and Canada will be screwed up for three weeks.

Good Luck!!!



Another poster posted his plan, it is very similar to mine right now:

I think you are right Rob..Everyone who works on large enterprise should freek out. This change will impact every individual's calendar. Here is our plan

1. Complete the OS patch across all Laptops, Desktops, PDAs, Servers, LPARs etc by end of January

2. While this patch is being loaded, work with IBM and start testing Agents to fix Calendar entries that have been scheduled before OS Patch. Testing should include running agents on Rooms & Resource Database

3. Apart from R&R, we also have external application which we use to reserve Conf Rooms with VTC. Hence will have to patch application

4. Once all clients are patched, final step would be to run the agents. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping agents work as expected and don't kill the servers :)

5. We use lot of application databases that use Calendar functions. We have to modify IBM agents to run against all our application databases.

6. Setup a swat team for March 11 to perform some testing. Not to mention, Keep IBM support person on standby


There is also an effort underway to patch Sametime Meeting Servers, as all meetings will move 1 hour ahead like Notes meetings.

Notes Admin who is not worried about this change, should read the problem between the lines, else will see Admin Assistants standing next to him on 12th March :)

I am a little ahead of the last guy and I am attending a call with IBM tomorrow night at 9PM (might miss the Mookie) that I hope will shed some more light on this situation as far as the "tools" they will have for us administrators to ease the burden and pain for our staff. I am hoping for an agent that we will be able to run centrally that will adjust the affected entries in each calendar and also in the Resource (conference rooms, projectors, etc.) Reservations databases. As it stands right now, it will be a piece of code that each user will have to run on their own computer. I know anyone of you that read this blog with any regularity would fall firmly into the "user" category. No offense, but if I have the choice of leaving something important up to you or doing it myself... I will take the latter everytime.

To sum it up, this could be viewed as a mini-Y2K. The ramifications are not as dire, but it is an external change that will affect computer systems and may have some unknown consequences. At a minimum, I am expecting some disgruntled staff that go to the conference room they had reserved only to find it already in use or people showing up for meetings an hour after they start... basically, a lot of corporate fun.

For the non nerds out there (I expect DNasty to be the only one that made it this far... and that is iffy) enjoy your blissful ignorance of the IT stress that is going on in the background because of the wonderful Energy Policy Act of 2005 and that extra hour of daylight on Halloween.

Trick or Treat.


Kipper said...

I read it all and just chuckled. I mentioned this in one of our meetings and kinda got a blank stare and they moved onto the next topic. I shrugged and said OK.

"Imagination at Work"

Should be fun!


mookie99 said...

Thanks for playing The Mookie last night.