Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'm all about the environment. Every morning I drink coffee brewed at work out of a giant Styrofoam cup stamped with the corporate logo -- but I feel bad about it, you know?
Two years ago, in a shameless attempt to appease their greener thinking constituents, the federal government passed a law designed to save some energy and help out with global warming. The same power point presentation they watched to decide to take action was later made into a movie.
While they could have set up better co-generation regulation to encourage industry to clean up their act a little more or, better yet, provide some help to the outdated and horribly toxic third world factories immune to the Kyoto Accord (in exchange for lucrative trade deals and cheaper iPod knock-offs), or even work with the gulf coast fishermen who have been completely devastated through a combination of decades old net technology which more often than not yields catches composed of over 90% "trash fish" which are just dumped overboard to rot and a massive decline in marine life overall due to agricultural run-off.
Instead, they moved forward the "spring forward" part of Daylight Savings Time by two weeks.
While admittedly this could save (somehow) dozens of dollars nationally in energy costs, it has caused quite a bit of trauma for one sector of our society.
One cultural group has been singled out, deemed unimportant, ground under the green wheels of environmentally conscious frenzy. These people cried out for justice, but their wails fell on deaf ears.
Consider for a moment the plight of the geek.
Here is the thing:
Microsoft has had access (like all of us) for years to the calendar for daylight savings time. As a courtesy, because changing the system clocks on a massive number of computers twice a year is a pain, Windows does it for you unless you say you are in Arizona or one of the other "freak states" that ignores the rest of us.
Please note, the term "freak state" is not meant to imply that people from Arizona are freaks. Sure, they seem to live in a little bubble reality and the rest of us assume they constantly throw their hands over their ears yelling "lalalalalalala" every time the rest of the country wants to do something like create a holiday or change all of our clocks, but really. We are trying to have a society here, Arizona.
Okay. So the dates are pre-programmed in every server released since, oh, forever.
But wait.
They changed the dates.
Hang on.
They changed the dates for, like, three years or something and then they plan to put it back.
As a result. Every server in the country (not in Arizona, the freaks) will need a patch. Otherwise, time functions will be an hour off.
Meeting requests will be an hour off.
Email will arrive an hour before it is sent.
Time clocks.
Call logs.
Error messages.
Interest rates.
Everything breaks unless this patch (released last month) is applied everywhere.
One mid-sized bank has estimated 400 hours will be needed to test and deploy this patch.
Here, we have 200 servers and close to two thousand workstations (those aren't my problem) to patch within our six hour maintenance window.
If we miss the window, the time will change before the next one.
You know what? I had other stuff to do during that outage window, but there is no way it will get done.
All I want to do is finish my regular projects. Or play World of Warcraft all day.
Whatever. Anything but patch a bunch of servers one week before our automated patch deployment system is scheduled to be installed.
To clarify, I don't hate the planet. I like baby seals as much as the next guy (especially in a light butter sauce). But anytime the government legislates work for one sector of society, using Ted "Series of Tubes" Stevens as a technical reference, I'm going to take issue.
In a later post, I may detail the things I don't take issue with. It would be a short post, I'm sure.
I take issue with short posts.

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