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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Double Blue Screen of Death

Pretty much the opposite of Double Happiness, John and Dan just got the Double Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) within 30-seconds of each other.

Grabbing some coffee and chatting to John, I saw the whole thing.  Here is what happened.

  • Some months ago, Dan tried to share a folder with John using Windows Live Messenger.
  • John had Windows Messenger, so nothing happened.
  • Windows Messenger has been crashing for John, so today he upgraded to Windows Live Messenger.
  • First thing it does is notice that Dan has offered to share a folder with him.
  • He says, “Sure, I’ll share a folder with you, Dan.”
  • Dan says, “What?” — he doesn’t remember this.
  • Then, John gets the BSOD.
  • Dan and I kind of laugh about it.  Losing your work is no laughing matter, but we laughed just the same.
  • Then Dan gets it too.

While writing this, John got another BSOD.  Making that a Triple Blue Screen of Death (or a Hat Trick of Death, the HTOD).

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Microsoft’s DST Fix is a real problem

Dan blogged last night that MSVCRT hasn’t been fixed for the new US daylight savings time (DST) rules that go into effect next month.

Last week, Wayne Citrin posted about a problem with Microsoft’s DST patch for Windows:

There’s a very interesting problem with Microsoft’s DST patch for Windows that you should be aware of, since it can impact date conversion results when mapped date proxies are used.  The patch applies the new rules for whether date and time are daylight savings time without regard to year.  This means that if you ask .NET whether a given DateTime in the past is DST, it will apply the new rules even if the date would have been standard time under the old rules.

Wayne points out that this isn’t really a .NET problem, but an OS issue fixed in Vista.  (and not in XP and presumably Server 2003, and anything before).  

As someone who used to work with lots of timeseries data (and more importantly, conversion in and out of formats that don’t support UTC), I can tell you: properly handling DST can be really hard.  Not rocket science, but hard just the same.

And Microsoft is telling us we can’t trust the tools nor the OS to do this right. 

So you just have to do it yourself — it is easier to fix when Congress enacts some new arbitrary rule.

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