Daylight saving WTF



  • I have just experienced a weird daylight saving issue that definitely made me go WTF?. The rest of the world may not know, but the US transitioned from DST to standard time on 1st of November. From this page of DST times you can see the dates when the US and the EU have changed times over the last 4 years

    However the WTF is about some PLC program software that I use. VersaPro (see PDF sales brochure) was superseded about 7 or 8 years ago, but I work with a number of clients that still use this software for production machines. This is not unusual and as such I have a copy sitting on a VM on my laptop. The software is licensed with either a genuine you paid for it license, or if you install it with no license you can get a 4 day grace period before it requires a license and it then gives you some nag dialog boxes counting down (by the hour) your trial license time whenever you start the program. At which point simply uninstalling it and re-installing will give you another 4 days of trial licensing (a minor wtf in itself). Given that it is not something I use full time I have never made the effort to get a real license. After this week I will be re-considering this stance

    Early last week I had to use VersaPro and did the uninstall re-install dance and I was fine for that week. Then on Monday of this week (the first work day after the DST change) I did the same little dance and this time when I reinstalled the software it came up with a different set of dialog boxes saying that my license had expired - not the 4 day trial license I was expecting. Being the consummate software professional that I am, I immediately did another uninstall, re-install cycle and got the same result. I then tried to install the software on a fresh VM and still got the same result. This was now starting to worry me, so I decided to ignore the problem for a bit

    Yesterday morning I got a bit more worried as I found out that a colleague was having the same issue as me. We both suspected an issue with DST but didn't know what the actual problem might be. So yesterday afternoon I experimented with changing the system time on the VM ahead by 1 hour and all of a sudden the trial license started working! Great, so now I have a temporary fix until I can get a genuine license. And then today the kicker was that with the system time set correctly the damn licensing was back to normal.

    My only guess is that there is a lot of hard coded DST rules in that software in order protect against people changing the system clock, but these rules failed to match the reality of this years transition. I have no idea why it took 2 days for the planets to come back into alignment - I am just happy that they did.



  •  A couple of years ago, I came in to work right after the DST change, and when I turned on my computer I couldn't log on to the network.  So I call the IT guy and he fiddles with the computer for quite a while before noticing that the time on my computer is off by an hour.  He fixes the time and I'm able to log on just fine.  WTF.

     

     

     



  • @El_Heffe said:

    he fiddles with the computer for quite a while before noticing that the time on my computer is off by an hour.  He fixes the time and I'm able to log on just fine.  WTF.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerberos_%28protocol%29#Description

    The security
    of the protocol relies heavily on participants maintaining loosely
    synchronized time and on short-lived assertions of authenticity called Kerberos tickets.



  • The 2007 change to United States DST scheduling caused a lot of problems for a lot of people.

    Occasionally the cure was worse than the disease; the first patch we got from Blackberry for this issue bricked all of the executives' fancy phones when it was pushed out over the network.



  • I work with Oracle, and have been so stupid as to believe that TIMESTAMP WITH LOCAL TIMEZONE is useful. So now, when DST changes, the outcome of your SELECT statement will change too. Great, isn't it? Turns out "with local timezone" means "we add or subtract an hour to any timestamp when your clock changes". And the db settings in development 1, development 2, and production are all different. Guess who lost a few weeks trying to figure that out...



  • If "Licence expired" happens on the first run, just wait for one hour after installation, before you run it.



  • My only question is: why bother buying a license?  Prior to this bug, the trial version satisfied all of your needs and you're running it in a VM where you can set the clock to anything you want.  Seems like a simple work-around and I can't imagine why you'd want to give fiscal encouragement to the product.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    My only question is: why bother buying a license?  Prior to this bug, the trial version satisfied all of your needs and you're running it in a VM where you can set the clock to anything you want.  Seems like a simple work-around and I can't imagine why you'd want to give fiscal encouragement to the product.

    Because something that can potentially lock me out of my work is not worth the hassle of trying to second guess "will it work today". This is the first time me or anyone I know has seen this behaviour. You could argue that a license won't necessarily provide any better quality than what I have already but seeing that I won't be paying any licensing costs personally I would prefer my delusional peace of mind.



  • @OzPeter said:

    Because something that can potentially lock me out of my work is not worth the hassle of trying to second guess "will it work today". This is the first time me or anyone I know has seen this behaviour. You could argue that a license won't necessarily provide any better quality than what I have already but seeing that I won't be paying any licensing costs personally I would prefer my delusional peace of mind.

    I've heard a lot of PC gamers say the same thing. Oh wait, no....



  •  @OzPeter said:

    This was now starting to worry me, so I decided to ignore the problem for a bit

    Quoted for blissful ignorance

    @TGV said:

    I work with Oracle, and have been so stupid as to believe that TIMESTAMP WITH LOCAL TIMEZONE is useful.

    No. No no no no. No. Always store and handle dates/times in UTC, convert only when displaying to the user. I have learned this the hard way, over and over (I don't learn very quickly...).

    @alegr said:

    If "Licence expired" happens on the first run, just wait for one hour after installation, before you run it.

    No, you should run it, wait for an hour, and then install it.



  • Ahh, DST, the time of the year where our users report hours missing in our log files.



  •  At least you are not in Agrentina, where they decided that they were going to drop DST the day before it was scheduled to start!



  • If you (and your coworkers) use this software so often that you have a tried&true method of getting around the DRM, then I believe you are morally and legally obligated to buy the software.

    It may have been made "7 or 8 years ago", but the developers should still get paid if you're using it.  How much could it even cost if it's that old?

    Just Buy It!

     



  • @robbak said:

     At least you are not in Agrentina, where they decided that they were going to drop DST the day before it was scheduled to start!

    FTFY.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @SuperAnalyst said:

    How much could it even cost if it's that old?
    Asstons of money. Such is the miracle of specialty software. If you write the first product in a given niche and price it at some outlandish amount, but make it still be cheap enough to be not worth anyone else's time to develop a better one, you can get away without so much as writing a line of code until the OS changes fundamentally - like Linux stops emulating System V, or Windows drops 16bit support.

     My university is stuck at Windows XP for the forseeable future because several pieces of specialty software (that the accounting professors ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE on every student machine on campus to allow their special children the ability to work anywhere they want, not just in some ghetto lab where all the ancient hardware gets placed to match their ancient software) can't be made to run on Vista or 7, or on an X64 XP. As it is, getting it to run on 32bit XP is a collossal pain in the ass and consumes more IT resources than every other problem area COMBINED.



  • TRWTF is that you are using trial software.



  • @Weng said:

    @SuperAnalyst said:

    How much could it even cost if it's that old?
    Asstons of money. Such is the miracle of specialty software. If you write the first product in a given niche and price it at some outlandish amount, but make it still be cheap enough to be not worth anyone else's time to develop a better one, you can get away without so much as writing a line of code until the OS changes fundamentally - like Linux stops emulating System V, or Windows drops 16bit support.

     My university is stuck at Windows XP for the forseeable future because several pieces of specialty software (that the accounting professors ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE on every student machine on campus to allow their special children the ability to work anywhere they want, not just in some ghetto lab where all the ancient hardware gets placed to match their ancient software) can't be made to run on Vista or 7, or on an X64 XP. As it is, getting it to run on 32bit XP is a collossal pain in the ass and consumes more IT resources than every other problem area COMBINED.


    Actually, apps that were a collosal pain in the ass on xp from 2k were fucking amazingly easy from 2k to win7. It makes me want to skip both.



  • @PJH said:

    @El_Heffe said:

    he fiddles with the computer for quite a while before noticing that the time on my computer is off by an hour.  He fixes the time and I'm able to log on just fine.  WTF.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerberos_%28protocol%29#Description

    The security
    of the protocol relies heavily on participants maintaining loosely
    synchronized time and on short-lived assertions of authenticity called Kerberos tickets.

    I didn't know the official name for what was going on (till now) I've been bitten by Kerberos tickets a couple of times.  I regularly used Acronis True Image to make an image of my hard drive.  Then when IT pushed out an update that hosed my computer, I could easily restore it without having to wait hours (or days) for them to (a)admit they hosed my computer and (b)fix it.  Or so I thought.  Turns out that all my backup disk images were useless since the new Kerberos ticket was different from the one on my backup, so I wasn't able to log on to the network.  How nice.


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