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United States Science Technology

Extra Daylight Savings May Confuse the Gadgets 933

Posted by timothy
from the abolish-daylight-savings-time dept.
CrimeDoggy writes "In the energy bill to be signed by the President today (August 8), changes are to be made that extend daylight savings time. The bill would start daylight time three weeks earlier and end it a week later as an energy-saving measure. Many devices such as VCRs, cell phones, and watches would still operate on the previous schedule, potentially causing problems."
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Extra Daylight Savings May Confuse the Gadgets

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:40PM (#13271759)

    Super. It's about time we monkey with the way we reckon time again...after all, we had almost gotten used to the current insane standard.

    I would propose a rather radically different option...eliminate time zones in the U.S. altogether. That's right, no time zones at all...everyone can just use GMT. I'm not advocating that everyone go to work at 09:00 GMT...business can determine what hours they want their employees to work, based on the amount of daylight available at that particular time of year, but the time standard would be the same everywhere. That way, there would be none of this bullshit confusion about 'what time is that here', or 'what is the time there'. It's GMT. The same damned time everywhere.

    We're already a global community...it only makes sense to adopt a global time. Of course, asking the country that still uses Imperial measurement units to spearhead this change might be asking a bit much...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This would help so much. Just have internal time be in seconds, globally. Then just define days as XXXXXX-XXXXXX.
    • by Peyna (14792) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:46PM (#13271854) Homepage
      Swatch started such an initiative a couple years ago.

      Internet Time [wikipedia.org]

      • The last thing we need to do is switch to a standard that includes terms prefixed with a period.
        • OT: sig... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shmlco (594907)
          It is as impossible to steal "intellectual property" as it is to steal fire.

          And it's equally possible to extinguish both...

        • It's so that it's hidden from the normal users! We don't want anyone to mess with that timezone a la the US Government is doing right now, so we prefix with the dot and chmod it to 0700
      • I took a marketing class last fall where the case study book had (along with several other can't-miss late '90s schemes, including Alloy.com and Onsale.com) a case on Swatch Internet Time. It's aged about as well as the rest of the Swatch brand has...
    • Ok, so our culture is to ingrained in the American system of meausrement to change. I can accept that. We can't change the side of the road we drive on because the infastructure is already in place. And we'd again, have to teach millions how to relearn how to drive. But explain to me the significance of daylight savings time. I mean really.
      • by Orne (144925)
        But explain to me the significance of daylight savings time. I mean really.

        In the pre-electricity "modern" era, families that stayed up after dark would light their homes with candles and oil lamps [chariot.net.au], which could get quite expensive ... The idea was proposed [webexhibits.org] by Benjamin Franklin (known for his strong work ethic), that if the clocks were moved earlier towards the dawn in the summer, then there would be plenty of daylight in the evening after work, and thus countless candles and barrels of oil could be saved.

        Ex
    • by wazootyman (555696) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:47PM (#13271874) Homepage
      But what happens when I'm in Michigan and need to call a client in California? It's still relevant that 9 am here is 6 am there. If you eliminate time zones, you'll still have to adjust your schedule based on the fact that their day is about 3 hours behind yours.

      We already use a global time in a sense; time zones make GMT into a format that's easier to understand. Knowing that it's 05:00 GMT doesn't necessarily tell you whether you're going to be calling a person in the middle of the night or not.
      • But what happens when I'm in Michigan and need to call a client in California?

        You know his hours of operation.

        You work from 12:00-20:00, he works from 15:00-23:00. You keep that in your contact information from him. He publishes it in his .VCF.

        Your PIM tells you when you bring up his record if he's working now so you don't have to burn any neurotransmitters figuring it out.

        This is the same as figuring out if the Target down the street is open yet.

        It's also great in that it would let people work closer to
        • You work from 12:00-20:00, he works from 15:00-23:00. You keep that in your contact information from him. He publishes it in his .VCF.

          I, for one, welcome our new computer tell-you-when-to-call-people-instead-of-using-our- brains overlords.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Some US states have no DST, yet these devices work fine in them, why because you can turn off auto-DST and manage time manually.
      • the other problem with manual DST is if people get it wrong.

        the windows user interface in particular pushes the idea that local time is all important and the timezone is just some internationalisation setting.

        if you have local time right and timezone wrong your computer gets the wrong idea of UTC which is a bad thing for any protocol that bases things like caching on UTC.
    • by SlayerofGods (682938) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:47PM (#13271885)
      And while on the topic... who thought up this crazy 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day.
      We need metric time damn it!
      • by brunson (91995) * on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:01PM (#13272076) Homepage
        Anyone with a background in math will tell you base 12 or base 60 is much better to do math in. The more integer divisors your base has, the easier it is to do division without going into fractions. In a 12 hour day, what's half of that, or a third or a quarter? It's even better in a 60 minute hour where you have a factors of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30. What do you have for 10? 2 and 5. 100? 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50. Don't push for getting rid of base 60 time, push to change our number system to base 12.
        • by lgw (121541) on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:33PM (#13272428) Journal
          A *real* math geek will tell you that balanced base 3 is the best way to go (i.e., the digits are -1, 0, and 1). The is the densest way to store and calculate numbers. After all, why choose a system that's easy for humans when it's not humans that do most of the calculating any more?

          In any cas, the one true system of measure - the Furlong-Fortnight-Firkin system - is easy in both base 10 and base 12, you can't beat it!
        • by leoxx (992) on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:44PM (#13272561) Homepage Journal
          My car gets forty rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it!
        • by william_w_bush (817571) on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:55PM (#13272664)
          base 4. started using base 4 math in my head as an experiment a few years ago, so much easier, makes hex trivial. all addition has 4 possibilities, add quarter, add half, add 3/4 or shift up. the human brain is better at thinking in quarters than percents or 1/8'ths or 1/60's, whatever. seriously try it, takes like a day to figure out, and you can upconvert to hex by just grouping digits on top of each other
          ex.
                        0 3
          2f = 2 3

          just my 2c, but made math hella easier, and helps even more with higher dimensional math because you can visualize and manipulate halves and quarters much better than 2/5 and 7/10.
      • Decimal time (Score:3, Informative)

        by Z-MaxX (712880)
        Surprise!! There is actually such a thing! It's called Decimal Time [wikipedia.org]!

        And I wish the world were so nice that we could all use metric things and other 10-based units to match our number system.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Time is clearly not meant to be decimal-based. You can of course separate a day into arbitrarily many sections and call these sections anything you like. A 1000 wobbles per day perhaps. The bigger units of time are the real problem: The year can not be described by an integer number of days. If you don't want to do away with months, these are based on the moon and the only way to have an integer number of months per year is to not have them be precisely synced to the moon phase. Then you have the problem th
      • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gmai l . com> on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:41PM (#13272531)
        I once figured that we should just use Absolute Universe Time. Universe time starts at Zero (no unit)--the time when the universe started to exist--and the current moment AUT always is 100% (or just One). All other dates are given as a percentage relative to this. Dates in the past are between 0 and 1, moments in the future are larger than 1.
        Of course, this introduces a number of minor inconveniences. First off, since the universe started to exist, as far as we can tell, some 16 billion years ago but our typical time needs are in the manner of hours and days, this leads to extremely minor fractions: "I'll meet you at 100.00000000009%" or "I was born at 99.99999999999983%." Second, the refence to a given moment in time changes, ie 50% AUT isn't the same in 5 minutes or 5 seconds, since the total time between 0% and 100% AUT always increases. So you'd have to take that into consideration when using AUT.
        • by makomk (752139)
          That'd be Relative Univerrse Time. Absolute Universe Time would probably be the time since the start of the universe, in Planck periods. It's as close to a universal measure of time as you can get. The only downside is that watches would have to be rather on the large side to fit the display on.
    • by Nos. (179609)
      Move somewhere that doesn't use DST. I live in Saskatchewan (Canada). The time here is GMT -06:00, all year round.
    • by Peyna (14792)
      .business can determine what hours they want their employees to work, based on the amount of daylight available at that particular time of year, but the time standard would be the same everywhere. That way, there would be none of this bullshit confusion about 'what time is that here', or 'what is the time there'. It's GMT. The same damned time everywhere.

      Of course, this also creates a similar problem, it just shifts it to a different area.

      Instead of "what is it there"? The question becomes "What time do yo
      • by brunson (91995) *
        The question becomes "What time do you start work over there?" "What time do you wake up over there?"

        You have to ask that anyway. Just because I start work at 8am in Denver doesn't mean I can assume that everyone everywhere starts work at 8am. I can't even assume that in the *same* timezone.
      • by lgw (121541)
        Ever try to choose a meeting time on a con-call with 3 or more time zones? It always turns into an incoherant babble until someone asks "OK, what time *EST* do we have the next call". The current system sucks for agreeing on a time.
        • by Peyna (14792)
          "OK, what time *EST* do we have the next call".

          Which will still confuse the people that know that "EST" does not mean "Eastern" but "Eastern Standard Time," and the only state that is on EST right now is Indiana. Everyone else is on CDT or EDT. (CDT and EST just happen to coincide at the moment).
    • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75.yahoo@com> on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:02PM (#13272080)
      That way, there would be none of this bullshit confusion about 'what time is that here', or 'what is the time there'. It's GMT. The same damned time everywhere.

      I think you're missing the basic purpose of telling time. Which is to say that no matter what it says on the clock, it's the "same damned time everywhere", so your solution accomplishes nothing. Time is linear - you don't actually go back in time if you take a flight that lands in one place "earlier" than when it left (I know you know this, but your premise suggests otherwise). The purpose of having a time standard that we can all read is as a frame of reference. Your solution is to eliminate that frame of reference. I don't see how this makes things simpler.

      If it's morning where I am in NYC, it's still going to be night in Hawaii regardless of what the clock says. I still need to remember that if I want to call somebody there, or otherwise communicate. Just because my watch says it's 4 AM (GMT) doesn't mean all those Hawaiians are going to be awake.

      You're looking at things backwards. Time zones make it easier to deal with this issue, because we can easily say "oh, it's six hours earlier in Hawaii - that means people must still be asleep." Take away the time zones and you're stuck doing calculations about distance and solar cycles for every single place on the planet you've got to deal with. Is it really easier to say "well, Hawaii is 5,500 miles east, and the earth rotates at X miles an hour; therefore, Hawaii will have sunlight in 6 hours" than it is to just know that Hawaii's 6 hours behind us?
  • by conner_bw (120497) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:40PM (#13271768) Homepage Journal
    Hi, I'm a COBOL programmer who was making $250,000 a year in 1999 but, sadly, have been unable to find work since.

    If you need me to reprogram your VCR I offer you my services.

    My track record is impeccable, nothing happened in Y2K and I can honestly say that it was thanks to me. The havoc your VCR can wreck on the world economy is not worth the risk... Stop the apocalypse! Hire me.

  • Overtime for all to prevent the coming armageddon!
  • The change has already affected /.! The front page said the story was posted, but the story itself thought it wasn't! This is just the beginning of the chaos this change will inflict!!!
  • Moral travesty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fruity_pebbles (568822) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:41PM (#13271779)
    Daylight savings time is an idiotic solution to a non-existent problem.

    (Yes, that's an opinion. Feel free to disagree.)

    • by js3 (319268) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:48PM (#13271894)
      It takes a big man to admit daylight savings time is idiotic but I am not a big man.
    • Re:Moral travesty (Score:4, Interesting)

      by legirons (809082) on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:07PM (#13272138)
      "Daylight savings time is an idiotic solution to a non-existent problem."

      And while every other aspect of the gregorian calendar can be described in just a few lines of code, the daylight-savings time requires a 450KB database [twinsun.com] just to find out which timezone you're in, with entries like "during the second world war, London experimented with double daylight-savings time..." (admittedly most of that 450K is comments)
  • Is'nt this the right time to flash DVD player with OSS firmware?
  • Blah. You mean that people might have to learn to use the most basic features of the devices they own? Gosh, golly, gee, no!

    If anything, the tech sector will love it... People that are *so* annoyed by having to manually change their times *twice* for each switchover will be happy to upgrade to a newer unit that doesn't cause such a horrible thing to occur.

    The rest of us will either do the difficult subtraction/addition in our heads until the device fixees itself three weeks later or will just do it ourse
  • Artifact? (Score:2, Funny)

    by markmcb (855750)
    What is this "VCR" you speak of?
  • by drwiii (434) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:43PM (#13271812)
    You'll have another hour to fix it.
  • Please just drop it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phs2501 (559902) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:44PM (#13271819)
    Hopefully this will cause more states to take the good example of Arizona and just do away with the daylight savings sillyness altogether.
    • by cruff (171569)
      I agree. It seems to me that no additional energy will be saved by this stupidity, it will just shift the period in the day when it is used.
      • by the phantom (107624) * on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:56PM (#13272017) Homepage
        May I also add that extending Daylight Saving Time even farther into the fall is a bad idea(tm). I work at an elementary school. The kids tend to show up between 8:30 and 9:00 am. Understandard time in November, the sun has been up for maybe 40 minutes by the time they get here. Extending Daylight Saving Time even further means that they will be walking to school in the dark, which just seems like bad policy to me. Furthermore, I bike to work at about 7:00. I really don't like being on the road when it is very dark, which it can be at 7:00. It will be even worse with more DST.

        In short, I think this is a bad idea. I think DST is a bad idea in general, and I wish that more states would do what Arizona has done (but not the Navajo Nation), and dispense with DST altogether.
        • I agree that extending DST further in fall is bad idea. The problem is DST is very assymetric. The winter solstice is Dec. 21. If DST was actually about daylight, it should be close to symmetric around this date. However, we fall back only 2 months before this, and spring ahead 4 months after this. So, the fall transition happens too late, and the spring transition could stand to happen sooner.
        • by Peyna (14792)
          May I also add that extending Daylight Saving Time even farther into the fall is a bad idea(tm). I work at an elementary school. The kids tend to show up between 8:30 and 9:00 am. Understandard time in November, the sun has been up for maybe 40 minutes by the time they get here. Extending Daylight Saving Time even further means that they will be walking to school in the dark, which just seems like bad policy to me. Furthermore, I bike to work at about 7:00. I really don't like being on the road when it is v
      • by telecsan (170227) on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:23PM (#13272324)
        You have apparently never seen the typical electric load in the evenings for a large electric utility. Trust me, you can tell the difference between the day before daylight saving time (starts/ends) and the day after. There is a benefit. Personally, I don't think it's worth the hassle, but that's just me being selfish.
  • Bush hopes to save an enormous amount of energy by doing this! This measure will help his old buddies in the Texas penal system to cut costs on electricity used during executions now that they wont have to run the lights at the same time the chair is put in extra crispy mode!
  • patch the TiVo and PC PVR...

    My microwave can be an hour off for eternity, but if I miss that INXS/hulk hogan/tommy lee reality show, heads are gonna roll!

    e.
  • by bgfay (5362) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:45PM (#13271830) Homepage
    It seems that this is the one that people are concentrating on. Nutty stuff, really. I keep thinking about how we're killing the environment, that we can't get our President to even mention the word conservation, that we are making little to no progress toward using alternative energy sources, and on and on. But the fact that my cell phone might get confused by the new Daylight Savings Time is what we're hearing about not just on /. but on all sorts of other media outlets.

    Alright, so I'm going off on this. I understand that /. is news for nerds and tech oriented. This story fits that. I'm not saying that this story doesn't belong on /. (Got that?)

    What I'm trying to say is that somehow this is the BIG idea in the energy bill as it is being reported and it doesn't deserve that status.

    The Energy bill is a mess the likes of which haven't been seen since the Patriot Act. That's where the focus needs to be.

    Oh well.
    • Well, the conspiracy theorist in me says that the DST changes were made to in order to garner the headlines, and help hide the fact that the 'energy bill' does little besides give profitable oil companies extra tax credits.
    • The Energy bill is a mess the likes of which haven't been seen since the Patriot Act. That's where the focus needs to be.

      People only care about the here and now (I'm one of them although I don't care about how this might screw up my computer automatically correcting for CDT and CST).

      Global Warming is something that cooks and liberals care about and it doesn't affect anyone in the next two days so it doesn't matter. What's on TV is what matters to people right now.

      As long as the media and the Government can
  • Living in AZ (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DigiWood (311681) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:45PM (#13271840)
    ...I don't have to bother with daylight savings. The heat sucks but hey it's a tradeoff.
  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Glendale2x (210533) <slashdot@ninjam[ ]ey.us ['onk' in gap]> on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:45PM (#13271845) Homepage
    I'm still waiting for someone to point out a really good reason why we need DST. All it does is irritate me having to deal with resetting clocks.

    Furthermore, what the hell does this have to do with energy conservation? I'm still going to turn the fracking lights on when it gets dark; I don't look at the clock and go "hey, it's 7, time to turn on all the lights."
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aidtopia (667351)
      I'm still waiting for someone to point out a really good reason why we need DST.

      There are several studies that show Daylight Saving time saves lives (pedestrians and automobile traffic), reduces violent crime, and saves electricity.

      Here's one example. [hoosierdaylight.com]
  • Does canada have to go along with this Daylight stupidity? The current one seems just fine to me.
  • A great big DUH (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandrese (485) * <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:46PM (#13271862) Homepage Journal
    Of course stuff that is hardcoded with the old DST dates is going to have trouble. Yeah, that's a lot of gadgets. What can we do about it though? Most of those gadgets are not upgradable, so you're going to have to change the time on them twice a year now (once they figure out how to turn off the automatic DST updates).

    I wish the president would have had the gumption to just extend Daylight Savings Time to all year long and ditch the date changes entirely. Nearly every device can be configured to ignore DST changes and it would have saved the world a lot of confusion each year.
  • Some VCR's can set time themselves based on teletext (Ceefax for the brits). Alarm clocks can set themselves based on a radio signal. Anything connected to the net can use NTP (or NET TIME for the 'softies :-) Frankly my life will not come to a halt if my microwave shows the wrong time 3 weeks a year. Next story?
  • So some devices won't adjust at the right time. So what? Many devices with clocks really don't need them to be THAT accurate.

    Humans can adjust to the difference, or perhaps even MANUALLY change the clocks like we all did 10 years ago, and mostly still do today.

    Will it be an inconvenience? Sure. Will it destroy life as we know it? Probably not.
  • by chia_monkey (593501) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:47PM (#13271875) Journal
    Just to clarify, it's "daylight saving" time...No "s".
  • If you really want to make sure your program is recorded you sit there and press RECORD. Between changes in schedules, events that go overtime etc. it's not always reliable. If you want that, get a Tivo.

    My watches don't know from DST in the first place. Apparently there are still some benefits of being old-school.

    More importantly, Windows and OSX both get patched so frequently I can't imagine they won't be able to slip the fix in before then.
  • This change is intended to save the country energy (and presumably keep energy costs lower). It's a bit of a stretch to believe it will really have any effect. Gadgets being out of sync and operating systems failing to keep accurate time will be inconvenient at best. By the time we add up the cost of writing, shipping, and installing patches or just compensating for the incorrect times, does anyone really believe we'll end up with a net savings? Won't the programmers and hardware guys who have to work ext
  • Am I the only one whose VCR clock is currently flashing 12:00 anyway?
  • It doesn't seem to be universally known that DST rules vary not only across the country but around the world. Starting and stopping times vary by country, and as we all ought to know there are places in the US that don't have it.

    What does that mean?

    This is a non-issue. Most products either don't deal with DST (VCR's, clocks, etc) or are driven by outside signals (automatically set radio clocks, TV clocks, cable boxes, cell phones), are easily updated (all computer software, which already has to ask the OS f
  • 8:59, First time I've ever been early for work. --except for all those daylight savings times, lousy farmers!
  • Year 2K Bug - Programming results in 2byte date code, causing chaos when first two digits of year change. Mass blackouts predicted.

    Outcome - Last gasp for COBOL programmers.

    Year 2K5 Bug - Legislation results in 3 week time change, causing chaos in out of sync watches, cell phones and computers. Mass mis-scheduled meetings predicted.

    Outcome - You cut out of work early to play softball in the park. Boss does not notice.
  • by HEMI426 (715714) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:52PM (#13271964) Homepage
    ...Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time...
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:01PM (#13272077) Journal
    clearly the administration is in the thrall of Big Time!
  • Why is it so easy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeDawg (721537) on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:12PM (#13272199) Homepage Journal
    Why is it so easy for lawmakers to make a change to the time, yet they can't make the freaking change to the metric system to be like "the rest of the world". I wish we (speaking as an American) would convert to the metric system. Even though it doesn't negate the S.A.E. completely, it will overtime take its place.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:22PM (#13272315)
    I wonder if anybody who reads Slashdot has ever taken the time to read a real history book and learn the true reasons behind the creation of Daylight Savings Time? The Freemasons and Illuminati are a group determined to get world domination and they are based in Sweden. Back in the early 1500s they managed to dupe many prominent American founding fathers such as Ben Franklin and Kurt Russell into believing this idea about "conserving daylight."

    The original plan was that this would give farmers more time to plant their crops. (The justification today is that we will consume less energy, but this was the year 1500 and electricity had not been invented yet.) But even the farmer idea is silly .. moving the clock back one hour is not going to generate any extra daylight! Farmers always get up at the beginning of daylight anyway, which is when the cock crows.

    The true story is horrid. It's dark and scary. The idea was to get the American people to slowly and gradually begin to accept the idea that time is not absolute. First, they were able to get people to screw around with their clocks twice a year. Now, they've managed to convince us to change when we do that. Eventually, the Freemasons and Illuminati hope to get us confused to the point where everybody believes that every day is February 2nd -- Groundhog Day.

    Since one of the popular activities on Groundhog Day is planting trees, people will stay home from work and plant trees instead of going to the office and being productive. And since they will have tricked us into thinking that every day is Groundhog Day, planting trees is all that we'll be doing, day in and day out! Since people will stop going to work entirely, our economy will soon crumble. Not only that, but with all of those trees planted, sunlight will stop hitting the ground here and will cause all of our crops to die, starving the whole country en masse. Then the New World Order will be upon us and the Hindu god Kali-Mah will take over.

    This is their true agenda, world domination and the destruction of America, Daylight Savings Time is their vehicle for this agenda and I encourage you to vote no on this bill and this is a run-on sentence.
  • by standards (461431) on Monday August 08, 2005 @04:26PM (#13272965)
    Ah! You're missing the point of this law! The point isn't saving energy. The point is increasing RETAIL SHOPPING HOURS.

    As a large retailer, we know that core shopping happens during daylight hours. As the sun sets, people start clearing out of the retail stores.

    In most parts of the country, retail stores open at a fixed time, either 9AM (or 10AM in some areas). Almost no stores open at "sunrise".

      Therefore, core shopping hours are from a 9AM until sunset. Maybe the store is open until 9 PM, but in general shopping activity slows way down at sunset. This is just a known fact in the retail industry.

    By changing the clock, sunset can happen later relative to clock time. Therefore, if we add a month of DST, we add about 30 hours of prime-time shopping to our annual retail calendar!

    To a retailer, this is huge news - this is almost like adding 3+ full shopping days to our calendar at almost zero cost.

    My management was amazingly happy by this rule change.

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