Our recent article on network time servers has pulled in some comments on the topic of time zones and time zone updates.

As most readers will know, this is a hot topic among IT professionals in the US, thanks to Dubbya's latest energy-saving wheeze. His idea to extend summer time by four weeks isn't just going to cause pain across the pond though - our US-developed and -connected systems could get confused too.

It's not even clear to me that the change will save energy. The claim is that because power usage rises at dusk, an extra hour of evening daylight will reduce energy consumption. But what about all those people who will now have to switch on their lights in the morning? It's hard to see the change as anything other than a sop to the Greens that won't offend Dubbya's friends in the oil business too much.

Anyhow, on the general topic of time zones, Alexander Krivenyshev emailed to mention his WorldTimeZone website - it's free and shows all the time zones.

It would be nice if the map were properly clickable, so you could click a country and be told its zone (for example, what is that UTC-1 bit of Greenland?), but the list of zone abbreviations is kind of geek fun. Who would have guessed PETST, say? (It's Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski Summer Time.)

Another useful site is The World Clock, which tells you the time now in 150-odd cities.

And then there's all the patches for operating systems to help prevent DST-derived disasters. Sure they're available, but you still have to deploy them.

If you already have software deployment tools, you should be OK, but if not, enterprising companies are hoping to use the opportunity to add you to their user-bases. One such is French systems management developer IS Decisions, which is offering 15-day licences for its RemoteExec tool at around 6 percent of the regular licence fee.

No doubt others will follow suit with similar offers.