Time Out

March 9, 2007

Daylight Savings TimeIf you live in the US or Canada, and just stumbled in here from the dark side of the moon, perhaps, or an extended stay on a desert island, there’s a remote chance that you are not aware that:

a) The semi-annual disruption of your circadian rhythm known as “daylight savings time” is happening this Sunday (May 11) — three weeks earlier than in previous years. At 2:00 am your time, the clock moves ahead to 3:00am, and you lose an hour of sleep that you’re not getting back until the first Sunday in November.

and (perhaps more importantly, if you’re a gadget hound)…

b) Only having a year and a half or so warning, software manufacturers predictably waited until the last moment to make changes, so there’s a chance that some of the devices you expect to keep track of daylight savings time for you won’t, at least unless you update them.

If you’re running Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or Mac OS 10.3 or 10.4, be sure you have installed the latest Windows Update or Software Update, respectively.

If you’re running Windows Vista, you don’t need to worry about this (they gave you other problems instead.)

If you’re running Windows older than XP or Mac OS older than 10.3, you don’t need to adjust your watch, you need to adjust your calendar — your OS “good until” date has expired.

Seriously though, if you’re on a legacy or less well-troden OS, there are a lot of independent patches out there. Checking Wikipedia’s Y2K7 page is a good starting point for a search.

Also remember that it won’t be just operating systems that are affected. Microsoft has patches out for the more recent versions of their Office product (to fix organizer time issues). Be sure to check for updates to any other software that has to deal with dates and time.

There are patches available for most recent PDAs and SmartPhones – check with your vendor or cell provider.

Likewise, household devices that were smart enough to understand the time change last fall probably aren’t now, unless you’ve bought them recently.

If you’re using a DVR, double-check to make sure it seems to be recording at the right time, or you’re liable to miss something you’ll regret.

For that matter, if you can avoid being in an airplane or elevator at 2am Sunday morning, it’d probably be a good idea. Just on general principles, you know. It’s not like anything is gonna happen, but I’m just saying…

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