"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Sunday, March 11, 2007

spring back, fall forward?

Are you "on time" today? Hopefully you remembered that in the government's infinite wisdom, it enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandating that the switch to daylight savings time would come three weeks earlier this spring, and end one week later than normal on the first Sunday in November. Accordingly, you should have set your clocks forward one hour at 2 AM this morning. But when it comes to computers and other electronic devices which have the time change pre-programmed for the first Sunday in April as it's been done for decades, this could be easier said than done. For example, when I first tried earlier today to set my computers manually, they stubbornly jumped back to what they thought was the correct time, almost as if to say, "no, you idiot, we artificially-intelligent machines know when to change the time, and this ain't it." Even more exciting, they are plotting to spontaneously advance themselves by an hour come three weeks from now if I don't put a stop to their siliconious treachery.

Fortunately, there is a fix for this in the form of an operating system patch from Microsoft, formally known as KB931836. This update to Windows will allow your computer to recognize the new dates. However, to download it, your system must pass the "Windows Genuine Advantage" validation test -- an onerous and controversial anti-piracy program designed to ferret out bogus copies of Windows, and phone home details of your system to Redmond if it finds one. Not that I think any of my ├╝ber-responsible readers would have anything less than the genuine article on their machines, but in case any rogue software pirates have stumbled upon this site in a drive-by blogging, you anti-social criminals can get the file you need (which goes by the easy-to-remember name of WindowsXP-KB931836-x86-ENU.exe) from several alternate sources without having to validate your copy of Windows. Far be it from me to condone such nefarious activity by telling you exactly where you can find this file. I do have standards, you know.

For information on adjusting other electronic gadgets containing microprocessors (which may include your Blackberry or other PDA, Mac, cell phone, radio, television, VCR, Tivo, microwave oven, thermostat, camera, MP3 player, automobile, GPS system, video game, home security system, cable TV box, dishwasher, stove, electric blanket, your pet, and possibly even yourself) see this helpful article from Business Week.

This event is much more of a hassle in the corporate world than it is for home users, perhaps even more so than the much-anticipated "Y2K" bug which had very little actual effect. Microsoft is taking heat for not warning early enough of possible impact from the DST change to its applications, especially Exchange, and business users are also grumbling about how the company is now addressing the snafu as well.

"Microsoft has 14 pages of fine print on how to address DST using the Exchange Calendaring tool," said one corporate user. "We're on revision 19 as of March 8. You also have to watch a video on how to do this. It takes 23 minutes. It gives me a headache."

I personally think the new time change is absurd and confusing. More significantly, there are serious questions that the stated goal of "energy conservation" will be realized. According to a report prepared by a staff member of the California Energy Commission, "there is no clear evidence that electricity will be saved from the earlier start of daylight savings time", and in fact usage could possibly increase due to peak load demands in the morning when it is still slightly darker and cooler.

But when was the last time the government did anything that made sense?


  • At 3/11/2007 10:20:00 PM, Blogger Daisy Martin said…

    I should have known there was a technical reason why my computer did not change time automaticly this morning.

    I like to live in the past though so it doesn't bother me living life today 1 hour in the past. (does that make any sense? No, it didn't to me either).

  • At 3/15/2007 03:05:00 PM, Blogger Janelle said…

    Yeah, I haven't really figured out how oru government thought that this would save on energy. Sure I don't have to turn on my lights in the mornings when I awake up now, but I do find myself using the lights ealier (and longer) now in the evening. I am pretty sure it equals out to be the same amount of time the lights are on at my house.


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