Staying on top of things with timely updates in separator pages

For a month prior to the transition this past spring, the separator pages generated by the shared company printers contained a handy reminder that Daylight Saving Time began early this year.

The reminder remained on the separator pages as late as the summer solstice.

Maybe the people who design the separator pages didn't have anything more interesting to say, so they let the old message ride.

Public Service Announcement
This weekend marks the end of Daylight Saving Time in most parts of the United States, the first "return to standard time" cutoff under the new transition rules.
Comments (32)
  1. Chris Walken says:

    Yay! Raymond gets points for spelling daylight saving time correctly. 86% of people spell it incorrectly, as "daylight savings time". Its not plural.

    Need more cowbell.

  2. nathan_works says:

    So maybe the separator page guys hired Jack Wagner as their consultant. Jack always reminds me when DST is, and I haven’t missed a parole hearing yet.

    So in Jack’s words, don’t forget, FALL FORWARD, and set your clock right before you go to bed Saturday night by one hour. That way you won’t miss any important meetings.

  3. Matthew Hui says:

    My fix for the alarm clock problem was one that has a switch to determine if it’s DST or not. When it changes, flip the switch. When it changes back, flip the switch again.

  4. Frank Schwab says:

    Sick of always getting up at the wrong time on time-changing days, I moved to Arizona.  And chuckle twice a year as the rest of the country tries to figure out what the rules are for this change.

    Seriously, why does the rest of the world still submit to this PITA twice a year?  It wasn’t a big deal in the 1910’s, when a family might have a grandfather clock and a pocketwatch or two.  Without thinking too hard, I can identify at least 20 different clocks in my house, ranging from the VCR to the pool timer to the clock in the digital camera. Some are dumb ones that would need to get reset twice a year, some are stupid ones (like James’) that need to get reset four times a year, some are ‘soon to be stupid, but currently smart’ ones that don’t need to be reset at all. And, being digital, all of the clocks that need resetting have a different method for doing so, some of which are, shall we say, "difficult" to remember from year to year.

  5. Michiel says:

    Tip from my local power company: It’s the ideal moment for your ground fault circuit interrupter self-test. You’re going to change all clocks anyway, and a power cycle will quickly get many clocks into the <blink>12:00</blink mode>. Saves you the trouble of finding that keycombination, too.

  6. Peter Ritchie says:

    Hmm, I bet Microsoft could make a bit of coin selling space on the separator pages to advertisers… :-)

  7. James Schend says:

    Frank Schwab:

    I think the benefits of living in the Pacific Northwest by far outweigh the annoyance of not knowing what time it is two days out of the year. It’s just an annoyance, it’s not something I’ve move over.

  8. Jesse says:

    The funny thing was that the time marked on the separator was off by an hour during the 3 week period.

  9. Mikkin says:

    Batteries not included: the sun dial on my patio only needs to be reset if it falls over in an earthquake.

  10. Ivo says:

    @James Schend:

    I have the same problem with Windows 2000 – it doesn’t know about the new rules and needs to be fixed 4 times a year. Last time I corrected the clock by 1 hour. But that messed up my file timestamps for a week since that changes the UTC on the computer. This time I just moved the timezone from Pacific to Mountain. Hopefully it will take care of any timestamp issues.

  11. Mark Sowul says:

    I wish we just stayed in DST and didn’t move back at all.  I value light more at 5 PM than 5 AM.

  12. Joe says:

    "I almost missed work monday, because I guess the optimist in me figured whatever magical satellite beamed the time to it would beam the DST rules, too. Silly me."

    How did you almost miss work Monday?  If anything, you should have been an hour early!

  13. GregM says:

    Joe, it "fell back" a week early, so it said it was 6 AM, for example, when it was really 7 AM.

  14. James says:

    I’m glad my wristwatch, cellphone, computers and STB all reset automatically as needed; I seem to recall the radio time protocol my watch uses includes a bit for ‘daylight time’, set or cleared appropriately in the transmissions. Fine as long as the daylight difference is always one hour, presumably, as opposed to, say, 30 or 90 minutes…

    James Schend should just be glad changing the time manually like that doesn’t cause the same problem it did for a colleague’s laptop: having set the timezone wrongly, once a month it updated via NTP. Every time that happened, of course, it jumped to the wrong time for where we were, and every time he set it back, baffled by his self-changing clock!

  15. Spoon says:

    @Ivo: You can fix that with tzedit.exe — Windows 2000 will then behave fine.

  16. BryanK says:

    Ivo — there’s a (mostly-)simple registry hack you can do to redefine win2k’s idea of when DST starts and ends.  See KB article 914387, and either import the .reg file given there (if it covers your time zone), or follow the tzedit.exe instructions.

    On our domain (both 2000 and XP clients, but only in one time zone), I exported the original TZ keys, ran tzedit on one client, exported the new TZ keys, figured out the differences that applied to the time zone that I’d changed, then wrote a machine logon script to apply the resulting .reg file when the machine booted.

    It still would’ve been nice to get a patch, of course, but I can see why they didn’t do it in Jan/Feb/March of 2007.  (Was Win2000 still under non-security support in 2005 when this law was passed?  If not, then win2k never would have gotten a patch, and it’s irrelevant.  But if so, then a patch could have been released in 2005 (at least by the "what types of patches we release" policy), the way glibc did.  glibc 2.3.6 was the first that had the updated TZ definition, and it was released November 2005.)

  17. Illuminator says:

    If I had my way I wouldn’t just stop at UTC; I’d have us all using Swatch time. I write code for the scientific industry and every time I see 6:50 on a clock I’m thinking it’s halfway to 7.  Screw that.

  18. MS says:

    This kind of thing plays havoc with time based assertions that I use.  Occasionally improperly set times will cause an assertion to expire on the client before its even done being generated on the server.

    If the printers are those HP laserjets with LCD displays, you can always just beam a message to that to display.  I used to have a quick C# app that did it, but I can’t find it anymore.  It was always fun to set it to "PC Load Letter."  Speaking of that, I need to go find my stapler.

  19. James Schend says:

    Sick of always getting up at the wrong time on time-changing days, I spent a large sum to buy an alarm clock which automatically set its current time, stored its alarm settings in Flash memory (so it still rings if the power goes out, at least if it’s back on by wakeup time) and adjusts for Daylight Saving Time.

    Problem is, it uses the "old" Daylight Saving Time rules and not the new ones, and there’s no way to fix it other than just manually setting it twice a year. I almost missed work monday, because I guess the optimist in me figured whatever magical satellite beamed the time to it would beam the DST rules, too. Silly me.

    To make things worse, since it still follows the old rules, I have to set it *4* times a year instead of just twice. (Twice to correct when it incorrectly moves ahead or back, then twice more to move it ahead or back at the right time.)

    Most of the time I have a vague inkling that the government is out to get me. This time I know they’re just messing with me.

    (Seriously, changing the clocks saves power? Yeah, sure! And if all Chinese people jump at the same time they’ll knock the earth out of orbit!)

  20. mike says:

    The digital clocks in the conference rooms (at least in Bldg 42) jumped the gun — they’ve been off DST* for at least a week.

    * Notice I carefully used a singular when referencing DST, in keeping with the semi-annual aka twice-yearly whinging about the right way to say/spell it.

  21. Ben Cooke says:

    Here in the UK we already switched back. Since no-one has changed the rules here for some time, all of my clocks set to local time* adjusted automatically. The first I noticed was when I needed to call someone in the US and found that I now had to call an hour earlier than before.

    Rather than just settling for getting rid of daylight time, I’d vote for just getting rid of timezones altogether and having everyone use UTC. People in California can just get up at 13:00 and go to bed at 06:00. Everyone would still be just as confused about whether their correspondants in other countries are in bed right now, but at least when you scheduled a meeting with international participants there’d be no confusion about when exactly it is.

    * yes, I am sad enough to keep a clock set to UTC, which spends half of the year set to the same as my local time clocks.

  22. Puckdropper says:

    Rather than screwing up everyone’s clocks and DST aware devices, why not save energy by offering discounted Compact Flourescent light bulbs?  The 65W reflector lights in my basement only need 13W with CFLs, and since they have to be on to see any time of the day, DST does little good.

    I lived in Indiana for several years and didn’t have DST to contend with.  It was nice not to mess with the clocks, but you do forget how to set them. ;-)  Now they’re with DST like most the US, but in the WRONG timezone.

  23. Worf says:

    While we’re all whining about the blasted change in DST rules…

    I have two clocks that need resetting four times a year (PITA) – my WinMo 5 PocketPC PDA, and my ancient TiVo. Both are easy to fix, but a huge PITA.

    Heck, everyone seemed to fall for it as well – I saw even TV station clocks as being off.

    All this change in the rules did for everyone is remind them what a pain DST is – I guess because everyone sorta had lots of clocks that adjusted automatically, but now end up being wrong. Maybe it’s time to just stick to either Standard or Daylight time…

    I also fail to see how it saves any energy (during this extended DST period) – by the time I get home at 5pm, the lights have to come on. When I wake up in the morning, the lights are on, too. The extra hour does mean when I turn on the a/c though, it keeps going until the sun sets, i.e., an hour longer, but this was always true during DST.

    Though yeah, most of the bulbs in the house are CFLs or fluorescent lamps.

  24. Jonathan says:

    "the people who design the separator pages"

    My guess:

    1. One guy figures out how to put messages in the separator pages, so he does that. At the time, daylight saving was approaching, so he wrote that in.

    2. The guy forgets / moves to another position / etc.

    3. The message remains for all eternity.

  25. Morten says:

    On the subject of saving electricity: the lawgivers in Denmark are considering outlawing light bulbs because they waste energy. As in, not every watt put into one results in light out. Being as we have to heat our houses all day 9 months out of 12 and in the evening 1 of 12 this seems to me like a silly thing to do. But then again, I took math in high school… :-)

  26. Stephen Jones says:

    The Danish are banning incandescent light bulbs. They use approximately four times as much energy for the same amount of light. Some of that heat would probably have to come from another source part of the year, but the savings are still considerable.

  27. Igor says:

    By banning incadescent lightbulbs they are just shifting the money loss from their to your pocket.

  28. Ivo says:

    Thanks, BryanK. That did the trick. I wonder why it is not included in any updates, but the .reg file is a perfectly acceptable solution.

  29. Puckdropper says:

    Banning incandescent bulbs would be a stupid mistake.  They are the only lighting solution for some places, and the source of heat for the EZ bake oven.  If they’re really that bad, the market will eventually decide and switch to something else.  

  30. Frozen Northerner says:

    As much as I hate DST, I keep thinking back to when I was attending senior high school in a different town, an hour away by bus. The week or two before DST hit was always a little scary, because I had to walk to the bus stop in relative darkness. Streetlights or no, it wasn’t the same as daylight.

    Universal time strikes me as being an even harder sell than the metric system. There is no endegenous sense of weight or measure like there is for time (circadian rhythm); you will never be able to do away with the idea of "local time" without altering human physiology in some manner.

  31. Will says:

    ivo wrote: "I wonder why [the Win2K DST fix] is not included in any updates, but the .reg file is a perfectly acceptable solution."

    Same reason Win2K does not get IE7.  Because, for better or worse, MS is only fully supporting XP SP2 and higher.  The DST patch is not even available for XP SP1, IIRC.

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