No fooling, this year our clocks will “spring forward’ an hour with the arrival of daylight-saving time on March 11, not on April 1 as it normally would (it will also end a week later in the fall, on November 4) – and no, not because Punxatawny Phil managed to avoid seeing his shadow on Groundhog’s Day this year.
The new daylight-saving time dates were part of the Energy Policy Act, which President Bush signed in 2005. The measure is intended to conserve energy by prompting people to turn their lights on an hour later on spring and fall evenings.
Unfortunately, the change could wreak havoc – well, irritation, anyway – on your personal and professional time management systems. Those VCR and DVR clocks, for example (those of you with the flashing 12:00 need not worry), that have heretofore spared you the pain of resetting the clock manually (those produced after 2005 may be ok). Not to mention all the other household appliances that aren’t equipped with a special DST button (though those would have to have been attended to eventually).
On the professional front, Microsoft cautions that, “Unless certain updates are applied to your computer, it is possible that the time zone settings for your computer’s system clock may be incorrect during this four week period. This depends on where you live and which time zone you have selected.’ The software giant is, however, providing free updates and tools that will update your system automatically (those set for automatic updates should be ok – those updates were being delivered this week).
Nonetheless, to “minimize confusion during the affected date ranges’, Microsoft recommends:
- Including the time of the meeting in the e-mail request so that invitees can double check the correct meeting time
- Exercising caution with the appointments and meetings in the extended DST period
- Printing out your weekly calendars during the extended DST period prior to applying the Windows patch containing the updated time zone definitions and running the Outlook Time Zone Update tool so that you can keep track of which meetings were scheduled before and after you run the tool.
You can find out more about the Microsoft updates at http://support.microsoft.com/gp/dst_topissues#a2
There’s more helpful information at http://www.dstpatch.com/, and at http://www.calconnect.org/dstdocs.html