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Last-Minute Help With Daylight Saving Time

Here are a few more ways to get your computers and gadgets ready for this weekend's accelerated onset of Daylight Saving Time:

First, for people with older Macs: Remember when I wrote in my earlier Help File on the new DST rules that I couldn't find a simple fix for pre-10.3 versions of Mac OS X? Now, there is one, courtesy of the University of New Hampshire. (Disclosure: I haven't tested this one myself.)

If you run Microsoft Outlook, don't forget to download the separate updater file needed to get that program in sync with the new schedule. The Java software that runs some programs inside your Web browser has recently been updated for this change. Every Mac user should have the new version already, as part of Apple's automatic updates, but if your PC hasn't fetched an update lately, you can download the latest version at Sun Microsystems' Java site.

Palm, meanwhile, has posted a set of updater programs that amend the DST rules in its smartphones and handheld organizers. If you use a Windows Mobile device, Microsoft has its own batch of fixes available for download on its site.

While you're scurrying around updating all your electronic devices--not to mention manually resetting the time in every alarm clock, VCR, microwave, answering machine at home--think about all the time you're losing, not saving, in this twice-yearly ritual. I know I could do without that routine; I've come around to my colleague Marc Fisher's belief that we should just make Daylight Saving Time the standard all year round.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  March 9, 2007; 10:38 AM ET
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I wonder if the money we are suppose to save in lower energy costs by a few weeks has been offset (or exceeded) by the added cost of developing and installing all the patches and updates for all the computer systems.

Posted by: Andrew | March 9, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Most countries in the world do not use DST and, they don't seem any worse off than us. DST, simply, isn't necessary.

Posted by: mercuryq | March 9, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget to turn your sundial!

Posted by: Tomcat | March 9, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Now if y'all had a Microsoft controlled home, all of your clocks would magically update ... or burst into flame!

Posted by: Tomcat | March 9, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The suggestion of having Daylight Savings Time year-round misses the point. The whole reason for DST is to trick us into getting up an hour earlier, and this only works because of the twice-yearly switch.

With year-round DST we would have time to adjust our habits. Gradually businesses, schools and offices would start opening and closing an hour later, and we would start sleeping the extra hour. Then someone would come up with the idea of Extended Daylight Savings Time, to be used during the summer on top of regular DST.

Posted by: Jonathan Tappan | March 9, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The idea of Daylight Savings time came up during WWII, energy savings, getting kids to school in daylight, workers getting tow work in daylight, all of which are no longer an issue. Probably, most Americans have come to appreciate Daylight Time, because of longer daylight evenings and would agree that we should just make daylight time Standard Time.
Personally, I have found time zones a real pain in the ass and if I had my preference, I would have the world switch to Greenwich Time, where everyone in the world used the time at the Prime Meridian, Greenwich England. On a 24 hour clock, it would be the same time anywhere in the world and people could go to work any time they chose, arrival and departure times would be the same anywhere in the world. We used Greenwich time when I worked in US Army communitcations and I grew to appreciate it!
It bugs me that America and Europe do not change to Daylight time at the same time. Converting is one thing, but converting and accomodating different date changes to Daylight time and impossible!
Times zones are just a pain in the ass and conversion of times is even more painful, even for a mathematician.
However, I realize that I am in a minority, because I would also appreciate America converting to the metric system, which they threatened and tried thirty years ago, but failed miserably.

Posted by: Richard Blankenburg | March 9, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The rest of the world does not use, does not need it and neither do we. Let's just use our natural circadian rhythms and enjoy a less stressed life more in tune with our earth's environment and each other.

Posted by: Mimi Sardini | March 9, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The ignorance in some of these comments is amazing.

Other countries do indeed use DST. In Britain, it's called "Summer Time." EVERY European nation uses it with Iceland engaged in what could be construed as continuous DST.

Most tropical nations have no need for it since the changes in the seasons don't affect the timing of dusk and dawn all that much.

And it started in WWI, not WWII.

Posted by: Historian | March 9, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

It's a complete lie that DST saves any energy. And it's insane to think that by moving the hands on a clock you are keeping the sun "up" longer. If DST is such a great idea why not turn our clocks up say 5 hrs.? Than we can enjoy daylight till past mid-nite. The idea is pushed by business to get people out shopping after work or school. And just cause other countries do it, don't make it any saner.

Posted by: Mike D | March 9, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

It's just the old work ethic of daytime (work) good and nighttime (play) bad. Typical government interference in the lifestyles of people to 'fufill the greater good' kind of crapola. I like the night, and I really don't like the government imposing their view on what I was given--an Earth where the sun sets at a certain time and rises at a certain time.

Extending DST was brought to you by micro-managing morons. It should at least go back to the way it was before.

Posted by: Bob | March 9, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

As fun as it is to read the bickering and complaining, some really need to realize that 1) more daylight hours means fewer hours using electricity lighting various places, thus it does indeed conserve energy, and 2) it may not actually be a corporate or government conspiracy aimed at taking advantage of you (yes, you). Of course, this has all been somewhat off-topic, considering this was originally supposed to be directed at the updates themselves.

What I really want to know is this: Why do I have to run all these separate updates for 1) microsoft windows, 2) microsoft outlook, and 3) microsoft windows mobile? Considering how all this stuff is supposed to be integrated...

Posted by: John | March 9, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

@Jonathan Tappan: maybe you were joking, but that's been done. During WWII Britain went to "war time". This moved the clocks forward for one hour all year long, and also for an *additional hour* during the summer!

@Rob P.: I agree that we should stop changing clocks, though I would do it by eliminating DST.

Posted by: massysett | March 9, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Lot of DST haters here! I *love* DST. Bring it on! The worst day of my year is when we "fall back" and it starts getting miserably dark at 5 pm.

Posted by: | March 10, 2007 6:09 AM | Report abuse

But that extra hour of sleep in the process is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaantastic.

Posted by: College Park | March 10, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I think the logic behind Daylight Saving (no "s" goes on that word) Time may be outdated because of the electric light and other such things. People don't so much shift their schedules the way the may have done in the past--for example, I get up at 6:30 on weekdays regardless of the time shift and I usually turn in around 11:00. Most people I know tend to do the same--they don't turn in earlier in winter just because it is dark out.

So what DST does at this time of year, or any time when the days aren't as long as they are during the summer, is simply to shift the time of energy usage. It's going to be dark in the mornings next week, so which will increase energy usage then. I'm not sure we'll see the big benefit the government hopes to see.

I do like DST during the summer, when the days are long enough to warrant it.

Now if we can just get people to understand that you don't schedule a meeting for "11:00 EST" when we're on DST!

Posted by: Rich | March 10, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Contrary to what most americans,think part of the the good old US is already on DST.Puerto Rico is on DST all year round and it doesn't seem to have hurt them a bit
The argument about having to change clocks to go on DST does not hold up if you stay on DST as Puerto Rico does If you move from one time zone to another you HAVE TO make the change SO WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL???

Posted by: elmer | March 10, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

One note on VCRs. Probably want to go into the VCR Time Setup menu and turn the DST algorithm to "off". Otherwise, we would be making VCR adjustments 4 times a year. Am I right ?

Posted by: rick | March 10, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse


You're right. If your product does not have a patch then you should turn automatic DST off. Otherwise it will change again in 3 weeks.

I'm for year round DST. You have to take in aacount all the accidents that happen after spring forward because people's sleep rhythms are thrown off.

Posted by: jgl | March 10, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

DST just makes it harder to get my kids to bed.

hooray for me.

Posted by: jfkm | March 10, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Where can I get the EXACT time? We have cellphones from different providers, and while they are fairly accurate, they don't agree with one-another EXACTLY. If I'm going to go through all of the crap involved with changing the myriad clocks, timers, appliances, computers, etc - where can I find a definitive source for the correct time? Anybody know?

Posted by: dave | March 10, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The official US time is available at

Posted by: Jen | March 10, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow - this whole comments section (funny read) is proof positive that people look for reasons to get their undies in a twist. Chillax!

Posted by: mary | March 10, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree about's an oxymoron if ever there was one. It doesn't matter what time the clock says, there's still 24 hours in a day no matter what! All this does is give me jet lag when I lose an hour every spring, and getting little kids to go to bed on time is hard enough without having to deal with DST on top of it! Those of you who also have kids that treat bedtime like a rodeo know what I'm talking about-and that's without the "But it's still light out!" whining you get in the fall when we "gain" an hour back. We should keep it regular time all year round and quit this spring-forward-fall-back routine. All it does is screw up our circadians and essentially accomplish nothing because we're not really saving time at all...just messing with it. I'm looking forward to this three-week advance...NOT!!!

Posted by: Athena DragonDancer | March 10, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes Kids may complain it is "light out" at bedtime but they are awfully happy when it is earlier to go trick or treating.

My mother did not feel comfortable sending me to school in the dark. And fall back really helps with that.

Posted by: kiki | March 11, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice if the MS Outlook DST Updater had some instructions. I work for a small company and we have spent a good part of the morning canceling, moving and adding recurring meetings. Plus, I somehow wound up with duplicate meetings scheduled an hour apart!


Posted by: Lester Burnham | March 12, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

During WWII the United States had a "war time" imposed atop Daylight Saving Time, in order to "save electricity" or somthing like that. As a kid, I and my peers really liked that because the sun didn't go down until around 10 pm.

Posted by: Lee | March 12, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I hate losing that hour of sleep. Aren't Americans sleep-deprived enough already? Considering that life (particularly business) is 24/7 now, unlike many years ago when DST was adopted, how much energy are we really saving? Or is fooling with the clock easier to do than wean the country from its dependence on oil?

Posted by: marie | March 12, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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