A double Daylight Saving Time whammy

Some years back I got a Timex T311T alarm clock radio for our bedroom. One big selling point was its ability to automatically adjust for Daylight Saving Time.

So earlier this week I come home from a few days on the road and I wake up bright and early the next morning. It isn’t until a wee bit of time has passed that I realize it’s actually an hour later than I thought it was based on that first glance at the clock. The DST rules are hard-wired to the old schedule, says Timex:

We apologize but there is no patch available. Consumers must change clocks manually. Due to newly enacted government regulations, effective this year you must change the time manually, since the calendar was programmed to change according to the time DST issued by the government, it will not recognize the change after 2007. Now the time must be changed 4 times.

On a positive note, it appears from reading the FAQ that this particular clock can play “nature sounds.” I had no idea.

It also prompted me to check all the computers in the house to make sure they’re ready for the turnover. The simple way to check for Windows Vista is to click the clock at the right side of the Taskbar. It should display a message like this one:


That’s exactly what I was expecting, so I am pretty confident this system doesn’t need an update. If you want to check your Windows-based computers for DST issues, visit the Daylight Saving Time Help and Support Center. The default selections on the first page let you choose a Windows version (2000, XP, Server 2003, or Vista). When I checked for Vista x64, I found that it offered KB933360, which is already installed on this system. That confirms that I don’t need to download any patches, at least not on this machine.

The second page of the wizard checks whether your copy of Outlook needs an update:


Office 2007 doesn’t require an update, but I was prompted to install the Time Zone Data Update Tool and check all appointments in the range from October 28 to November 5. It’s pretty straightforward:


On this system and using this mailbox, it didn’t find any appointments that needed tweaking.

The ironic thing is that the change in Daylight Saving Time is supposed to save energy. So how many people have been off-schedule this week (and how many more will be confused next week) thanks to devices that couldn’t handle the change?

5 thoughts on “A double Daylight Saving Time whammy

  1. Ed,

    I find it interesting that you have to download 2 files and install them, instead of MS being able to scan your system for the patches. They have the ability using Windows or Microsoft Update, so why not scan for the KBxxxxx patch numbers?

    Of course I was able to read the kb number of the OS patch from the dl confirmation and check for the patch manually, but it shouldn’t be something that the average user should have to do.


  2. Danged gov’ment…. meddling with our clocks, now! By the way there are some pretty nifty atomic clocks and watches that you might want to consider. Self setting and self correcting and reasonably priced. I understand that some of them even auto-correct for new time zones. I just can’t understand why car clocks don’t have WWV capability and self-tracking so they can change time zones on the fly. It would be easy to do, and be fairly cheap to manufacture.

    Just for fun, check out this article about one of the original clocks that picked up the WWV time signals:


    We had one at the TV station I worked at. It was a build it yourself Heathkit and cost several hundred dollars, even as a kit.

  3. Somehow this got into the realm of computers and the government. Getting back to the tabletop clock: I have one of these unpatchable clunkers, too. I just switch the thing to the adjacent timezone for the period between the old and new change dates. One simple switch rather than cranking the actual time 60 minutes (or 23 hours). Might not work for you “coasters” with no adjacent timezone to switch to.

  4. I also have one of those automatically adjusting bedside clocks that now has to be reset four times a year. Recently, I changed the setting so it thinks I am not in a DST state. That should make it like an ordinary clock where I only have to change it twice a year. I’m an east coaster so I can’t do Frank’s trick.

    I have two other atomic clocks and neither one of them updated automatically this time.

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