Sunday, March 26, 2006

Spring Ahead for the First Time

This coming Sunday, April 2, at 2:00 AM, people in Edinburgh and across most of Indiana will have to do something they haven’t had to do in more than three decades. They will have to spring ahead – move their clocks up one hour in observance of daylight saving time.

So that means 2:00 AM will actually be 3:00 AM. And if you are one of the unlucky ones who have to get up early for work on Sunday morning, you’ll be losing an hour of sleep, unless you remember to go to bed an hour earlier on Saturday night.

I was one of the proponents of changing all of Indiana to daylight saving time. It makes a lot of economic sense, and it means much less confusion for those who travel, communicate, or send freight across state lines.

It also means there should be less TV schedule confusion. Cable shows will remain at the same time all year, just like local and network shows. It also means there will be no more need to tape delay network broadcasts in the summer.

Of course, the major advantage for most people is that they will get an extra hour of daylight in the evening. Fourth of July fireworks probably won’t begin until 10:00 PM, because it won’t be completely dark until then.

But there will also be some minor annoyances, at least until we get used to them.

The most obvious annoyance is that we’ll have to remember to move our clocks twice a year. We’ll have to spring ahead and fall back.

For the manually-set clocks, it will mean taking them down off the wall and moving the hand around to the next hour before you go to bed Saturday night. Some digital clocks might be easier to reset. And the newer ones might do it for you.

New digital clocks detect the time of day through digital signals that come in through the power lines. If you have them set to observe daylight saving time, you probably won’t have to do anything to them.

The same is true of your computer, assuming you have already set it for the Eastern Time zone and set it to observe the daylight saving time switch. If not, you should do that now.

Just double click on the time in the lower right corner of your screen (assuming you have a Windows operating system). Then click on the Time Zone tab at the top of the window that pops up. Select Eastern Time from the drop down menu, not Indiana Time. Then put a check mark in the box on the bottom left that says “automatically adjust clock for daylight time changes.” And you’re done.

Failure to adjust your clocka, especially in the spring when we have to set them ahead, might make you late for whatever you have planned this Sunday. Or, assuming you can get through the day without noticing all your clocks are behind an hour, you will be late for work on Monday morning.

In the fall, it’s not so bad. If you forget, you’ll just be an hour early for work. But if you remember, you’ll be treated to that extra hour of precious sleep that you will be denied this coming Sunday.

What standard time giveth, daylight saving time taketh away.

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