Scott Hanselman

Got clocks?

November 6, '11 Comments [34] Posted in Musings
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"Spring forward, fall back"
- The Idiot who invented Daylight Savings Time.

It's time to switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. I tweeted earlier that I'd gone around the house and updated, by rough count, 18 clocks. Then, I got a bunch of responses like "I've only got one," or "All mine are automatic," or "18 clocks, you're insane."

Turns out the real number is WAY more than 18. I didn't realize.

So, this is for all you folks with your microwave flashing 12:00. I decided to take a moment and really list out all the devices in my house that know the time, separating them by the ones I need to update myself and the ones that automatically update themselves. I realize I could NOT update 50% of them, if not more, and I realize I have a number of gadgets.

Fine, I like clocks. More perhaps than I realized. That said, I really only need the time right on the wristwatch I'm wearing at the time. For you young people, a wrist watch is a non-internet connected device worn often with a leather or metal strap that allowed you to glance as your arm and know the time. It did NOT have Siri, nor did it run Opera Mobile.

Most of these "don't matter" but it was the sheer number of time-keeping devices, both direct and indirect, that surprised me.

binaryclock Clocks I need to change manually

  • Six cheap wall clocks. In bedrooms, bathrooms, playroom.
  • Five clock radios. Bedrooms, guest room.
  • Stove
  • Microwave above stove
  • Insulin Pump
  • Two Blood Glucose Meters
  • Cool Digital Binary Clock on my desk (at right)
  • Two car radios with clocks
  • Zoom H4N Recorder (for my podcast)
  • Casio S95 Digital Camera
  • Canon SLR Digital Camera
  • Cordless Phone Base (3 satellite phones)
  • Nine wrist-watches (I collect watches)
  • Rainbird Water Timer

Clocks that are automatically updated

Of course, many of these are random Craigslist tech, but even if you remove those, you've still got a lot of things keeping time around the house. 

I bet you have more things in your life that care about the time than you think. How did we survive the Year 2000 again? Oh, none of these clocks matter, that's right.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Sunday, November 06, 2011 6:08:51 AM UTC
Hmmm

Watch
2 Mobile Phones
Desktop Computer
Laptop

My list is easy :D
Sunday, November 06, 2011 6:28:14 AM UTC
Fun fact - while most people (at least in my experience) use the 'savings' version of the term, the correct term is actually 'saving'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time

I'm jealous of my friends in the UK that get to call it 'summer time' - I'd hate the practice slightly less if that was the common usage here in the United States. :)
Sunday, November 06, 2011 6:44:42 AM UTC
Six cheap wall clocks. In bedrooms, bathrooms, playroom.- no clocks like this
Five clock radios. Bedrooms, guest room. - no clocks
Stove - gas stove, no clock
Microwave above stove - yes
Insulin Pump - no
Two Blood Glucose Meters - no
Cool Digital Binary Clock on my desk (at right) - no
Two car radios with clocks - I ride a bicycle, but do have a speedo/computer that needs to be set
Zoom H4N Recorder (for my podcast) - no

Sunday, November 06, 2011 6:58:51 AM UTC
and where I live, doesn't have daylight savings.
Sunday, November 06, 2011 7:20:14 AM UTC
I look forward to the day we can be rid of the silly practice of DST. Tomorrow we gain an hour, except we don't because our body clocks have no clue what happened. Rather I get to fight my sleep schedule for a week to get it back in line.

Quick count walking around the house shows us at 9 manual clocks and 16 that automatically update.
Sunday, November 06, 2011 7:46:51 AM UTC
Most of my manual clocks are now wrong, if they were even right in the first place, with us having been back in GMT for a week now. This is partly laziness, partly wishful thinking. I personally feel that the clocks go the wrong way in winter, robbing us of evening sun. It's a bit depressing to wake up and go to work, only to find it dark when you get home. Much better to go to work in the dark and get home with an hour or two of light left! They say the Scotts wouldn't like it - if I were Scottish I'd be begging for at least triple summer time in winter!
Sunday, November 06, 2011 7:52:54 AM UTC
No digital cameras?

I also have to do my heating system and a couple of car clocks, including a TomTom weirdly enough.

I've found it useful to keep a list that includes *how* to change the clocks too. Some things don't make it easy.
Sunday, November 06, 2011 8:03:02 AM UTC
Crap! I have a few digital cameras AND a GPS! I'll update the list. ;)
Scott Hanselman
Sunday, November 06, 2011 8:31:40 AM UTC
I expected my GPS to be automatic but it wasn't. I mean, it only knows exactly which time zone it's in and talks to multiple satellites containing accurate clocks!
Sunday, November 06, 2011 8:31:44 AM UTC
I expected my GPS to be automatic but it wasn't. I mean, it only knows exactly which time zone it's in and talks to multiple satellites containing accurate clocks!
Sunday, November 06, 2011 8:42:36 AM UTC
Arg. Let's see... Currently in my house...

To reset manually:
Three alarm clocks -- one of which automatically adjusts for Daylight Savings, but was built before the U.S. government changed the Daylight Savings dates a few years ago, so it now does so incorrectly and has to be reset four times a year
Two bathroom clocks
One Timex Expedition wristwatch
One digital wall clock
One Nook e-reader (not 3G-connected)
Two digital cameras
One coffee maker
One microwave
One oven
Two car clocks
...and I'm probably forgetting something...

Automatically resetting:
Three cell phones (an iPhone 3GS, a BlackBerry 9700, and a Pantech Laser)
Panasonic cordless phone set (base + three extensions)
Three computers
One BlackBerry PlayBook tablet
Two cable boxes
One Actiontec FiOS/WiFi router

Nowhere near as impressive (depressing?) as Scott's list, but enough to be rather annoying twice a year.

Welcome to Disoriented Schedule Time.
Sunday, November 06, 2011 8:44:11 AM UTC
All of you wrist-watches updated automatically?

I'd be interested in knowing the watches you have, being a fan of watches myself. I only have around 6 though...
Darren
Sunday, November 06, 2011 9:16:26 AM UTC
Your wristwatch isn't connected to the internet? You need one of these to rectify that immediately: http://live.imwatch.it/
Sunday, November 06, 2011 9:40:12 AM UTC
Any clock that makes a ticking sound is banned in my house. I have no idea how people put up with those - it's worse than water torture to me.

On topic, I have 3 clocks that needed manually changing last weekend (anyone know why North America is a week behind the rest of the world btw?) - the oven, microwave and central heating timer. All other clocks (phones, computers, blu-ray, alarm clocks, car) set themselves.
TickTock
Sunday, November 06, 2011 10:25:24 AM UTC
I noticed you mention digital cameras. I used to change the time in my digital cameras until a couple of years ago I decided they should just use UTC.

Not only don't I have to "spring forward and fall back" twice year, but now when I travel, time stamps on my photos make so much more sense :)
Sunday, November 06, 2011 12:03:32 PM UTC
Scott's office Communicator/Oovoo nickname on Monday.... Emmett
Sunday, November 06, 2011 3:57:04 PM UTC
Move to AZ, none of that to worry about. Though this time of year you need to remind everyone else that meetings and such are now an hour later/earlier.
Sunday, November 06, 2011 5:04:40 PM UTC
There's a lot of hate directed at DST. Thing is, it put's a lot of people walking to school on a plowed street in the light, rather than in the dark. I was one of them.
Monday, November 07, 2011 3:03:26 AM UTC
Really, really, really wish DST would die.

Not only is it a PITA to deal with in code, but Congress can't seem to leave well enough alone and continues to tweak the dates, most recently in 2007. One result is that my wife's bedside clock radio, which has DST adjustment built-in (and not updateable), is now wrong for 4 weeks a year, unless I manually update it.

While there was probably a certain lack of foresight in building DST into a clock with no way to update it, the constant need by public officials to micromanage such things is at the root of our pain.

The Wikipedia article on DST is illuminating, particularly in the origins, which appear to be primarily about a New Zealander who wanted more time in the afternoon to study insects. So I suppose you could say that his love for bugs ultimately resulted in yours.
Monday, November 07, 2011 5:16:01 AM UTC
Your nine wrist-watches all update automatically?
Leonid
Monday, November 07, 2011 3:33:05 PM UTC
Many modern digital watches can sinchronize automatically from a long-wave radio source, like DCF77 in Germany (or one of the BCD emitters in US)..
The only problem is when you are far away from a transmiter (like over 2.000km in Europe) and the signal is to weak during some days.
So - no need for Internet just to sinchronize the lock.. ;)
Tudor
Monday, November 07, 2011 4:11:02 PM UTC
I don't have to update anything. I live in AZ. :-D There is the occasional screw up by Verizon though where they update the phone's automatically then realize they weren't supposed to for AZ and change it back. There's usually a 6-12 hour period where my phone time is off because of that.
Monday, November 07, 2011 4:11:24 PM UTC
I don't have to update anything. I live in AZ. :-D There is the occasional screw up by Verizon though where they update the phone's automatically then realize they weren't supposed to for AZ and change it back. There's usually a 6-12 hour period where my phone time is off because of that.
Monday, November 07, 2011 4:29:48 PM UTC
Cooker clock (stove to US readers)
Cheap Ikea analogue clock in living room
Analogue alarm clock in bedroom
Bedroom stereo
Car clock
Digital camera

I think that's it. Everything else changed automatically.

The fact that Russia has decided not to move to DST this year caused us a few issues at work...
Monday, November 07, 2011 5:49:45 PM UTC
I only have one clock that doesn't set itself, that being a geeky nixie-tube clock I built from a kit.
Monday, November 07, 2011 6:00:42 PM UTC
Crazy amount of timekeeping devices there, Scott.

How did we survive the Year 2000 again? Oh, none of these clocks matter, that's right.


Good to know someone else feels a small bit of cinicism about it too... short of getting to work on time and keeping a few important arrangements, what's with all the timestamping?
Monday, November 07, 2011 7:28:13 PM UTC
Alarm clock - automatic
Cell phones - automatic
PCs - automatic
Tablet - automatic
DVRs - automatic (showed my kids the 2 1 o'clocks; they thought that was cool)
DVD Recorder - automatic
Thermostat - automatic (I think, I should check it)
Stove - manual
Microwave above stove - manual
Other microwave - manual
Cars - manual (despite mine having a built-in GPS, but I had to turn off DST because it was on the wrong day without another way to fix it)

So, basically, I just go to the kitchen and garage and I'm all set.
Monday, November 07, 2011 8:14:30 PM UTC
How's that saying go?! "A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with 52 watches is never sure."
Monday, November 07, 2011 9:45:47 PM UTC
I have a very helpful alarm clock that automatically switches for DST. Unfortunately, it switched last weekend.
Matt T.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011 9:41:26 AM UTC
Scott, did you know that once in Iran Ahmadinejad didn't let people change their clock, due to the philosophy that time shouldn't change? That was a mess, you should see that.

OK, almost all software world gets updated automatically. But I see updating clocks manually a vintage classical action with comforting effects. I don't know, maybe because it reminds me of childhood.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011 6:50:30 PM UTC
Scott - you mentioned about running Android on the TouchPad, can you please share which version you used and is it stable enough?
Wednesday, November 09, 2011 7:46:22 PM UTC
Askar - I'm using CyanogenMod. It's fun to play with, maybe 90% stable.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011 7:48:51 PM UTC
Thanks for your quick response Scott; super exciting :) Will try the same over the weekend and would report back. Thanks again.
Thursday, November 10, 2011 8:17:11 PM UTC
As a couple of earlier posters stated similarly, my solution was to move back to Arizona.

Amusingly, I have three "self-set" clocks that have neither a "no DST" setting nor know when DST starts or ends since the specifcation changed a few years ago, so I have to change those at the "old" change dates, (I had to change them twice around each DST change the last few years at my previous address). I have a Logitech Harmony 880 remote that is just never right, probably having something more to do with having not updated the firmware in a few years than anything else.

My time measuring devices stumble sometimes for upwards of an hour when I travel, but DST? NO PROBLEM! :D
Brian Schnackel
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.