Friday, March 31, 2006

don't forget to change your clocks

daylight saving time in the US begins saturday night (sunday morning) at 2am, when it will suddenly and magically become 3am. this is a big deal in indiana because most of the state hasn't changed its clocks since the '60s, and there is surely a significant number of hoosiers out there who have never had to "spring forward" before.

because of this, there has been quite a bit of dst coverage in the indiana media. as is typically the case with dst news, doug has been thorough in covering the latest developments. out of all those posts, this is probably the most important, the one that discusses the technical challenges hoosiers will face as we begin dst for the first time in decades. the biggest problem is computer time zones: most computers in the state are set to the "indiana" time zone (eastern standard without dst), which no longer exists, so the time zone needs to be reset on all these computers. that fix will only take you a minute: what's worse is that all your outlook appointments are stored with time zone info, and those are set to "indiana", which means all your indiana appointments on your outlook calendar will be wrong. [update: wired also has an article about this. see these articles in the microsoft knowledge base about fixing the problem.]

there was also a bit of a problem with the bar scene. hoosiers are proud that their bars stay open until 3am, later than most states. but at 2am saturday night it will suddently become 3am, which should be closing time, taking away the bars' most profitable hour. even worse, this weekend is ncaa final four weekend, hosted here in downtown indy, and if you know anything about the pandemic they call "march madness", you know hoosiers are particularly susceptible to infection. but that's okay... our governor (who is apparently not so popular with basketball fans) came up with a solution: ignore the excise laws and let the bars stay open until 4am. this is technically illegal, but that hasn't stopped the governor before.

when i was in college (in a dst-observing state), i would generally be awake at the 2am witching hour—and often in a non-sober state of mind—and would savor the surreality of the moment, as minutes transformed into hours. "dude... i've been smoking this cigarette for an hour and five minutes!" i still thought changing clocks was a fundamentally silly idea, but my hoosier perspective let me get a kick out of the absurdity of the situation. this year i'll probably be awake at 2 again, but i'm not sure how i'll observe the changing of the clocks this year. it's the end of an era... at least until next year, when the legislature might repeal the dst bill.

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