Daylight Saving Busy Work

I always hated busy work in school, and I’m hating it now as I update my home’s various computers for tomorrow’s daylight saving time switch, the one that our ingenious Congress decided to foist upon us.

The goal of the change in DST — it now happens about three weeks earlier in the spring, and lasts a week later in the fall — is to save fuel (and thus money) by giving people more daylight hours to work with. Abstractly, it makes sense. But when you get down to the fine details of actually implementing it, it’s a colossal pain in the ass.

Most computers, especially older computers, assume that the DST starts the first Sunday in April. To teach them other wise, you have to go an manually update them. While I’m sure big corporations and government agencies have systems in place to touch and update most of their computers automatically (by pushing the necessary patches to their employees’ machines), there are still millions of consumer, education, small business and government machines that are blissfully unaware of the change until someone goes and tells them.

All of this is costing us thousands upon thousands of work hours, both at home and at work, as everyone braces for the change. Failure to do so means your clocks will be off by an hour, which means your appointments could be off by an hour, which means maybe you miss a flight, miss an appointment, etc. And that’s just you — now imagine what happens when everyone else gets into the mix … and when that mess comes up against what foreign countries are doing.

Ah, there’s nothing quite like the government for screwing up your day.

So I’m patching. The Macs are fairly straight forward, but as with any update I want to make sure I’ve backed up my data before installing anything. The update on Sue’s Windows machine will be a bit more complicated since it involves Windows itself (an easy patch) and Outlook (also easy … but requiring time consuming backups).

This is not how I wanted to spend my Saturday, which is already filled with dirty laundry needing to be done, a house that must be cleaned, and kids who are alternatively screaming/whining because of colds, new teeth and a general inability to play outside.

Oh well, there is a light at the end of the table — once these myriad chores are done, Jordan and I will be playing a little “good” LEGO Star Wars II, which does a great job of providing relief from life’s doldrums … at least until it’s time to do another load of laundry.