THE BLOG
10/26/2007 01:16 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Daylight Saving Glitch Strikes Again

Last year was easy by comparison, because it was the first year of the new law. This year might be trickier, if you forgot.

The law? What law?

Back in 2005, President George Bush signed the Energy Policy Act which, among other things, extended Daylight Saving Time. Nifty as this was, it also caused some pesky problems - problems that will eventually go away in the long run, but in the short run remain, well...problems.

The problem, you may recall from last year (known as the "Oh, yeah!" moment) is that devices that run on computer chips are all set to automatically change their internal clocks on what they think is Daylight Saving Time. Alas, being computer chips, they don't keep up with the news, and don't know that the legal date of Daylight Saving Time changed. As a result, some of your devices might get all screwed up - four times a year.

"Four times??," I hear you cry. "Why four times?" Well, that would be the day in the Spring when computer chips think it's Daylight Saving Time (but it's not), and then the day a few weeks later when it is Daylight Saving Time (but your computer chips don't know that). And then again in the Fall , when you change back once more. (But your computer chips are out of the loop.)

Which brings us to this weekend.

This weekend is when some of your old computer chips will think it's the end of Daylight Saving Time - but it's not. The last Sunday in October, the 28th. So, some of them might change: your VCR, answering machine, computer, iPod, Blackberry, cell phone and digital...well, digital anything.

The real end of Daylight Saving Time now isn't until the first Sunday in November, the 4th. That's the day your old computer chips won't be changing...but should.

Don't despair, there's hope. Sort of.

For starters, last year many digital devices offered patches to fix the problems. Some automatic. (The Windows operating system, for instance. Or many PVRs, like Tivo.) And some that you had to manually update. (Like Palm information managers and similar small devices.) So, you might be covered for many items.

Also, if you've replaced some of your old digital products in the past year, they likely have new computer chips with the new dates programmed in. Oh, happy day. (Literally.)

Or -- you also can just try the Inertia Method: leave things as they are, and although some of your clocks might be screwy, they'll only be screwy for about a week or two, until the correct date kicks in, and everything will balance out. This works great - unless you actually need a particular clock to be accurate so that you happen to show up at meetings on time or know the right time when people called.

It's not the worst problem in the world. It's just an annoying one that will remain annoying for several years and be even more annoying for people who don't have a clue why so many of their clocks are wrong and get all flummoxed.

But you - you now know! So, you can now become holier-than-thou and calm people when they become bewildered, explaining things properly, and all these people will look at you with new-found awe and admiration, a near Techno God. And all with be well.

Until Congress changes the Daylight Saving Time law again.