Monday, November 01, 2010

As time runs out for wristwatches, folks still confused about DST

One of the two times of the year for Americans' internal clock to be screwed up is nearly here. Daylight Savings Time 2010 is about to end, and despite the popularity of smartphones, folks are still asking: when do we turn the clocks back in 2010?

To be honest: it's Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time. Of course, almost no one remembers that, so we won't refer to it as such; this paragraph is just inserted to keep folks honest.

Since 2007, when the U.S. shifted Daylight Savings Time around, the answer to when do we turn the clocks back has been easy to answer; watch for the candy. The answer has been a more mundane "first weekend in November," but much like those who remember their anniversaries because it falls on some holiday, the easiest way to remember is it is the weekend after Halloween.

It is well-known (though naturally, disputed), in fact, that candy makers lobbied for years to have Daylight Savings Time extended past Halloween, in hopes of more candy sales. What they failed to take into account is that most Americans end up with leftovers that end up being taken to work, anyway.

The confusion over when Daylight Savings Time 2010 ends is in itself confusing. A recent survey by the research firm Mintel, found that one out of seven people believe that devices such as cell phones and smartphones have made the wristwatch passe. While 86 percent of those surveyed still wore a wristwatch, many consider their timekeeping device of choice their mobile phone.

The demise of the watch has been forecast for years, as more and more people have access to cell phones. Despite all this, wristwatches are still around; perhaps reports of the "death of wristwatches" remain exaggerated. Let's not forget the relatively recent stream of "atomic watches," which sync with the U.S.' "Atomic Clock" in Colorado.

For those with cell phones, if you have your phone set to sync with your wireless carrier's time and date. Of course, there is the problem that sometimes a bug will crop up in the software, such as recently reported earlier this year by New Zealand iPhone users.

At any rate, whether you use a cell phone, a smartphone, a wristwatch, or a wind-up clock, for Americans, the answer to "when do we turn the clocks back in 2010?" is Nov. 7, 2010 at 2:00 AM, local time. In general (at least, until and unless the U.S. changes things again), it's easy to remember: the weekend after Halloween.

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