Sunday, 31 October 2010

The extra hour that never was

Twice a year I am baffled by the sheer volume of intelligent people who are totally and utterly fazed by the clocks changing. In the UK, the vast majority of the population have coped with this time-related quirk twice a year for their entire lives, so you'd think we'd all be used to it by now.

However, people appear to be becoming increasingly undone by the ritual of putting the clocks back or forward by an hour. I blame one thing for this proliferation of confusion: technology. 

Ten years ago we would have traipsed around our abodes, obediently winding each clock backwards or manually altering our mobile phones before bedtime. Nowadays, mobile phones and clocks - even the ticking variety - cleverly adjust themselves overnight. That's all well and good, but the trouble with this automatic update is that when we wake up the next morning, we have no real clue as to whether the clocks actually *have* adjusted themselves, since we no longer possess the useful recollection of having done it ourselves. This invariably results in people tweeting or updating their Facebook status with the ludicrous - yet necessary - question 'WHAT IS THE TIME?'.

Now I'm a bit of a traditionalist, and have an old-fashioned style watch that I have to wind back myself, which I diligently did last night before bed. However, come 1am I was still awake, and I noticed that my iPhone hadn't altered the time, so I put the clock back an hour myself. I should have realised when various apps started having hissy fits that something wasn't right, but I was too sleepy to care.

So this morning I wake up with the headache from hell. Check iPhone - not even 7am yet. Bliss, I can sleep for another 2 hours at least. WRONG! Turns out my iPhone did indeed adjust itself automatically at some random point in the middle of the night, so the extra hour I thought I had didn't actually exist, as confirmed by a glance at my watch which I *knew* was correct as I had changed it myself. To say I wasn't happy would be an understatement; I felt like time and technology had cheated me out of the extra hour that everyone else in the country was somehow savouring in another dimension. Of-course that's a load of crap, but it was extremely frustrating.

I really don't know how this problem can be solved. Unfortunately, as technology develops and becomes more sophisticated, this issue can only be confounded. Someone I follow on Twitter sensibly suggested that devices should have some kind of polite pop-up message when the clock has changed. Sounds like a good solution to me, although does that carry with it the risk of someone changing all of our timepieces to some kind of ridiculous o'clock as a cruel joke / to bring down the economy???? OK, I'm thinking about this too much now. Time for bed. Or is it....?

1 comment:

Siany said...

I checked my phone at about 3am (I was out having party fun), I had NO IDEA if the clock had gone back. I had to Google the time. Which is a ludicrous thing to do. Why don't they just make us do it ourselves? We're going to check anyway.

I enjoyed the changing the clocks thing. My dad could never remember how to do the video, I always did the microwave, the oven probably didn't change for months. That was a simpler time...