Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

How Daylight Time Change Affects Writers This Year
Or…Have you considered your computer settings?

Writers recognize that Daylight Time and Daylight Savings Time “cancel each other out,” thus we don’t actually lose an hour from our lives when DT kicks in each spring. This year, we have to think about it more than we have in years past, and that makes this particular writer fussy. See, I need every hour I can eek out of every day, so as the consequence of lawmakers’ change in Daylight Time (and Daylight Savings Time) approached, I grumbled. I won’t regale you with my grumbling. Instead, here’s the useful stuff you need to set your clocks right this weekend. Yes! THIS weekend.

This year, Daylight Time begins March 11 instead of the first Sunday in April. And Daylight Savings Time will begin this autumn November 4 instead of the last Sunday in October. (Next year, 2008, it’ll be March 9 and November 2.) Why? Legislators passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub. L. no. 109-58, 119 Stat 594) in ’05 to help us conserve more energy. This is a laudable goal, and I applaud it. But, oh man, we writers with day-jobs need all the hours we can get! I AM losing an hour this weekend. Rar!

Besides cutting into your writing time the weekend of March 10 to 11, Daylight Time will pose a problem for your computer clock, PDA, cell phone, etc. And here’s where this information could be a useful reminder for you.

See, my settings have always been such that my PCs automatically spring forward at 2 a.m. the first Sunday in April and fall back at 2 a.m. the last Sunday in October. I’ve always put smart hamsters in those wheels. But this year the hamsters get a new challenge. Did the folks who built my computer in winter ’06 know about the Energy Policy Act of 2005? Chances are good. Will my “Adjust for Daylight Savings Time” feature kick in Sunday but not again April 1? It’ll be a good practical joke for those cute little hamsters to play on me, eh?

For those of you with computers built behind that curve, you can buy software (ooh, Capitalism at its finest – the conspiracy theorists should be on top of this) to make your life easier. Or you can reset your computer’s clock when you get up Sunday morning. (And you might want to check it April 1 to be sure it doesn’t automatically change on ya.)

Call me old-fashioned for going “manual”.
It’s the dragon in me.

Or! You can go into Outlook Express, click on the tools menu, go to updates, and download the patches Microsoft has for letting your computer update the clock automatically. That’s a lot of effort, too. For people on networks, it’s imperative, because those networked computers won’t talk to each other (interface) if the clocks are more than five minutes off. But I’m a single author on a single computer at home. I’m not overly concerned. I’m going to do what takes the least time away from writing and editing this weekend.

In good news, there are no time changes in Choices Meant for Gods. Chariss doesn’t have to rail at Master Rothahn for reminding her of the loss of an hour of sleep or training time. No one passes a bill dictating when to light the lanterns in Arcana.

“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”

Tags: Daylight Savings Time, Daylight Time, Energy Policy Act, Choices Meant for Gods, writing,

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