At one minute past 1:59 am on Sunday morning, our clocks “sprang forward” to 3:00, to usher in Daylight saving time (DST). When I woke up later that morning, I was pleased to see how many of my household clocks had already followed the time change and were on the correct time. These included the time readouts on my land-line phones (to say nothing of my cell), my cable boxes, my Nest thermostat, and even my “Radio Controlled” La Crosse Technology wall clock.
Sadly, there were still some devices that needed a more “hands-on” approach to catch up. This is the story of those stragglers.
Printer: HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw
The only reason this device even needs a clock is for its fax function. Admittedly, that is the least-used aspect of this printer in my home office, but that doesn’t mean it should be incorrect! As I describe below, some of the devices I had to change make it as simple as switching the “DST” setting to “on.” This printer had no such option; it simply required a manual entry of the correct date and time. It’s an eight-step procedure. (Following for each device is the text directly from the manufacturer’s online manual):
1. From the Home screen, touch the Setup button.
2. Touch the Fax Setup menu.
3. Touch the Basic Setup menu.
4. Scroll to and touch the Time/Date button.
5. Select the 12-hour clock or 24-hour clock.
6. Use the keypad to enter the current time, and then touch the OK button.
7. Select the date format.
8. Use the keypad to enter the current date, and then touch the OK button.
It’s tedious, but there is hope. HP has, in the past, included in some of their printers the option to synchronize with a network time server, using NTP (Network Time Protocol). When it’s time to shop for a new printer, I’ll include NTP support among my list of “must-haves” (or at least, “would-be-nices”). Until then, it’s those eight steps above, twice a year.
Game System: Sony PlayStation 3
The oldest “connected” device in my home entertainment setup, the PS3 gets much of its functionality from its wifi connection, and this includes the time. Indeed, the PS3’s Settings menu does include the option to “Set Automatically” its internal clock; but strangely, the option for DST is a manual “Standard” or “Daylight Saving” choice. So, just like my HP printer, this is an update I have to do twice a year, when I switch from Standard to DST and back again.
According to its online manual, the PlayStation 4, on the other hand, has included automatic “spring forward” functionality:
Adjust Daylight Saving Automatically
Your PS4™ system automatically adjusts for daylight saving time. To disable this feature, clear the checkbox for [Adjust Daylight Saving Automatically].
This setting is available only if the region set under [Time Zone] is one that implements daylight saving time.
And for those of you wondering why I haven’t upgraded to a PS4 yet, stand by for a future blog post on that topic. But for now, moving on to another Sony device…
Television: Sony XBR-55X850B
Here, the option to access time settings was in the “Preferences” menu on its Home screen. From there, I had to select “Clock/Timers,” then “Current Time.” I have my set configured to automatically acquire the current time over its wifi connection; but again, I must manually change DST from “Off” to “On.” It’s a bizarre quirk that I must attribute to the older TV interface this time. Shortly after I got my TV, Sony switched to the Android interface, and today’s equivalent to my model now features full “Automatic date & time” setting.
Game System: Nintendo Wii U
Not even acknowledging the existence of DST, Nintendo’s previous flagship console has a procedure reminiscent of that HP printer I opened with—if even a little longer!
The Calendar screen allows you to change the Wii console’s date and time settings. The time is in military time (a 24 hour clock) and does not automatically adjust for Daylight Saving time.
To make a selection, point to the desired option and press the A Button.
What to Do:
Select the Wii button from the Wii Menu.
Select “Wii Settings.”
Next, select “Calendar.”
How to Adjust the Date:
Select the up or down arrows that correspond with the month, date, and year to adjust each setting.
Depending on the language the system is set to, the date format may be different. Check the List
Select Confirm to save any changes.
How to Adjust the Time:
Select the up or down arrows that correspond with the hours and minutes to adjust each setting.
The Wii console uses a 24 hour clock (military time). For example 1:00 p.m. is displayed as 13:00.
Select Confirm to save any changes.
So once again, despite the console being connected to the internet, no NTP or automatic DST setting is offered. This is just one more way in which the Wii U’s successor, the Switch, is an improvement: when I turned on my Switch Sunday morning, I saw that it had updated its clock to DST either while asleep, or immediately upon waking. Well done, Nintendo. It’s about time (heh).
Leaving my office and my living room, I was confronted with those clocks not connected to internet-enabled devices: namely, my gas range, my microwave, and two clocks in my bathroom.
Gas Range: Frigidaire FFGF3011LWC
Okay, this one is pretty straightforward.
To set the clock:
1. Press clock once (do not hold key pad down).
2. Within 5 seconds, press and hold the ⌃ or ⌵ until the correct time of day appears in the display.
And that’s it. So it’s a two-step procedure twice a year. But isn’t this the age of the “Connected Home?” The “Internet of Things?” Shouldn’t there be ovens that go online at this point, and download their time from the internet?
Actually, we’re getting there.
General Electric is leading the “smart oven” wave. According to their website:
WHEN THE REMOTE ENABLE BUTTON IS ENGAGED ON WIFI-CONNECT OVENS, YOU CAN USE YOUR SMART PHONE FOR THE FOLLOWING:
• Preheat your oven remotely by turning it on from the App
• Get notifications when preheated, when Timer finishes, or when meat probe* reaches temperature
• Determine time remaining
• Monitor and change the oven temperature
• Turn off your oven
• Adjust your oven control – Set Clock, Tone Volume, Sabbath Mode, and more
Here’s GE’s promo video showing the app in action:
Strictly speaking, they’re not saying if the oven can set its own time; or if you just have the option to do it from your phone, as opposed to the control panel on the oven itself.
Not to be outdone, I had to see if there were similar advancements in microwaves.
Microwave Oven: Panasonic NN-SN661S
My microwave is actually the newest kitchen gadget in my home, but it’s still pretty “dumb.” The clock-setting procedure takes three steps.
Setting the Clock
Example: To set 11:25 a.m. or p.m.
- Press timer/clock twice. Colon flashes.
- Enter time of day using the number pads. Time appears in the display window; colon continues flashing.
- Press timer/clock once. Colon stops fashing; time of day is entered.
From what I could find on their website, GE has not added microwave ovens to their “GE WiFi Connect” family yet (nor may they ever, given how microwaves can interfere with wifi signals).
Indeed, none of the big appliance makers is currently offering an internet-connected microwave, and the closest I could even find was a bizarre 2015 Kickstarter page for the “MAID” oven:
So this one may be stuck in the old-fashioned time changing method for now (or even forever). But it raises an interesting question: other than the cooking timer, why does one even need a clock on the microwave in the first place?
In the bathroom, I have two clocks: one facing my mirror, and one in the shower on my radio.
“Mirror Clock”: Martek Nurdanian Clock
This “backwards clock” lets me see the time in my reflection, displayed correctly due to the inverted numbers and retrograde motion. This is a novelty item, and it doesn’t look like La Cross is planning to make a radio-updated version. But there are interesting moves in the world of mirrors with smart clocks built right in.
While there are indeed commercially-available mirrors with integrated clocks (see above), none of them appears to have native internet connectivity, so they’re no more convenient to set than my cute plastic clock.
Dutch engineer Michael Teeuw built his own “Magic Mirror” with a Raspberry Pi DIY kit; but the work involved is a far greater headache than spinning the hands of an analog clock ahead or behind one hour, depending on the time of year.
Finally, my shower radio clock:
Shower Radio: Sangean H201
This one took seven steps.
- The clock will start running when the batteries are installed or when the radio is connected to the mains supply. The display will show ” – : – – “
- The time can be set with your radio switched off or on.
- Press and hold down the Time Set button for approx. 2 seconds until the hours digits flash in the display with a beep.
- Press the Tuning Up/Down buttons to set the required hour.
- Press the Time Set button, the minute digits will ash in the display.
- Press the Tuning Up/Down buttons to set the required minute.
- Press the Time Set button to complete time setting. The second will start to count.
From what I could find, even the “smartest” waterproof radios and bluetooth speakers draw the line at automatic time adjustment. Oh, well. I like to run my shower radio a bit fast anyway, so I don’t linger under the water.
So in the final analysis, if I really wanted to, I could upgrade several of my appliances and electronics to save the hassle of having to re-set their clocks twice a year. And honestly, I’m considering it!
I admit it; I’m spoiled. But then, perhaps I’m just cranky because I missed an hour of sleep. If only there were a a gadget to fix that… ■