Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Persistence of Memory

So the department I work in does all sorts of odd jobs around the factory. Yesterday was resetting the clocks to account for leaving Daylight Savings time. Most of the clocks can be manually set, and that's no biggie. Several of the wall clocks are, however, fancy digital models that get the time wirelessly.

I'm told that in previous years my boss or others would struggle for up to a week, setting the clocks manually only to have them reset themselves digitally during the night.

The controls on the back are extremely non-informative. There is "Set," which does nothing if you press it briefly. "Wave," which also does nothing unless you hold it in for several seconds, at which point the clock advances to 12:00 and stays there. A "DST" switch and another switch marked "A, E, C, M, P." Well, that one is pretty obvious; that would be the US time zone.

On the company website, the instruction for dealing with Daylight Savings is both simple and opaque. "Hold the clock facing Fort Collins, Colorado, and wait for it to update automatically. It may take several hours."

This...this is not radio as I understand it. We're in California; Fort Collins is significantly below the horizon, and I doubt the Atomic Clock is using LORAN, either. The idea of the clock trying and failing over and over to achieve a tenuous connection long enough to update, an attempt so difficult it may take it several days, is at the very least sort of chilling, and most definitely rather ridiculous.

So I popped the clocks off the walls, rebooted them, stuck them on a dolly and took them to lunch with me out on the loading dock where they could see the sky. When prodded, they faithfully went into "waiting for signal mode," twitched for a while, and finally gave up. So then I set them manually, flipped the "DST" switch that neither my boss nor my bosses' boss seem to have thought useful to flip, and as of today they haven't chosen to reset themselves.

We gave one clock a better chance; set it up in a loading bay facing the local microwave and cell phone-festooned water tower. And the sun came out while the clock was there. And the clock melted.

Not the whole thing...the face bubbled up so badly it blocked the hands from moving. No ants, either.

No comments:

Post a Comment