Gadget Armageddon's Coming!

Ever since I got cable I haven't been able to make my VCR work. Or my DVD player. I have a cell phone the size of a brick that friends beg me to answer quickly to stop the embarrassingly outdated ringing. I decided to ditch my land line and go with Vonage, proudly peppering conversations with the phrase, "voice over Internet protocol" -- that is, after a co-worker explained it to me four times (and emailed three educational articles). So that's how they make my phone ring, even though it's plugged into the computer.

Now CNET (Nasdaq: CNET  ) tells me that in 2007, if I get all my gadgets fully functioning by then, there's a chance that I'll wake up to a bunch of blinking red lights and error messages. Gadget Armageddon is coming!

No problem. I still have bags of leftover votive candles from Y2K.

I can poke fun all I want, but some eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) customers are still smarting about daylight savings 2001, when the company's clocks stayed put instead of springing forward. The glitch ended some auctions prematurely, robbing customers of potential profits from last-minute bidding wars.

"It's Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) fault," said eBay at the time.

Well, this time they can blame the president. Early this week Bush signed a proposed amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that would make daylight-saving time last four weeks longer starting in 2007. This would be the first change to the schedule since 1987. The idea is that the nation will save oodles on energy costs by giving us extra daylight to watch bad reality TV shows when we get home from work.

Most computers will be able to handle timing issues by 2007 (unless you're like me and still using Hal's not-so-distant cousin in a Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) disguise). But we'll have to learn to update those doodads that don't automatically (and magically, I might add) do so on their own. Don't throw away those instruction manuals!

A schedule shift would also force telecommunication and utility companies to be on their toes. Those that charge customers based on time-of-day usage will need to adjust their clocks or beef up call center staffing when that first post-daylight-savings bill is mailed.

I suppose I need to ask someone to show me how to schedule a panic attack in 2007 into my Blackberry. On second thought, I think I'll just pencil it onto my paper calendar.

Having trouble programming your portfolio? Need a hand tinkering around in the stock market? Motley Fool analysts are standing by.

Dayana Yochimrecently retrieved her first-ever text message. She owns none of the companies mentioned above. The Fool'sdisclosure policyis bug-proof.


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