Time Zones, how do they work?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 

Time Zones are a peeve of mine I’ve been trying to get sorted out for years. I’m not alone either, at least one rant has been cross-posted. The gist of the problem is embodied in the following:

You are in California on the phone with someone in Boston planning a phone conference from 10:00-11:30 am for next week at which time you’ll be in London. What time should you set the conference for? Can you do the math? How about if you’re in Phoenix in April? There are 31 time zones and almost all contain some regions that observe and some that do not observe DST. This is the sort of irritating arithmetic my computer should do.

Time zones are actually very easy to handle – and it is also easy to give reminders to people as to what time zone they are in all in one simple modification to the “new appointment” and “new task” dialogs: just add a start and end time zone for each that defaults to the current time zone the computer is in. Why both start and end? Because when you get on a plane you very frequently start in one time zone and end in another and airlines give you takeoff and landing times in the local time zones.

We’re using Zimbra ZCS these days, a pretty nice program, but they handle time zones worse than any modern program I’ve used. Hopefully they’ll fix it to something like this:


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Posted at 12:23:43 GMT-0700

Category: Linuxtechnology

What the Beep?

Thursday, November 20, 2008 

The movie What the bleep do we know is a pseudo-scientific exploration of using quantum mechanics to justify a human potential-like pseudo-religious concept. I have an undergraduate degree in physics from MIT, and so I recognized a lot of the arguments as absurd immediately, but I reached the limits of my depth, particularly on the history of QM in this argument. Most, but not all of the concepts could be easily refuted from an undergraduate understanding such as mine, some seem to require more depth. But the practicing physicists I reviewed my answers with seemed to think they had nothing useful to add to the discussion, in part I suspect out of the still-somewhat-in-vogue idea that the best way to confront anti-scientific ideas is to ignore them, viz the debate over intelligent design (which I think, personally, the flying spaghetti monster settled.)

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Posted at 16:20:28 GMT-0700

Category: filmsNegativereviewstechnology

Brick Lane

Thursday, September 6, 2007 

The last movie we saw at Telluride, in fact at the ATFF, or After Telluride Film Festival, was Brick Lane, a movie about a woman’s ambivalent journey from Bangladesh to London, and her arranged husband’s ambivalent journey back. It is based on a book by Monica Ali.

It is the story of a precocious Bangladeshi woman who has a marriage arranged to an “educated” man living on Brick Lane in London. She arrives there and makes a life for herself, but dreams always of her village life and the fun she had growing up. In time she meets a charismatic young man who turns into a strong community leader as fall out from the World Trade Center bombings makes life even more difficult for the Muslim community. It is overall a well constructed story about the difficulties faced by recent immigrants and their children as they adapt to a foreign and often hostile new home.

2007 Telluride Film Festival

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Posted at 00:00:20 GMT-0700

Category: films