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I admit it, I’m a lurker



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March 16, 2006 5:14 pm

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I need to ‘fess up and admit to being a lurker – where? On the NGW List.  And why am I admitting to it now (this feel somewhat like admitting that those magazines were, in fact, mine and not from the Vicars’ son)?  Because there was a post today about Timezones, again.

Yes, parts of Indiana are now going to observe DST, where they did not before and yes, that breaks stuff.  What do I advise you to do? Nothing.  Let me explain the conundrum.  Imagine that last year someone sent out an appointment for 10am April 5 2006 in Indiana.  At that time their workstation did not know about the whole DST thing going on.  To store the appointment in GW the client takes the appointment time, subtracts the GMT offset (-8?) and subtracts the DST Bias (0).  The time stored in GW would be 5pm.  Sometime later you update your workstation TZ with the DST information.  Now what happens to the appointment is we take the stored time, which is called UTC (5pm), we add the GMT offset (-8) and add the DST Bias (1) – the appointment has moved to 11am.

‘No problem’ you think, I’ll just get out the appointment time adjuster and change the time.  Wrong.  The problem now is that you have appointments in the PO that have both the correct UTC stored, and the incorrect UTC and GW has no way of knowing which one is which, and the appointment time adjuster just changes them all.

Really, all that you can do is send a notice for people to reschedule their appointments that are in the affected times – in Indiana’s case, this is unfortunately anything between April and October.  In those places where it only shifts a week, then only appointments in that week are affected.  You shouldn’t do this until the workstations have been updated though.

Now my head hurts and I am going to sign off.  I’ll revisit it again, if anyone finds this useful?

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2 Comments

  1. I somewhat disagree with your analysis here. I believe there is a situation when the appointment time adjuster can be used effectively to correct appointment times for the Indiana DST change. In my case ALL client computers, webaccess, and all servers are in the Indiana Time Zone. If I update the time Zones on the servers, workstations, and PO to reflect DST ALL of the appointments between April 2 through Oct 29 will be on hour late. This means I do not have to figure out which appointments are right vs. which are wrong because ALL of them are wrong. So I feel to minimize the work my users have to do, why not adjust the appointment times for them. Then they will be stored correctly and my users, who are Attorney’s, will not have to do a bunch of work. Now this does not preempt a backup plan which we also have. We have instructed the users to print their calendar and to also put the scheduled appointment time in the appointment subject.

    This I believe is only type of case that lends itself nicely for the Appt Time adjuster. Other more complex cases involving multiple offices with multiple Time zones perhaps may approach the problem differently because of the different possible sending time zones involved. In this case it may make more sense to have the users adjust the times manually because an administrator would have a difficult time specifically updating the proper appointments with the proper time zone offset. This echos what you say when you don’t know which are the correct UTC appointment times vs. the non correct UTC appt times.

    So to recap I believe the Appointment time adjuster can be used effectively to help small shops adjust users appointments to reflect the DST change, but a backup plan is needed to avoid confusion and doubt.

  2. By:Alex Evans

    Hi Skip – sorry about the delayed reply. You are right, this is the only time that you can be sure about the accuracy of the appointment time adjuster.

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