[tz] [PATCH 0/5] Standardize zone table comments format

Brian Inglis Brian.Inglis at systematicsw.ab.ca
Tue Feb 23 20:36:33 UTC 2016

On 2016-02-21 15:25, J William Piggott wrote:
> On 02/21/2016 03:26 PM, Tim Parenti wrote:
>> On 20 February 2016 at 17:01, J William Piggott <elseifthen at gmx.com> wrote:
>>> These ambiguities make it impossible to interpret the comments without
>>> having prior knowledge of the area.
>> It's not clear to me that resolving this is actually a necessity or a
>> priority.
> The work is done. Accepting the changes need not be necessity
> nor priority, just an improvement.
>> Presumably those selecting a zone are familiar with the
>> geography of the region(s) they are interested in.
> Why should that be presumed? Even making that assumption, it is still
> ambiguous to write the same information in many different formats. As I
> mentioned, it facilitates other improvements as well. For example,
> having time zone select applications' menus all begin in uppercase (as
> opposed to mixed case as they are now).

Some scenarios I could imagine being frequent use cases are:
- setting up local reservation caching servers or POS servers at (or at some
outsourcing vendor location on behalf of) some corp HQ or regional office for
shipment to local hotels in faraway places;
- VARs setting up turnkey astrology systems for shipment to individuals' offices
at popular travel destinations;
- users assembling small systems to run popular freeware to perform a limited
range of tasks;
all without much relevant background in time zones.

Depending on the time zone history in their region (cough! Indiana) it may be a
non-trivial guessing game to pick the reference location relevant to a zone.
A bit more structure and clarity will certainly help those support staff or end
users unfamiliar with the geography or zones.
I do think that it may be okay to keep abbreviations like N/S/E/W/... and PEI
rather than Prince Edward Island in the descriptions without loss of clarity or

[Set up a Houston flight recently in the Lightning calendar addon for Thunderbird
(using their user *UN*friendly pick list of all ~400 time zone paths - tzselect
is rocket science by comparison!) and it took me a couple of picks before I
remembered Chicago was the CT reference location for the US. The GUI helpfully
renders the zone picked in light blue over a credit card sized world map of the
land mass outlines.
Until after I had dug around a bit more, I also found that I did not know that
Winnipeg was the CT reference location for Canada.
This provides at least some anecdotal indication that if you have not previously
had to pick a location to select a particular time zone, lack of: a good interface,
specific data, and practice, are all impediments.]

Take care. Thanks, Brian Inglis, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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