Holy cow, I wrote a book!
This weekend marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time
in most parts of the United States,
the first year under the new transition rules in the
Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Pay extra attention to your clocks this weekend.
If you have a device that automatically adjusts for Daylight Saving Time,
and it hasn't been updated for the new transition rules,
you may end up having to adjust your clock four times
Okay, that's the end of the public service announcement.
I try to commemorate the Daylight Saving Time transition days
by writing about time zones,
and this time, it's about those time zones whose displacement
from UTC is not a perfect hour multiple.
Some years ago, I was involved in a discussion over an issue that
was affected by time zones.
In particular, the feature in question organized its data by hour,
and since the raw data format was UTC, the items were grouped
by hour UTC.
This works great for time zones that are an integral number of
hours from GMT, but if you're in a time zone that is not,
then the grouping will come out weird.
The program manager for the feature dismissed my concerns.
"You're talking about those oddball time zones that are like 3½ hours
I say, tough for them.
We should be optimizing for the major markets, not the fringe cases."
"Um," I replied.
"One of those so-called fringe cases happens to be
the second most populous country in the world."
Microsoft has already run into
trouble with time zones and India.
I suggested that we probably shouldn't upset them a second time.
(We also saw earlier that
India doesn't group digits in threes.)