Time zone limbo
Australia is currently in an interesting week for time zones.
Up until a couple of years ago, Daylight Savings finished on the last Sunday in March. That’s when the clocks got put back to Standard Time, as the Australian summer ended. Last year though, this got extended by a week, until the first Sunday in April. A similar change was made in October, changing the start of Daylight Savings from the last weekend of October to the first weekend of October. We now have six months of summer instead of five (although weather-wise, it’s a lot more…)
That’s fine – most people have patched their machines happily, and don’t have a problem. My mobile phone is an old O2 XDA, running Windows Mobile 2003 (I once upgraded to a newer device, but a washing machine had an argument with it and won). Unfortunately, i don’t think there’s a patch for WM2003, and so this week my phone (and hence, my alarms) thinks that I’m an hour out.
It’s fine when I’m in Melbourne or Sydney – I can set the time zone to be Magadan (which is in Russia), and the problem goes away. All good – I don’t really care where my phone thinks I am, just so long as the time is right.
The problem is when I’m in Adelaide… Adelaide which is normally in GMT+0930 (yes, on the half-hour), but this week is still in GMT+1030. According to my mobile device, there is nowhere in the world that is GMT+1030 this week. So instead I’ve had to change my alarms to wake me up half an hour later, whilst I pretend I’m in Siberia. I recently learned that the Russian for “Bless You” (ie, that thing you say when someone sneezes) is “Bud Zdorov” (literally "Be Healthy”, and I apologise for the spelling. ‘Bud’ rhymes with ‘Good’). I’m not sure it’s quite enough to get me through though.
One day I plan to visit Kathmandu, where the time zone is on the quarter-hour. Then I can return to the normality of Adelaide’s half-hour time zone.
I’ve written about the pain of daylight savings before, particularly around the pain of storing datetime fields in a database. Today i read a post from Bart Duncan, recommending the use of datetimeoffset. I thoroughly agree with him, although I wonder how long it will be before people make this a priority.