Previous 1 2 Next 29 Replies Latest reply: Apr 16, 2009 6:27 AM by Ashan Go to original post
  • Bernard Harte Level 4 Level 4 (3,165 points)
    Sorry - I had assumed that since I had replied to the OP, it was him writing back!
  • GMak Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    AMEN, brother!

    Apple, are you listening? Do you guys every travel outside Cupertino? This feature in iCal is the dumbest, most time-wasting, complicated UNDEPENDABLE and UNNECESSARY feature EVER devised! And it transcends all aspects of iCal, completely ruining the usefulness of iCal. You will always be affected if you ever leave go to another time zone. I continue to carry my PalmPilot (Tungsten T2) as a result of this ridiculous bug. I can't trust it.

    I've used a Palm Pilot since the original one in the mid-90s and have NEVER had a problem with time zones, no matter how many times I change them or even whatever combination I have set on my Palm vs. Desktop. I suggest you buy a Palm download the free software, and see how it's done. Then fix it immediately.
  • eric zimmerman Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    I have the same issue as the original poster. In general, I would like to see events in the time zone where I expect to be on the day they occur. So if I will be in New York on December 20 and I have a lunch meeting there, I want it to show up at noon on my calendar, even if I happen to be in Tokyo today. I find it annoying to see lunch appointments at 2:00 AM or (even worse) on a different date; it makes it difficult for me to form a mental plan of the day in advance. I think iCal's method is designed more to support people who don't travel much but have lots of phone meetings scheduled by people in other time zones; this is a different type of time zone "support" from what a frequent traveler expects.

    The best solution I have seen is in Pimlico's DateBk4/5/6 application for the Palm. Both the event time and the local time are shown, next to each other, for every event that has a non-local time zone. Events always show up on their "home" dates, with an arrow indicating if they are shifted to an earlier or later date in the local time zone. This does have one drawback, though, when showing a phone meeting that is date-shifted: the meeting appears on the calendar page for its date, not yours. However, it's the desired behavior for someone who is actually traveling to the meeting.

    Does anyone know of a Mac desktop calendar client that behaves this way?
  • Andy Boss Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    I just missed my annual dental appointment because I didn't realize that iCal shifted the times when I changed time zones.

    I still use the family dentist that I grew up with and I'm only home for a few days a year. They weren't able to reschedule while I'm here.

    I understand that some nerds appreciate the sort of engineer-think behind this "feature," but I'm solidly in the camp that believes an 11 a.m. appointment is an 11 a.m. appointment, even if I schedule it when I'm in a different city.
  • mcfc68 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    To add to the cacophony of disapproval, I hate iCal for this reason. I work in LA, Chicago, NYC, London and Berlin and the time zone feature is a royal pain in the arse. I just want the time I enter to be the time that appears on iCal. I have a brain, and as a human it's pretty adaptable... so I can figure out the differences. All I want to know is that the time on my wrist watch is the same as the time on my iCal.

    The only workaround is to set every event up as "Floating" BUT there is no way to default to this. It takes a whole bunch of clicks to make a
    "Floating" event happen.

    Come on Apple, throw us a bone. Give us at least a default Floating option, and a Floating option you can set when you create an iCal event direct from your "linked" software like Apple Mail.

    Otherwise I guess the only option is to ditch iCal and go to what I hear Apple employees use... Meeting Maker.
  • GMak Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Sorry, but I don't think this is what people are talking about here….

    Sitting in one place and managing somebody else's time zone is not the issue or a big deal. I do that all the time. If you're on the phone in Seattle and they say "let's have a telecon at 9AM Paris time and you agree, then you better know IN ADVANCE that that means midnight for you... "Time Zone's" in iCal won't help you with that. And all meeting reminders (at least those I get from Entourage and Outlook) come to the recipient in their local time anyway, so that obviates the need to that kind of iCal adjustment.

    The current iCal default configuration would be for people who are CONSTANTLY traveling and therefore every appointment ever made must always be able to show up relative to some other, constantly changing time-zone... That's the ONLY way the current default setting would make any sense.

    Who has that kind of job or need? (At that point, you've got a personal traveling companion who'll take care of that for you....)

    Apple is completely out of touch to think that the DEFAULT ought to be to change every ^#%!@! time in your calendar simply because you changed your current location! (And not being able to switch everything back once you return is an unbelievable waste of time and effort.)

    Moving the time zone needs to be the EXCEPTION to set, not the default.

    Changing one's time zone on one's computer screws up every single other appointment ever made and once it does that, you can only be sure they'll never go back properly if you go back to the original time zone. I agree that that is "insane" and would only makes sense to Alice (while she was in Wonderland.)

    Actually, I would add perhaps most fittingly and accurate, an old WWII term, "FUBAR". Indeed FUBAR, since you can't use iCal when you travel, without incredible machinations and that will only be with extreme risk. What good is a program like that? It is so complex to be setting two different sets of "time zone support" (one on the computer and one on the iPhone) that it defies confident understanding even if it did work, which it doesn’t.

    Right now I'm sitting in Shanghai and I don't dare change my time zone on my computer because -Lord Help Me! - I KNOW it will screw up all of the hundreds of other appointments I have in iCal, but have no idea how but I can be sure they all won't go back to their proper spot once I return back to Seattle. My entire iCal will be permanently screwed up. My dentist appointment when I get back to Seattle may be set at 3AM on a different day. I don't care what day it is, my dentist won't show up at 3AM for me...

    I have used Palm Desktop since the original version, and have NEVER had this problem. Ever. For that reason, I'm still using Palm as a backup to iPhone.

    Too much static cube time. Apple needs to actually use the product in the field while traveling - and then remember that the rest of us aren't programmers- just normal users. The fact that the rants on centered on iCal - not other calendar programs - ought to be a big red flag right there.
  • ClaytonK Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    There clearly seem to be two schools of thought here. The real shame is that there isn't simply a check box in iCal's preferences that allow us to decide which behavior is appropriate for us. I believe that unchecking "Turn on Time Zone Support" should mean that iCal will not change my event times when I change location.
  • Steven Littiebrant Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    The solution is rather simple, and supports the use of time zones, though it should DEFINITELY be more obvious / hints dropped that you should do this, based on the amount of support for this rant:

    Go to the time zone you want the event to be in when you make it, and view it as if you are in the area where it occurs.

    See, if you set an event to occur at noon, but you're in a different time zone than it will occur in, then you +do not+ set it to occur at noon - you set it to occur at the +same time+, which will be however many hours different the two time zones are.

    If you want to see times relative to NY, set your time zone to NY. If you want to see them relative to Midway Island, set your time zone there. +And set the time zone when you make the event in the first place.+

    If they didn't use this model, time zones would be useless. Events that happen at different times, even different days, can and would overlap. That meeting in 8 hours? Apparently it happened two hours ago. BZZZ wrong. It happens in 8 hours, regardless of how many time zones you fly through. Want to see when that is when you're just outside the meeting room? Then act like you're there, and change your time zone. If you have 8 hours, +you have 8 hours+. Go to sleep, the amount of time doesn't change based on your location.
    To make it worse, when making events you would have to do the time zone calculations in your head to make sure they lined up correctly when your computer switches times on you. This is FAR from easier.





    To everyone:
    If you do this (set your time zones based on where you will be), it works out perfectly and automatically, and requires zero guess work, and results in zero incorrect time overlaps. And it actually uses time zones, instead of abusing them.
  • supstill Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    THANK YOU, Scott, for providing a lightning rod for users to discuss this ludicrous situation. Yes, there are counter-arguments that defend the way Apple does it (I find the international-standards-conformity strangely compelling), but they IN NO WAY excuse Apple from 1) discussing and explaining the issue so we can understand what the **** is going on (as opposed to spending hours scratching our heads, dealing with screwed-up calendars, and finally finding our way to these forums), and 2) putting behavior in the hands of the user. WHY ISN'T THIS A PREFERENCE??!!!? Those two failures on Apple's part take the matter from the ludicrous to the inexcusable, I don't care what the standards say. Oh, and a third: where is Apple in this discussion?

    My family is spread across time zones and I book travel for my kids all the time. Sure, I could switch time zones, enter their itinerary and then switch back, but then I want to be able to call them up, check my calendar, and give them their flight times, in the time zone where the flight is, no matter where the flight is. And I want to be sure the time is correct. In the time zone where the flight is. No matter where the flight is.

    There is a solution, beyond making it possible to turn off this behavior. It is for events to be CLEARLY LABELLED with the time zone in which they occur (for both begin and end times, independently), and/or iCal should have a time zone in which events are displayed, CLEARLY AND PROMINENTLY LABELLED as such in the window. Having the "current time zone" buried in System Preferences (again, without documentation or guidance) is not an acceptable alternative.

    Here's where I am now: I am bodily in New Zealand, but my system clock is showing Pacific Standard Time (three hours off) simply because I cannot depend on iCal not to muck with my event timings behind my back. Sound crazy? IT IS! No matter where I go, I can't see the local time on my computer because of the chaos that will ensue. But wait, there's more: thanks to iCal mucking around, many of the birthdays I've entered into Address Book are off plus or minus a day. There's no way to prevent this behavior because there's no indication of time zone when entering birthdays, AND Address Book evidently has an implicit time of the birthday as well. And there's no way to fix it, because (thank you, Apple) I depend on Address Book to record these birthdays. Yeah, I suppose I could canvas all the people (hundreds) in my AB for their correct birthday, but you know what? I shouldn't have to.

    Really, do we have to enumerate the ways in which this behavior violates good human interface design? Visibility. Control. Simple defaults. These are core principles, not namby-pamby niceties!

    To underscore my major point, none of the arguments about how, somehow, this is the right way for the program to work gives Apple the slightest excuse for making it as hard, arcane, poorly documented and horribly error-prone as it is. Shades of Windows, for crying out loud. I have a PhD in computer science and I've been completely blindsided by this. Take the hint, would you, Apple?

    Message was edited by: supstill

    Message was edited by: supstill

    Message was edited by: supstill
  • Steven Littiebrant Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Despite me being one of the ones in favor of iCal's current behavior, you have a very good point in saying that the time zones in which an event are made should be easily visible.
    To that, I completely agree. Not only does it ensure that you use the time zones correctly, but it makes it easier to see, at a glance, where/when things are happening.
  • supstill Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Well, not perfectly, exactly. If I have a plane flight that originates and arrives in different time zones, what do I set my time zone to before entering it? I just want to be able to say "Eastern Standard Time" in the same way I say "AM" or "PM".

    The only sensible solution is to have times (both start and ending time) tagged at entry with the time zone in which they occur. They would be displayed in iCal clearly tagged with their time zone ("9:00 PM EST": ever hear of that, Apple?), with the user able to CHOOSE a different time zone for display across the calendar (or the local time zone). Why it has to be implicit, behind the scenes, dependent on the system clock and undocumented is a pathetic mystery.
  • Alaska Pat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for clarifying. I live in Alaska and it apparently doesn't have a recognized time zone (from Apple's point of view) so I was having problems syncing between desk top and laptop calendars with times changing willy nilly. Now I know why.
  • Steven Littiebrant Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    It's definitely sensible at first glance, but then new problems come into play. Things like arriving before you left because your plane went faster than the time zones, which will again cause events to be entirely incorrect lengths (ie, that flight wasn't -3 hours, and it shouldn't show up as ending before it began, because that doesn't happen no matter what time zone you're in, unless you invent both time travel and modify iCal to recognize it).

    Labels for which time zones: absolutely.
    Labels for start and end time zones: would make display even more confusing than it is now, causing events to be incorrect lengths. See my 8-hour-sleep point for clarification. Sounds good, could even be a setting somewhere, but Apple aims for simplicity and (where required) conformity to make things work together. This would also (to my knowledge) not work with CalDAV protocols, making your calendar appear differently to EVERYONE who doesn't have iCal if you have it mirrored online.
  • Steven Littiebrant Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    There's a time zone for Alaska. Just click near Alaska in the "Other..." menu in the time-zone tool, and it'll select Anchorage.
  • Ashan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    A very interesting concern. One possible option is to take the alternate approach - Turn ON timezone support, and use it. Then all appointments appear in the right place. Still leaves the issue that when you are in New York, your SF appointments appear in NY time, but dble-clicking any of them shows the local time booking. The moving of appointments is helpful for me, when I change location, because even though I may be in NY, I still need to know when I am free anywehere in the world for a phone call. So I am one of the few who might say - iCal is the ONLY program that does have this functionality!!! Google comes close, but does not handle daylight saving as well - iCal just deals with it behind the scenes. So I always know when exactly I am free in any time zone (without changing the time, simply selecting the time zone in iCal) and can schedule events to my hearts content wherever I am, and know that when I change either my handhld or pc to the local time, all appointments appear correctly located in time - if I am busy this hour, I AM busy this hour. Even if you get the time zone wrong, it will still show you the correct tracking of current time, so you know where in the day you are, and what is coming up next, and how long it will be. If you don't travel much, using timezone support will be fairly harmless - the default time zone for new appointments is the local one.
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