Timezone incorrect on new.lds.org calendar

Discussions about the Calendar Tool at lds.org. Questions about the calendar on the classic site should be posted in the LUWS forum.
noliver
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Timezone incorrect on new.lds.org calendar

Postby noliver » Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:34 am

I've been contacted by a number of people within our ward indicating that the timezones for events on the calendar are wrong. I recently performed the migration from the old calendar to the new one, and when I did this all the times looked correct on my calendar (Eastern GMT-5), but at the time I was in Utah on vacation, so I figured the issue was with the individual's computers. When I returned home, and updated the timezone within my computer's preferences now the calendar is all screwed up.

Within Chrome, the times are shown as +7 from where they should actually be, however within firefox they are now shown +2 from their actual time. If I change my machine's timezone back to mountain, everything looks fine again within firefox, but chrome is still WAY off.

Is there a setting within the new unit website where an individual member can change their timezone? Or an even better way seems as though it would be to always show the unit calendar based on the timezone where the unit resides, and make no adjustment based on the individual machine's timezone.

Hopefully someone can help :)

-Nick

noliver
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Response from Local Unit Support

Postby noliver » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:08 am

There was a bug regarding the importing time zone. It's been fixed, but it won't fix things already imported. You would have to delete your calendar and import it again. We apologize for the inconvenience.


I went ahead and deleted all of the calendars and re-imported and they seem to have the proper time now.

tomjohnson1492-p40
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Postby tomjohnson1492-p40 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:08 am

Interesting. So the time zone settings on your computer play a part in the issue? This is something one of the QA people thinks too. I wonder if people who experience issues -- who are in the right time zones -- need to run Windows update to get the latest time zone fixes from Microsoft.

paulw
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Timezone still broken IMO

Postby paulw » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:21 am

As a clerk in my ward I've been playing around with the new ward calendar system, and I confirm that the calendar still has issues with timezones. Either that or the system is trying to be a bit more helpful than it should.

I wanted to show my parents the new calendar compared to the old one. When I opened up the calendar I was shocked to see that the Sunday block time scheduled for my ward was 2 hours earlier than it should have been. Then I realised that ALL of the events were 2 hours off. Switching the computer's timezone from MST to EST and refreshing the web page "fixed" the problem. (on both Windows and Linux)

The question I have is is this a bug or a feature? Personally, I'd rather have the calendar always show the event times as "local time" according to the event location rather than taking into account the current timezone of the computer in use. People who travel a lot probably won't like the calendar one bit.... "Oh wait, the times are all off. Let me switch timezones so I can tell when I need to travel home to get back in time for the fireside/etc."

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:50 am

paulw wrote: I realised that ALL of the events were 2 hours off. Switching the computer's timezone from MST to EST and refreshing the web page "fixed" the problem. (on both Windows and Linux)


You don't mention whether you are actually in MST or EST. If I'm reading between the lines properly, you were actually physically in the EST time zone when you saw the difference, and so when you changed to EST, you were indeed fixing your computer's configuration problem. But if you were actually physically in the MST time zone when you saw the problem and you had to move your computer to EST to work around the problem, then that would be a bug.

paulw wrote:The question I have is is this a bug or a feature? Personally, I'd rather have the calendar always show the event times as "local time" according to the event location rather than taking into account the current timezone of the computer in use. People who travel a lot probably won't like the calendar one bit.... "Oh wait, the times are all off. Let me switch timezones so I can tell when I need to travel home to get back in time for the fireside/etc."


Although I have a bit of sympathy for your preference, that is clearly not how the system is designed, and I think you'll find that most systems that are designed to work across time zones work the same way. Certainly Google Calendar and Outlook work the same way the Church calendar does. An event happens at a particular absolute time (UTC), regardless of the timezone of your computer. So the time of the event has to be stored in UTC (or have the timezone of the event noted, but it is much simpler to store it in UTC). The time chosen for display on a particular computer appropriately depends on the timezone of the computer.

Note also that the new calendar syncs with other calendars, including hand-held devices. For that sync to work properly, times have to be handled consistently -- you can't have some events on the target calendar that were entered manually in one timezone and others that came from the Church calendar in a different timezone.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

paulw
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Postby paulw » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:24 pm

aebrown wrote:You don't mention whether you are actually in MST or EST. If I'm reading between the lines properly, you were actually physically in the EST time zone when you saw the difference, and so when you changed to EST, you were indeed fixing your computer's configuration problem. But if you were actually physically in the MST time zone when you saw the problem and you had to move your computer to EST to work around the problem, then that would be a bug.


Indeed, I was a bit vague on that point. I live in Maryland (EST) but was home for the holidays in Utah (MST), so the event times are correctly stored at EST.

From a usability standpoint I felt that it was an unexpected behavior. I hear that a new "look and feel" is coming to the calendar in a month or so so perhaps it will be a bit more intuitive then. Otherwise perhaps a combo box could be added to show what timezone is being used to determine the event times. Then people could simply change the combo box value to see the event times for different timezones without having to change the timezone of the entire computer.

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:22 pm

If you haven't done so you may want to provide this recommendation through the lds.org feedback.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

scgallafent
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Postby scgallafent » Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:13 pm

paulw wrote:Indeed, I was a bit vague on that point. I live in Maryland (EST) but was home for the holidays in Utah (MST), so the event times are correctly stored at EST.

Based on what you're describing, it sounds like you had set the computer to MST when you performed the import. That would cause the behavior you observed.

I know that Google products (Gmail, calendar, etc.) all work this way. I first discovered it in Gmail when I was connected with Remote Desktop to a computer three hours away and all of the times were off on my email. It really threw me for a loop until I realized what was happening.

You could argue that this is both a bug and a feature. There isn't an easy answer, but most modern devices translate times based on the user's time zone. My Android phone changed time zones when we were in Utah over the holidays. That meant that I had to enter an appointment in MST when I entered it so that it would show up correctly when I got home to PST. It can be a hassle, but it becomes "normal" and corresponds with the way that most systems (cell phones, Google mail/calendar, Microsoft Outlook, etc.) work.

Although there might be advantages to having the ward calendar fixed to the ward's time zone, it's still going to get translated when a user syncs it to a Gmail account that syncs to an Android device (or some other arrangement of similar technology). I think that the consistency of behavior between devices and systems is more valuable than creating a system that is "buggy" for everyone who has learned to adapt to other systems in order to solve a problem for a subset of users.

Random related thoughts:

This is part of the reason that I don't change the clock on my computer when traveling. It's easier to know that the computer still thinks it's at home and I don't have to worry about weird time things, although I occasionally have to translate time zones in my head.

If you've got family in Arizona, you probably learned to deal with this at some point since Arizona doesn't observe daylight saving time.

We drove through northern Montana and Idaho recently and there are houses within a mile of each other in two different time zones (Mountain/Pacific). It created some interesting conversation when my children realized how those homes were affected. Perhaps they're better equipped to suggest how this should be handled. There are probably a few church units that span time zones and deal with this regularly.

And finally, I used to use a compiler that was time-stamped based on the compiler version. (2.1.08 was time-stamped 21:08, 2.1.10 was time-stamped 21:10) If you needed to know which version of the compiler was installed, you could check the timestamp on the compiler executable. The timestamp would occasionally get off by an hour for users on Windows NT systems because of the way it dealt with DST internally.

mjsiglasay
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Is this a Chrome-specific problem?

Postby mjsiglasay » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:30 am

I travel a lot and so am used to dealing with shifting time zones and my calendar. However, this particular issue seems somewhat specific to Google Chrome. With Safari and Firefox (on my Mac), they display the time zone properly (i.e., in MST when I'm in Utah, but in EST or another time zone when I happen to be in those time zones).

I'm back in my home time zone - MST - and Chrome is off by 7 hours (i.e., showing things in UTC). Only Chrome. It's fine in Safari. It's fine in Firefox.

Is there something I can do to my Chrome settings to fix it? I emptied my cache and refreshed, but that didn't work. Any ideas?

bdgarman
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Timezone still incorrect on https://www.lds.org/church-calendar/index.jsp

Postby bdgarman » Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:07 pm

To Whom it May Concern:
Finally, after a year the calendar application is starting to become stable, with fewer crashes, and synchronizing working with other calendar clients like Apple iCal (Google has a know issue which should really be listed in the instructions on the Synch feature, FYI, that keeps it from auto-updating - only past static items will display correctly). However, I have discovered another bug that may hinder some of our members using the calendar, which is, that times listed in the iCal file, when synchronized with any known clients, display the time as being off by 2 hours (at least for PST folks such us our ward in California). Ultimately, this is due to the time references being incorrect in the iCal event listings themselves. If the LDS Calendar application could be altered to allow the specification of timezones per calendar, and if those specifications could be used in the iCal file generated, that would be awesome. Alternatively, if the church could use the ward or stake reference (since the church knows what wards and stakes the calendars belong to) in your own data to identify the correct time zone and dynamically apply that in the iCal file output that would be perfect.

Thank you for listening,
Benjamin Garman
Software Developer/Engineer


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