Following on from my spool entry about iCal and Cory's perceived (ta rjp) inability to understand it (warning: about 1MB of HTML and graphics), I talked to rjp on IRC, explaining how the timezone settings work (at least, for me).
rjp: mind you, if iCal really does do silly things like that, it would confuse the fuck out ofme
blech: Ok. Meeting in Germany at 10 am on Monday.
blech: You put the timezone as Europe/Berlin, for Germany. The time at 10am.
blech: You view the calendar at Europe/London, and it says your meeting is at 9am. Because it is.
rjp: yep, that makes sense in one way. but also confusing in another.
blech: You change your timezone to Europe/Berlin, because you're now in the airport about to get a cab to the meeting. It now says 10am.
rjp: humans don't really think in terms of timezeones like that
blech: This is confusing, but then timezones are confusing.
rjp: this is true
blech: And you can't just put '10am' because how does iCal know which 10am?
blech: Mine, or theirs?
blech: Or 10am in Ulan Bator?
rjp: well, I'd consider it to be my 10am wherever I'm going to be
blech: So in this case, Germany. And bingo, everything works.
rjp: ah, but until I'm in Germany, it is confusing
rjp: it does work nicely for things like phone conference calls
rjp: since if you put it in as Germany 10AM, it'll remind you at UK 9AM
blech: You can always change the dropdown to look at things as if you were in Germany.
rjp: which is right if you're in the UK
rjp: so confusing, but also right.
* blech nods.
Cory makes no mention of using the timezone dropdown, which, as the above should explain, is essential if you want things to work properly as you move around, and would fix all of his problems at a stroke (since his example noon lunch in New York moving to 2pm merely needs him to hit the up arrow twice in the 'From' field, with no confusing calculations needed on his part at all!)
If he'd kept his complaint to the fact that iSync scrambles dates and times, I'd be much more sympathetic, given how badly that app handles mobile phones. iCal itself, though, seems to work quite correctly for me.
Hmm. I seem to be making a habit of ranting on the spool and then having to explain in depth here. This is probably a bad thing, but then, people seem to fail to understand things I write in haste, or things I only refer to obliquely.
(This entry has been edited to change IRC quotes to use colons not angle brackets.)