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Miss Betsy

How to tell time the server admin way

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This is an example of the time for UTC: Fri, 10 Aug 2007 20:43:44 +0000 (UTC) this is the time at the starting point.

from wikipedia: Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is a high-precision atomic time standard. UTC has uniform seconds defined by International Atomic Time (TAI), with leap seconds announced at irregular intervals to compensate for the earth's slowing rotation and other discrepancies. Leap seconds allow UTC to closely track Universal Time (UT), a time standard based not on the uniform passage of seconds, but on the Earth's angular rotation.

Time zones around the world are expressed as positive or negative offsets from UTC. Local time is UTC plus the time zone offset for that location, plus an offset (typically +1) for daylight saving time, if in effect.

As the zero-point reference, UTC is also referred to as Zulu time (Z). Or GMT Greenwich Mean Time (from dxing.com: This was formerly known as Greenwich mean time (GMT)....Greenwich mean time was based upon the time at the zero degree meridian that crossed through Greenwich, England. GMT became a world time and date standard because it was used by Britain's Royal Navy and merchant fleet during the nineteenth century. .... Despite the improvements in accuracy, however, the same principles used in GMT have been carried over into UTC....To convert UTC to local time, you have to add or subtract hours from it. For persons west of the zero meridian to the international date line (which includes all of North America), hours are subtracted from UTC to convert to local time. ")

This is an example of how server admins communicate time: Monday, August 13, 2007 11:00 -0700

The first part - Monday August 13, 2007 11:00 - is local time. The second part is the local time offset from UTC. Monday, August 13, 2007 18:00 +0000(UTC) = Monday, August 13, 2007 18:00 -0700, that is UTC-7 hrs or local time+7hrs.

To find the time for your local time, you add, or subtract, the offset to your local time offset. (You can google utc time zone and find various ways to find out what your offset is. If you get confused easily as I do, you can find the UTC time - in this case 18:00 and then add/subtract your local offset. But then, I am not a server admin who uses UTC and offsets daily.)

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A worthwhile addition. I would suggest you add to:

This is an example of how server admins communicate time: Monday, August 13, 2007 11:00 -0700

The first part - Monday August 13, 2007 11:00 - is local time. The second part is the local time offset from UTC. To find the time for your local time, you add, or subtract, the offset to your local time offset. (You can google utc time zone and find various ways to find out what your offset is).

So it becomes

This is an example of how server admins communicate time: Monday, August 13, 2007 11:00 -0700

The first part - Monday August 13, 2007 11:00 - is local time. The second part -0700 is the local time offset from UTC (7 hours). Converted to UTC this date-time is Monday, August 13, 2007 18:00 +0000. To find the time for your local time, you subtract, or add, the offset of your local time zone from or to UTC. (You can google utc time zone and find various ways to find out what your offset is).

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Adding an example of UTC time might be a good idea. However, you don't need to find the UTC time in order to find your local time. you really can just add, or subtract, the offsets, i.e. if my offset is -0400, I subtract -0400 from -0700 which gives me -0300 which makes it 08:00 (11:00 -0300) local time or if local time is +0100, then I add -0700 and +0100 which is -0800 which is 11:00 -0800 or 03:00 UTC (expressed by server admins as 03:00 +0100) or 04:00 + 0000 UTC. (What was I thinking? I wasn't thinking at all because I was in a hurry!) adding -0700 and +0100 is +0800 or (11:00-0700) + 0100 = 18:00 +0100 = 11:00 + 0800 = 19:00 local time or 7 pm. Of course, you have to mentally change the date, if necessary. There was a long discussion in the ng on how to phrase that.

I will edit the original later.

Miss Betsy

Monday: now, I am totally confused and hope that someone comes along to help!

Edited by Miss Betsy

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Adding an example of UTC time might be a good idea. However, you don't need to find the UTC time in order to find your local time.
Understood - it probably depends on how many different zones you get to deal with and how often and in ordinary use it is not critical so it's not really that important - but as a general principal, reduction to UTC then conversion to the local zone is the "safest" way (a 2-part process) to do it. Trust me, I first got involved in this stuff over 40 years ago and really little has changed except "UTC" instead of "GMT" and more places using daylight saving time.
...There was a long discussion in the ng on how to phrase that.
Yes, I saw it. The discussion (in its totality) drove me to distraction, leading to a most uncharacteristic :D diatribe "over here" on my part. But I'm over it, don't care one way or the other, just a suggestion.

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I thought it was a good suggestion. Did you look to see how I edited the original FAQ?

The intent was to show /why/ people who use it daily don't bother with just using the UTC/GMT/Zulu time - because they are used to adding & subtracting offsets (however, they describe them as before/after, ahead/behind, etc.). And then I added the /safe/ way, as you pointed out, of finding UTC from the offset given and then using your offset to find local time as the 'dummy/newbie/non-technical fluent' way.

IMHO, it is one of those arrogant 'techie/spamcop' things where spamcop expects all users to be familiar with the 'standard' way of expressing technical aspects and refuses to 'dumb' it down for users who don't use the terms on a daily basis. (another example is the 'misdirected bounces' discussion).

IMHO, maintenance times should be expressed in UTC, not the shorthand that server admins use. That makes only one step for both daily users and people who are just spamcop users. However, since they are doing it in a way that requires explanation, that makes it simpler to add the explanation of UTC for those who aren't aware of the use of UTC so I guess it evens out.

Miss Betsy

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I thought it was a good suggestion. Did you look to see how I edited the original FAQ?
:blush: Um ... not as such ...no.
The intent was to show /why/ people who use it daily don't bother with just using the UTC/GMT/Zulu time - because they are used to adding & subtracting offsets (however, they describe them as before/after, ahead/behind, etc.). And then I added the /safe/ way, as you pointed out, of finding UTC from the offset given and then using your offset to find local time as the 'dummy/newbie/non-technical fluent' way.
Okay, but actually my point is "the safe way" is used by the "real professionals". The ones who don't want to make a mistake. Ever. Who, in turn, want to relay information accurately. Always. As such I would not characterize it as 'dummy/newbie/non-technical', in fact I would characterize the shortcut "expert" method as 'dangerous, slack, ignorant, riding for a fall and "thank heavens you don't have launch codes" ' when dealing with the international public and if the information was actually critical. Which it isn't. So my aforesaid characterization need not be made. :D
IMHO, it is one of those arrogant 'techie/spamcop' things where spamcop expects all users to be familiar with the 'standard' way of expressing technical aspects and refuses to 'dumb' it down for users who don't use the terms on a daily basis. (another example is the 'misdirected bounces' discussion).
You are too harsh - I see it as simply inexperience, ignorance and evidence of a fortunate life and a pampered existence.
IMHO, maintenance times should be expressed in UTC, not the shorthand that server admins use. That makes only one step for both daily users and people who are just spamcop users.
Absolutely agree..
However, since they are doing it in a way that requires explanation, that makes it simpler to add the explanation of UTC for those who aren't aware of the use of UTC ...
And we agree again (as indicated when I said A worthwhile addition).

We differ only on a few matters of outlook/perception. Which are not important. The important thing is how comprehensible the result is for a novice in TZ interpretation. You've given it your best shot, considered suggestions and modified accordingly. All that remains is to see how the users react. It is easy to get "turned around" and get it wrong which is possibly another reason those whom you consider "experts" don't actually try to do it themselves. If I was on them in the first place, I might have just fallen off a couple of Christmas/Hanukkah card lists right there. :P

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