Saturday, March 10, 2007


Mr. Chen:

Some years ago, I was involved in a discussion over an issue that was affected by time zones. In particular, the feature in question organized its data by hour, and since the raw data format was UTC, the items were grouped by hour UTC. This works great for time zones that are an integral number of hours from GMT, but if you're in a time zone that is not, then the grouping will come out weird.

The program manager for the feature dismissed my concerns. "You're talking about those oddball time zones that are like 3½ hours from GMT? I say, tough for them. We should be optimizing for the major markets, not the fringe cases."

"Um," I replied. "One of those so-called fringe cases happens to be the second most populous country in the world."

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