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Old 25 Jun 2018, 03:03 PM   #1
Walter Eagle
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Join Date: Mar 2017
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Calendar: how to handle event starting in one time zone and ending in another

Hi there

I have searched the forum to see if this issue has been dealt with elsewhere, but with no luck. Apologies if I'm repeating a topic.

It is a frequent situation that I want to enter calendar events that begin in one time zone and end in another. How am I supposed to reflect this in Fastmail? As far as I can see each event appears to be tied to one time-zone. Am I supposed to do all the time-zone arithmetic myself to work out what the entry should read at start and finish? And which single time zone would I use?

Any hints and tips from experienced travellers who have overcome this issue?

Thanks and regards

Walter
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Old 26 Jun 2018, 12:14 AM   #2
gardenweed
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You can select the timezone used in a calendar event, yet display your calendar in another timezone.

So one way to deal with crossing timezones would be...
Eg. Flying Perth to Melbourne:
  • Ticket says I leave Perth at 8am Perth time.
  • Ticket says I arrive Melbourne at 13:30 Melbourne time.
  • Perth is UTC+8
  • Melbourne is UTC+10

So I enter a dummy event in the calendar starting at 13:30 and select Melbourne/Sydney timezone to be used for this event..
When I save this event, while my calendar is set to Perth timezone, the event appears as starting at 11:30 Perth time.
So now I know I could set the flight event as starting at 8am and ending at 11:30 am in the Perth timezone.
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Old 26 Jun 2018, 01:33 AM   #3
Walter Eagle
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Hi gardenweed

Thanks for the very prompt response.

Sounds like I was correct when I said, "Am I supposed to do all the time-zone arithmetic myself to work out what the entry should read at start and finish?"
I'm more than happy to accept your explanation of how to do it. But what a complex workflow this is. Aren't computers supposed to be good at, you know, computing, and doing this for us? What on Earth were the good people at FastMail thinking of?

So if I'm Chicago, and planning on flying next week from London to Moscow, I start by entering a dummy Moscow event, in Moscow time. That will give me an equivalent Chicago time for the journey's end. Next thing I need to do is enter another dummy event, but this time with a London time and save it. That gives me a second Chicago time for the journey start. Then I finally create the real event using the start and finish times in Chicago time. And in two or three days time, I decide want to confirm I've entered the correct details. So I get my ticket or booking form, but of course it has local London and Moscow times, and I have to compare these against my calendar entry which is all in Chicago time? And lord help me if I have to start making allowance for journey durations which now appear to start one day and finish the next.

I can definitely envisage a better way of doing this. Fastmail's calendar should be capable of assigning separate timezones to the start and end of any event. Start editing a single event, enter the start date and time, select London. Enter the end date and time, select Moscow. Finish. Let the algorithms behind the GUI handle all the number crunching for me.

However, thanks again for the suggestion. At least I have a way of doing it, even if it's clumsy and inelegant - not your fault.

Regards

Walter
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Old 26 Jun 2018, 08:19 AM   #4
gardenweed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Eagle View Post
So I get my ticket or booking form, but of course it has local London and Moscow times, and I have to compare these against my calendar entry which is all in Chicago time?
At this stage you could simply change the calendar timezone setting using the dropdown box at the top - first to London and check the event finish time, and then to Moscow and check that event finish time.

Quote:
I can definitely envisage a better way of doing this. Fastmail's calendar should be capable of assigning separate timezones to the start and end of any event.
I agree that this would make things easier.
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Old 1 Jul 2018, 06:48 PM   #5
pjroutledge
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I thought 'Floating Time' handled this?
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Old 1 Jul 2018, 09:47 PM   #6
gardenweed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjroutledge View Post
I thought 'Floating Time' handled this?
Interesting, How does this work?
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Old 2 Jul 2018, 03:40 PM   #7
pjroutledge
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When you save a calendar event in 'Floating Time' instead of a time zone, the start and end times are not affected by time zone changes.
(Should clarify, I've used this in the Fastmail web interface - don't know how it might work in different calendar clients, and I suppose it's reasonably likely that it would vary).

So, as you change your time zone in the Calendar web interface, an event that starts at, say, 1pm in 'Floating Time' still appears at 1pm regardless of which time zone you change to.

I use this for flights that cross time zones. Eg if I fly MEL to BKK from 1pm (MEL) to 9:45pm (BKK) and I save the event in Floating Time, when I arrive in BKK and change the time zone to BKK, the flight event still appears to go from 1pm to 9:45pm.
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Old 3 Jul 2018, 09:32 AM   #8
n5bb
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From Fastmail help:
Quote:
Floating time

There is one special time zone called Floating Time. When an event's time zone is set to Floating Time it will always occur at the same start time, regardless of which time zone you view it in.
If you view your calendar in Floating Time, each event will be displayed as though it were being viewed in the time zone for that event.
Bill
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Old 3 Jul 2018, 10:53 AM   #9
gardenweed
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Hi Bill.
I did read that little help snippet from FM in their help pages.
Still don't understand the application of it or how it helps when entering say flight events that cross time zones.
I guess I'm just a bit thick.
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Old 4 Jul 2018, 04:46 AM   #10
n5bb
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When you enter a calendar event using the Floating Time timezone, the times you enter will always be shown when you later view the calendar event.
  • So if you are flying from Chicago to Los Angeles:
    • Enter the Central time zone takeoff time as a floating time.
    • Enter the Pacific time zone landing time as a floating time.
    • No matter what time zone you set in the calendar viewing choice, a floating time event always shows the time you entered originally.
  • To demonstrate how this works:
    • Create a Floating time zone item in the FastMail calendar.
    • View the calendar while changing the as in (time zone) at the top to various time zones.
    • The calendar items created in specific time zones will change, but the items created in the floating time zone will stay the same.
    • Items created in the floating time zone will always show the same time, no matter what time zone you are viewing in.
Bill
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Old 4 Jul 2018, 09:11 AM   #11
gardenweed
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Thanks Bill.
It's interesting.
But strikes me as kind of weird and potentially confusing.
I guess I'll have to have a play with it to see the benefit.

My way of thinking is I'd rather see the correct times shown for the event for the timezone that I'm viewing.
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Old 5 Jul 2018, 07:33 PM   #12
pjroutledge
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Have a play around, gardenweed, and let us know what you think.

Floating time is probably more familiar than you realise. Airline tickets (at least with the airlines I use in Australia and internationally) print the flight departure and landing times in the departure and landing airports' local time zones - ie 'floating time'.
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