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When: 20.00 16/08/01 -- Dang, missed it by 3 years

An obvious flub, or does Joel have a time machine.

Maybe that's how Fog Creek is so successful.

Dr. Emmette Brown
Friday, August 6, 2004

That was the most confusing date/ time format I have seen.  I have never seen time expressed like that before.

How about

2004-08-16 20:00


August 16, 2004 at 8:00 pm

Friday, August 6, 2004

It's Yourapeen'

Dr. Emmette Brown
Friday, August 6, 2004

It's European, but still wrong:

HH.MM dd/mm/yy

So, "20.00 16/08/01" translates to:

August 16, 2001 at 8 pm

The doc is right.

H.G. Wells
Friday, August 6, 2004

Ok - I get it, he was been clever and using the local Italian format.

How about this???:

20.00 lunedi 16 agosto 2004

Friday, August 6, 2004

It shouldn't be confusing to programmers!  Each component is increasingly significant as you go right (actually this isn't completely true, or it'd be 00.20 16/08/01, but hey).  That's Little Gregorian encoding.

Friday, August 6, 2004

That format is so annoying. 20.00 as 8pm? Why? I could see 20:00 MAYBE, if I need to sort alphabetically by time on a 24hr clock using a simple algorithm... but for human readibility, 8:00 or 8pm makes more sense.

16/08/01 - what the heck does that mean? January 8th, 1016? August 1, 2016?

For human readibility, either write out the entire year, or include the month spelled out or abbreviated to 3 letters. Doing so even makes it more relibaly to parse automatically since the algorithm doesn't have to guess at what format it is in - the 4 digit # is the year and the lettered one is the month and anything else is the day of the month. People can then use any language or order they like and its all the same.

Friday, August 6, 2004

LOL - Joel.  I see you used my suggestion!!

Friday, August 6, 2004

The only problem with spelling the month out is that this would have to change with every language.

I actually prefer the twenty-four hour clock.

If we could all agree on using the ISO standard of time/day/month/year then things would be a lot easier.

Stephen Jones
Friday, August 6, 2004

20040816T20:00+00:00 (Italian summer time is +0, right?)

i love the assumption that ":" is more human-friendly than ".", as opposed to just cultrually different.

Friday, August 6, 2004

D'oh... Daylight savings is evil.

Friday, August 6, 2004

I don't see why we have timezones.  Time should be centered on the US west coast, and people on the other side of the planet should just get used to sunrise at 10pm.

I wear flag colored t-shirts
Friday, August 6, 2004

HA! I was right, the most interesting thing he has to blog about now is the location of his vacations!
Friday, August 6, 2004

Mark, I was really bored last night and happened to stop by your site.

You're actually making snide remarks about other peoples blogs?

Friday, August 6, 2004

Lol. You have a point there, though I think you missed the earlier discussion this came out of.
Friday, August 6, 2004

> i love the assumption that ":" is more human-friendly than "."

Well it is - you don't have to wonder if the 20 is in decimal format or not. Oh yes, I know, that is why those 'countries' use the comma for a decimal point instead. Well, that's just plain wrong.

Friday, August 6, 2004

Scott, I'm pleased to present to you the stupid American of the year award. There is always tough competition but you've come through. Congratulations.

Friday, August 6, 2004

Oh wow - someone who is too afraid of the world to even pick a fake name is calling me names. Whatever should I do?

Friday, August 6, 2004

Why not invade the middle-east? You yanks seem to love that ;)

There's cultural differences. I prefer the 24 hour time-format by far. Never have to worry about am, pm etc. Also, DD/MM/YY seems quite logical one you look at it, doesn't it? International and all to.

And then, there's the metric system - go on, give it a try! :}

Saturday, August 7, 2004

Well by rights it ought to be:

2001/08/16 20:00

Pick your own favorite delimiters.

This gives you proper sortability, and using a consistent "greater to lesser" concept removes ambiguity.  D/M/Y ordering never made sense to me, at best it's backwards and at worst you can't discern which subfield is the month or the day.

This isn't rocket science people.

Hub Dublin
Saturday, August 7, 2004

The Japanese use YYMMDD format which has the killing advantage of sorting nicely in text fields.

Less logical folk use DDMMYY and say it that way, like "the umth of whenember".  It's OK to code for.  Truly. 

Third place by a country mile goes to MMDDYY which gives rise to bemusement and some of the loopiest date makework since the Sumerians bequeathed base 60 arithmetic.

Meanwhile in France (where else), they ran with metric time and dates for a while.

Evolution in action.

Saturday, August 7, 2004

The international standard date and time format is

YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss

where hh is based on the widely accepted 24 hour clock; perhaps not surprising since there are 24 hours in a day. Colloquial methods of expressing date and time vary across the world, such as the 12h clock. Details of the standard, and the problems associated with the 12h clock can be found here:

Not surprisingly, most airline, train and bus companies prefer the 24 hour clock to avoid confusion.

Colloquial date formats cause even more problems, not least because of the confusion between the DD-MM-YYYY and MM-DD-YYYY (only used in the US as far as I am aware). Something unclearly expressed as 4/5/2004 could be 2004-05-04 or 2004-04-05.

Time zones, of course, arise from the rotation of the earth about it's axis. A line of constant longitude is the great circle, or meridian, that passes through both poles and crosses the equator (think of the segmants of an orange). As there are 360 degrees of longitude around the earth, local time differs by 1 hour for each 15 degrees.

The prime meridion, or 0/360 degrees is taken as that passing through the Royal Astronomical Observatory in Greenwich, UK. This is for historical reasons, I suspect because of the dominance of British naval power at the time the standard was adopted, and also because the British solved the very important problem, at the time, of determining longtitude at sea.

Thus local time is also measured by reference to the prime meridion, originally called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), but now called Universal Time (UT), although the now colloquial GMT is still used. So Eastern Time is UT - 05:00 hours. We use zones of time of course because if everyone used their exact local time it would get very confusing. Indeed there was a lot of confusion and panic in the US when the railway companies wanted to introduce standard times in the 19th century.

Standard Italian local time is UT plus 01:00 hours, so summer time is UT + 02:00 hours. Spring forward, fall back.

Joel's time and date is perfectly expressed in colloquial Italian. And it's lunedì not lunedi (note the accented i) because the last syllable is stressed, rather than the more usual second last.

pedantically yours
Saturday, August 7, 2004

Thanks for the information. It's worth $1,00.00 to me.
Saturday, August 7, 2004

The French have had a couple of Prime meridien lines but the acceptance of Greenwich as Longitude 0 was as a result of British merchant marine supremacy at the time.

However, Longitude 0 was only the geographic division of the world the division by time didn't happen until transport became fast enough to make a difference to the traveller.  The  development of rail travel.  Until the adoption of Greenwich time, every village got its time from the church clock this wasn't acceptable when you needed to produce national timetables.  You might say that time was more accurate in 1801 but less useful.

So Greenwich mean time was made the standard for all of Britain, though it makes precious little sense in the Orkneys or Outer Hebrides.

Although GMT is accepted as an international standard different countries (and in the US different states) apply the time difference based on local conditions, mostly political and economic. 

Switzerland, for example, is on the whole an hour and a half or so beyond Greenwich but takes GMT+1.  France doesn't take GMT as a base at all but uses the difference between Greenwich and the Paris Observatory, where the French current prime meridién runs through it.  A difference from GMT+1 by about 9 minutes.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, August 8, 2004

Actually, it's not GMT any more, it's UCT

Coordinated Universal Time

Like ISO, the acronym is not directly mapped to the name.  Apparently the French and English speaking delegations couldn't agree (wanting TUC and CUT respectively), so the compromise was to choose an acronym that didn't match either language.

Sunday, August 8, 2004

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