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Dates and Times are getting confusing  RSS feed

 
Frank Carver
Sheriff
Posts: 6920
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In case it's not obvious, I live and work in England. I guess that this system is based in the USA somewhere. This shouldn't be too much of a problem, after all the WWW is completely international.
However, I find it effectively impossible to tell how recently someone posted a message. Sure, there's a date and time, but unfortunately, it means very little to me. For example, as I type this it's around 4:30pm, but it won't appear as that in the eporkchop listing. Likewise, if I see that someone has replied to a message of mine at 8:13 am, I don't really know how long ago that was.
I could sit down and work out the difference in time zones by posting a few trial messages, and then laboriously add this offset in my head to each date/time that I see, but that seems a bit too much like hard work.
So I have some suggestions.
First, the simplest option. If each page as it is generated shows at the top the "current" date and time at eporkchop HQ, then at least I have a fighting chance of seeing how recent a message is. I don't think this should be too difficult. Getting and showing a date in Perl is pretty well-known.
Second, and a little more complicated. How about calculating and including an "age" entry when any date/time is displayed (for example January 08, 1999 08:21 AM [1h20m ago]). Again, with a little thought to how best to show this in all cases, it could be done fairly easily in Perl, without significantly impacting the system.
A third possibility, and getting more complex as we go. Why not use the user preferences to specify a timezone, and convert all date/times to local time when displayed. Or possibly a hybrid system which shows both "system" and "local" time.
Am I right off the wall here? Would anyone else appreciate any of this?
Frank.
 
paul wheaton
Trailboss
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Your points are all excellent.
There is one big catch: despite the fact that you grab the pages via a perl CGI, these pages are all stored statically and modified only when new messages are posted.
The lightbulbs and pink folders should give you some idea of what is new to you - although they could also be improved if the pages were not stored statically.
The software I am using to run this site is called "Ultimate Bulletin Board" and the author invites suggestions like your at www.ultimatebb.com. If you can convince him to add these things, they will make their way to the electric porkchop!
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