Choose your dates wisely

Package delivery trackingThis past week I had a new laptop shipped to me and, like anyone awaiting an expensive new toy, I tracked the package every step of the way. The morning after the laptop left China, I checked the tracking log which looked much like the above image. Unless my laptop somehow made its way from Suzhou, across the Pacific to Anchorage and then back across to Shanghai in just over six hours, the tracking is incorrect.

It’s easy to see where the shipping company went wrong with their package tracking web application. They fell victim to one of the classic blunders of date manipulation: forgetting to include the timezone. If FedEx, the company which “Runs on Time” can make this mistake, then so can you.

If your application deals with dates and times, you should remember the following, among other things:

  1. Ulysses

    April 4, 2006 at 11:19 pm

    This is the norm for shippers.. everything is displayed in the local timezone. (How it’s stored is a mystery to you and I, however.)

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