Just switch to UTC

I’ll just say it right now, I hate timezones. And daylight saving time, it can go to hell.

I like the fact that anywhere I am in the world (not near the poles) I know 8:00 the sun is up and 20:00 the sun is down. That’s all fine and dandy. But I don’t like and I don’t think I’ll ever like calculating timezones. Especially with daylight saving time, where I gotta take into account if it’s on or out daylight saving time, plus my own, and they start and end at different times, it sucks.

I have meetings every Monday at 21:00 (9:00 PM) UTC. At this time we all spend some time chatting. For me that means 3 different hours at which the meeting can happen, because of timezones and daylight saving time. It can happen from 15:00 to 17:00. And it was a PITA to ask when it’s starting, until I started using UTC as the reference for the time at which it’s going to happen.

Let’s look at what time is for a moment. We could keep track of it or not care at all, in fact if we didn’t care at all maybe some stuff would be better, maybe. We’d use the sun and the moon to track the time, instead of saying Meet you at 12:00 PM in the hall” we’d say Meet you in the hall when the sun is at it’s hottest”. That’s something we can easily feel, although we’d be off by around one hour, it wouldn’t really matter because our civilization would be VERY different, where preciseness wouldn’t matter that much, and when it does maybe we just stick together or set more secure times, like when the sun starts setting or something.

On the other hand, if we didn’t have time we wouldn’t be able to coordinate time globally, only locally where everyone knows naturally in how much time the sun will go down.

So time, IMO, has it’s most use when used globally. But the way we use it today it complicates stuff way too much! Assuming there are no timezones, it’s not that hard but still a hassle. With our current timezones system before I do anything with planning times I need to understand at what times in my timezone it’s day during the other timezones and find somewhere where they overlap.

If we used UTC it would be very simple, one side says I’m available from 12:00 to 20:00” and the other side knows exactly what time that is and it can say OK let’s talk at 16:00”.

Another thing with timezones, we work at different days if on opposite sides of the planet. Right now it’s the 21st for me, but for Sydney, Australia it’s the 22nd. Look at this commit diff. These commits happened in practically the same 10 minutes, but because of timezones Git detected one of these commits being one day later.

Let’s just all agree at the same time to start using UTC, drop the notion that before PM it’s morning and after PM it’s afternoon, drop the notion that at 8AM the sun rises and 8PM the sun drops and just learn the UTC time for these events in our own area.

That is all I have to say and this opinion won’t change. Different languages OK, it’s different cultures, but different times? Come on. We’re all humans in one damn planet, I’m sure we can come to agree on the time.

May 21, 2014