June 30, 2015 23:59:60

AWS Official Blog covers the upcoming leap second shenanigans in “Look Before You Leap – The Coming Leap Second and AWS“:

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems (IERS) recently announced that an extra second will be injected into civil time at the end of June 30th, 2015. This means that the last minute of June 30th, 2015 will have 61 seconds. If a clock is synchronized to the standard civil time, it will show an extra second 23:59:60 on that day between 23:59:59 and 00:00:00. This extra second is called a leap second. There have been 25 such leap seconds since 1972. The last one took place on June 30th, 2012.

Not all applications and systems are properly coded to handle this “:60” notation.

Time in China

Time in China follows a single standard time of UTC+08:00, which is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. China geographically spans five time zones and there were five time zones in use during the Republic of China (1912–1949). Since 1949 all of China has only had a single standard time, but UTC+06:00 is also used unofficially in Xinjiang and Tibet.

Wikipedia

Contributing Advent 21: Timezone database

Contributing Advent 21: Timezone database

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Timezones have always been a pain, and Daylight Saving(s) time does not make it a lot easier. Then of course you have governments that decide to change the rules. Often that is done nicely in advance, but once in a while the rule changes are announced at the absolutely last moment, or, sometimes even after the new rules have come into effect. To track the craziness, have a look at Time Zone News, and this image to see how many different rules there are!

Coding, Fast and Slow: Developers and the Psychology of Overconfidence

Coding, Fast and Slow: Developers and the Psychology of Overconfidence

This is an excellent take on why (we the) developers suck at time estimations.   Basically, it boils down to two reasons: unknown details of the project and overconfendence.

First off, there are, I believe, really two reasons why we’re so bad at making estimates. The first is the sort of irreducible one: writing software involves figuring out something in such incredibly precise detail that you can tell a computer how to do it. And the problem is that, hidden in the parts you don’t fully understand when you start, there are often these problems that will explode and just utterly screw you.

And this is genuinely irreducible. If you do “fully understand” something, you’ve got a library or existing piece of software that does that thing, and you’re not writing anything. Otherwise, there is uncertainty, and it will often blow up. And those blow ups can take anywhere from one day to one year to beyond the heat death of the universe to resolve.

Read the whole thing, it’s worth it.

Real-time clock, with builders. Video

Real-time clock, with builders. Video

This is absolutely awesome!

70 workers are building a wooden 4 x 12 m “digital” time display in real time: a work that involves 1611 changes within 24 hour period.

Seamlessly documented and shot on video, a 24 hours movie or clock is now available.

Standard Time is an artwork of Mark Formanek, realized by Datenstrudel.

A few websites around the web have it synchronized to the actual time…

Estimating sunset time with your hand

I came across this handy tip over at Lifehacker website.  I think that’s pretty useful for outdoor photography, when camera people want to some of the best sky colors.

All you need to do is extend the hand full and count the number of finger width distances between the sun and the horizon.  Each finger is approximately 15 minutes, which means each hand is about an hour.  This is of course just an approximation, but it’s always better to have an approximation than nothing at all.  Enjoy.

EFF wins protection for time zone database

Every time I proudly wear my EFF member t-shirt, people ask me what is EFF.  And every time I explain and point them to EFF.org for more information.  It’s a shame that many of those who even live and breath online don’t know what EFF is and what those guys do.  Have a look at their most recent victory:

In a statement, Astrolabe said, “Astrolabe’s lawsuit against Mr. Olson and Mr. Eggert was based on a flawed understanding of the law. We now recognize that historical facts are no one’s property and, accordingly, are withdrawing our Complaint. We deeply regret the disruption that our lawsuit caused for the volunteers who maintain the TZ database, and for Internet users.”

“It’s a fundamental principle of copyright law that facts are not copyrightable, and Astrolabe should have known that,” said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. “While the lawsuit should never have been filed, we’re pleased that the legal threat to an important resource has been eliminated.

You can help them do what they do, by joining and donating.