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RE: Draft for review: Working with Time Zones

From: CE Whitehead <cewcathar@hotmail.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2011 10:43:48 -0500
Message-ID: <SNT142-w17DC32BDF31B77AE7EBDAFB3D20@phx.gbl>
To: <addison@lab126.com>, <mark@macchiato.com>, <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
CC: <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>, <ishida@w3.org>, <www-international@w3.org>

Hi, Addison, all;
Regarding the draft at:  
http://www.w3.org/International/wiki/WorkingWithTimeZones 
 
Sorry; I've not looked at it carefully except for the first few sections (I've read through the stuff on railroad time).  I'll try to look at the rest tonight.
 
For now:

First section, Working With Time Zones, par 2
"This document contains guidelines and best practices for working with time and time zones in applications and document formats. Using the use cases below, you can choose the right approach that ensures that geographically distributed applications that work with time work well. This document also aims to provide a basic understanding and vocabulary for talking about time, a source of confusion for many developers and content authors on the Web. "
 
{ COMMENT:  awkward; I prefer
 
=> "With the use cases below to guide you, you can choose the right approach and thus ensure that . . . }
* * *
{ COMMENT on sections below:  For consistency you must choose either  "time keeping systems" or "timekeeping systems?," but  "timekeeping" is one word in "Modern timekeeping" when it's a noun } 
Section:  Observed Time 
"Most time keeping systems are organized around observable events, typically celestial ones such as sunrise, sunset, longest and shortest day of the year, the sun and moon's apparent position against the background stars, and so forth. For convenience, these events are then sub-divided into arbitrary units that make time more measurable: hours in a day, for example, or weeks in a month. In many timekeeping systems, " 

{ COMMENT: as I said, use consistently "time-keeping systems" or "time keeping systems" or "timekeeping systems;"
most online examples seem to prefer "time keeping" when this is used as an adjective, i.e.,, when it's used to modify "software" or "systems," even when I type in "timekeeping:"
http://www.google.com/search?q=timekeeping+software&hl=en&biw=802&bih=311&source=lnms&ei=yOJbTfm0CY-btweRy72bCw&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=1&ved=0CCcQ_AUoAA#sclient=psy&hl=en&biw=802&bih=311&q=time+keeping+software&aq=0s&aqi=g-s1g2g-s1g-o1&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&fp=e637dc619dfb9af3

http://www.google.com/search?q=timekeeping+software&hl=en&biw=802&bih=311&source=lnms&ei=yOJbTfm0CY-btweRy72bCw&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=1&ved=0CCcQ_AUoAA
 

Section:  Incremental Time, pars 1 and 2
"mechanical timekeeping"
"Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) is the basis for modern timekeeping: among other things, it provides a common baseline for converting between incremental and observed time."
{ COMMENT:  Great! "timekeeping" is right! here "timekeeping" is a noun and I prefer it as one word and so does the internet:
http://www.google.com/search?q=timekeeping+software&hl=en&biw=802&bih=311&source=lnms&ei=yOJbTfm0CY-btweRy72bCw&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=1&ved=0CCcQ_AUoAA#sclient=psy&hl=en&biw=804&bih=311&q=modern+time+keeping+&aq=&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&fp=e637dc619dfb9af3

http://www.google.com/search?q=timekeeping+software&hl=en&biw=802&bih=311&source=lnms&ei=yOJbTfm0CY-btweRy72bCw&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=1&ved=0CCcQ_AUoAA#sclient=psy&hl=en&biw=802&bih=311&q=modern+timekeeping+&aq=0v&aqi=g-v1g-o1&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&fp=e637dc619dfb9af3
Also, according to word reference,
http://www.wordreference.com/definition/timekeeper
"timekeeping," at least when a noun, is one word. } 
* * *
Section:  What Is a Time Zone?  par 3
"Time zones were originated in several countries by railroad operators. The importance of maintaining a schedule is that people in the various locations served by the railroad know when the train would arrive (and depart). Coordinating trains could be scheduled between stations (using a single line in alternating directions, for example), avoiding observational error, local customs, and other issues combined with a plethora of "local times" to make accurate train scheduling of this sort difficult. "

{ COMMENTS:  
1.  verb tense . . . the modals "would" and "could" and "should" are actually past tense forms of the modals "wil" "can" and "may" and thus these all SHOULD be used with the past or conditional tense --
for your information.  Thus you cannot use "know," as that's a present tense verb form.
2.  Also the sentence is a bit awkward; "the importance of maintaining a schedule" is a long noun phrase . . . try using either a verb phrase, to make the sentence more "action-oriented," or else use a very short prepositional phrase;
either sounds better in English; for example
=> "With a schedule, people in the various locations served by the railroad knew . . . " (prep phrase)
=> "It was important to maintain a schedule so that . . . " [ verb phrase with explanation] }
3.  Finally, in the second sentence, I don't know what you want to say when you say "avoiding observational error, local customs, and other issues combined with a plethora of "local times" to make accurate train scheduling of this sort difficult"
but that clause is wordy and awkward and you have already said what you needed to say.
(In any case with or without time zones local customs and economies not to mention the weather did make train scheduling in some places a bit strange  --
people would wander in past the train time knowing it was not due yet but this is irrelevant.)

Whatever you want to do with this last clause, make it a new sentence I think. }
=>
"Time zones were originated in several countries by railroad operators.  [It was important to maintain a schedule [so] that people in the various locations served by the railroad knew when the train would arrive (and depart). 
Coordinating trains could be scheduled between stations (using a single line in alternating directions, for example). 
 
{Then add} =>
"The adjustment for time zones helped make it less necessary to guess the train arrival/departure times and reduced errors caused by differences in observed local time."
OR? =>
"The plethora of scheduling issues included scheduling based on observed local time, local customs, and more, but the adjustment for time zones helped to reduce errors resulting from differences in observed local time." 

 
* * *
Section:  What is a Time Zone?  last par
"This is a value small enough that most people won't notice the difference between actual and observed time. "
{ COMMENT:  you suddenly shift verb tense here -- in the preceding phrase you've used the past tense; this is o.k.,
but I prefer "don't" to "won't" in this case. }
=>
"This is a value small enough that most people don't notice the difference between actual and observed time. "
 
Best,
 
--C. E. Whitehead
cewhar@hotmail.com 		 	   		  
Received on Wednesday, 16 February 2011 15:44:43 GMT

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