Timezones — a potential feature and a possible bug

I’ve been travelling a fair bit lately, so timezone handling has been more relevant than normal. There are two things I’ve noticed about timezone handling in Beeminder that I think are worth discussing:

  1. I already have to update the timezone setting on my own computer whenever I arrive in a new timezone. But then I also need to go into the Beeminder settings and manually adjust that too. I would be a nice (although admittedly low-priority) feature to have a bit of Javascript on the page that detects if my computer’s timezone doesn’t match the timezone in the Beeminder settings, and if so, offers to change the Beeminder settings to match. (And if I tell it not to, then it stores that preference in a cookie/localstorage for as long that remains my timezone, and only offers again the next time I switch timezones.)

    Given that most people don’t travel that much, this is probably sufficiently low in priority that might not be worth implementing, relative to all other possible features. But it would be nice to have.

  2. I don’t know if this should be considered a bug, but while Beeminder doesn’t let you change a goal’s deadline within six hours of derailment, it does allow you to change which time zone you’re in, which has the exact same effect. Is this working as as intended? It ends up with what at the end of the day is the same result, yet without the six-hour restriction. But maybe changing you’re timezone in order to push back a goal’s deadline (as opposed to changing the deadline directly) should be considered cheating, and so (at least with weasel-proofing off) the fact that it’s possible isn’t worse than the possibility of any other type of potential cheating.

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As someone who travels a fair bit, I feel your pain.

All of this is made more complicated if you have autodata sources that have their own sense of time and a strict idea of ‘day’. It’ll be easiest for wholly manual datapoints.

In the worst cases, changing Beeminder timezone might have the unexpected effect of recalculating the whole of history based on the new day boundary.