June 30th, 2006


Outlook 2007: time zones tamed

Or how to get a feature into Office.

Beta 2 of Outlook adds a feature to appointments; you can pick the timezone to create the meeting in and you can have a different timezone for the start and end of the meeting. It's very simple, it's very easy to use and it will save travellers a huge amount of grief (and anyone phoning the US from the UK or vice versa). Yes, there was a timezone strip before, but it only did two timezones and it still meant doing sums.

I wasn't expecting to get the timezone feature because it wasn't in the build I saw at the Office Reviewer's Workshop at the beginning of May. So when I started working with beta 2 of Outlook the day before my accident in Seattle and saw it, I did actually sit with my mouth open gaping like a fish for nearly a minute so I took a minute to mail the whole list of thank you’s to everyone who helped me be there that day, clicking the Timezone button in an appointment and setting the start time in Pacific time and the end time in East coast time without a calculator, a headache and a 24-hour miscalculation.

I'll say it again. Thank you! Whether you pointed me at the right person to beg for the feature, put up with me begging for the feature, went back to Redmond and had someone code the feature or actually sat down and did the coding – I thank you! Everyone who doesn’t have to hear me rant thanks you! And probably more importantly, everyone who travels in more than two timezones thanks you too, though you might have to wait until they wake up to hear them ;-)

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