An Historical Brief of Time

Pun intended -- sorry about that! Were you irritated that you had to change your settings for Daylight Savings Time? Or are you even more irritated that the times on story postings are nowhere close to correct for your timezone? If you are a registered user at, there is an easy solution.

Since we added the anti-spam human verification to our account registration process a couple of weeks ago, I need to visit the account settings page for each new user to enable their account. In doing so, I've noticed something: Hardly anyone sets their timezone preference.

The default timezone for the site itself is UTC/GMT, because we cater to an international audience and wanted to be as geographically-neutral as possible. But when you edit your account, the default is for the "Africa/Addis Ababa" timezone because that appears first in the alpabetical list. No offense to our African readers (and yes, we do have a fair number), but probably most of our readers, statistically speaking, do not live in Addis Ababa. So a timezone setting that is a couple of hours ahead of GMT is emphatically not the one you want.

Many of our long-time readers may also have not revisited their settings since the days of yore. This site was originally built on a home-built content management program, then moved to Drupal 4, and has been through multiple upgrades to its current Drupal 6 version. In the process, the Drupal project team has greatly improved timezone handling in the software. Long ago, there was only a setting for how many hours ahead of or behind GMT you were, but now there is a large list of international timezones, and of particular interest to our U.S.A. visitors is that now adjusts for Daylight Savings Time, but only if you have your timezone set correctly.

With these two facts in mind, now might be a good time to check your own account settings and choose the correct timezone for you. Here are the very simple instructions:

How to Set Your Timezone

  1. Login to with your personal username and password.
  2. From our menu bar at the top of the page, choose My Account.
  3. Click on the Edit tab to get to your account settings. (Wow, look at all the things you can customize!)
  4. Scroll to the bottom of that page, and select the correct timezone for your locale.
    1. The timezones beginning with "Etc" (for et cetera) are intended as a choice-of-last-resort if none of the country- or region-specific zones applies to you. Our list is derived from ISO standards, so it should include most or all of the ones in current use. If possible, choose your country and region from the list, not the Etc raw-offset zones.
    2. If you choose a country-specific timezone, they automatically account for Daylight Savings Time in your locale.
  5. Be sure to submit the form to save your settings. They will be remembered each time you login, until you change them. Of course, if you are browsing our site without logging in, our system has no way to look up your personal settings, so be sure to login when you visit or set your browser to do so automatically. (Don't do that from a public computer, though.)

As always, if you have any problems with your settings, send an email to publisher at

Thanks for being an reader!