We’ve looked at a couple of utilities designed to help teams spread across timezones stay on track, including the FoxClocks addon to Firefox and the EasyTZ site. A new approach, Permatime, offers a new way to check what time it is everywhere – and to represent it in easy-to-read URLs to boot.
When you first visit the Permatime site, you’ll be asked to pick your own timezone – you can type in something like “PST” or “Central” or “Belgrade” and a dropdown list will help you choose. Then, you’ll see your current time in your local timezone. That’s not much – but if you then add “London” and “Moscow” you’ll see the time in all three zones. The site remembers you timezones across visits, too, so if you have a spread-out team you can set it up once and then just go there for current times whenever you want.
But that’s not where the “permatime” comes in. There’s also a button on the user interface to create a new permatime, and when you click it, you get to pick any arbitrary date and time, as well as one of your default timezones. The system will then cough up a URL for you. For example, I’m likely to take my kids trick-or-treating around http://permatime.com/America/Chicago/2008-10-31/17:20. You can see from the URL when that is – and if you visit that URL and set your own timezone, you’ll get the time translated into your local zone.
There’s nothing earth-shattering here, but my experience has been that timezones lead to missed meetings more than anything else. So any service that makes it easier to treat time as a constant rather than a variable has my vote.