Storing UTC is not a silver bullet

The inconsistency that these changes imply could be a real headache, not just for computer programmers.

Jon Skeet's coding blog

Note: this is a pretty long post. If you’re not interested in the details, the conclusion at the bottom is intended to be read in a standalone fashion. There’s also a related blog post by Lau Taarnskov – if you find this one difficult to read for whatever reason, maybe give that a try.

When I read Stack Overflow questions involving time zones, there’s almost always someone giving the advice to only ever store UTC. Convert to UTC as soon as you can, and convert back to a target time zone as late as you can, for display purposes, and you’ll never have a time zone issue again, they say.

This blog post is intended to provide a counterpoint to that advice. I’m certainly not saying storing UTC is always the wrong thing to do, but it’s not always the right thing to do either.

Note on simplifications: this blog…

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Rachel Whiteread’s sculpture is a great way of marking the Forestry Commission’s centenary – shame about the leaflet

History can easily be misrepresented: for a variety of reasons.

thelearningprofessor

As part of its centenary celebrations this year, the Forestry Commission has unveiled a sculpture by Rachel Whiteread in Dalby Forest. It’s a splendid piece of work, comprising a full-size cast of a Nissen Hut, which represents both a connection with the First World War, when Major Nissen first designed the eponymous hut, and with the work camp that operated on the site from 1933 to 1939.

dalbywhitereadhut

Whiteread’s hut sits deep in the Forest, three miles from the visitor centre, and it’s weathering in nicely. When we visited we combined the short pathway to the sculpture with a muddy walk along rutted tracks. It makes a nice addition to the rich walking tapestry of North Yorkshire, and it has rightly been celebrated on the BBC’s Countryfile.

Disappointingly, the accompanying information leaflet doesn’t match the standards of either the sculpture or the Forest, at least when it comes to…

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Does anyone know what became of the Liberal Democrats’ Lifelong Learning Commission?

Can the LibDems’ espousal of lifelong learning help to expunge the recent opprobrium over their Student Tuition Fees U-turn?

thelearningprofessor

Last summer, the Liberal Party announced that it had put together a Commission on Lifelong Learning. This followed a conference speech by party leader Vince Cable in autumn 2017, backing the widely-discussed idea of a national system of learning accounts, accessible at any stage of life. This in itself followed the Party’s manifesto commitment in the 2017 election to an ambitious expansion in adult learning, including those famous learning accounts.

cable_december_2014 Vince Cable – image licensed under Creative Commons

Chaired by Rajay Naik, a prominent specialist in marketing higher education and formerly Director of Government and External Affairs at the Open University, the Commission was supposed to flesh out these bold ideas. It was launched with the promise that the membership and timescale would be announced in weeks, with the formal consultation process following ‘shortly’ afterwards. The membership was revealed in June 2018, with a number of…

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Commercial adult education: cupcakes

Private enterprise is usually willing to offer alternatives (at a price) to a lack of government-provided, or -sponsored, adult education.

thelearningprofessor

Demand for adult learning shows no sign of diminishing, yet in many countries the volume of public provision is in decline. That is certainly the case in the UK, where the Learning and Work Institute tracks participation on a regular basis. Meanwhile, provision by voluntary and commercial organisations appears to be thriving.

cupcakes2

It isn’t hard to find examples of new forms of private provision: you can spot them simply by walking around with your eyes open. I photographed these images in a shop window while we were heading for coffee in the Edinburgh suburb of Roseburn. While I mustn’t over-generalise on the basis of a narrow and unrepresentative sample of advertising placards, a few thoughts occur to me.

Businesses sometimes offer courses as a by-product of their main activities, as in this case. Consequently the additional costs of running even an extensive course programme alongside the core activity appear…

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Film and the public historian – what does a historical adviser actually do?

The use of public history for entertainment (which can also inform), making it perhaps more accessible?

thelearningprofessor

I’ve just been listening to Dan Snow’s interview with Jacqueline Riding, author of a magnificent history of the Jacobites who now has a new book out on Peterloo. I’m an admirer of her work, which includes her roles of historical adviser to two much-loved Mike Leigh movies, Turner and Peterloo.

The red plaque on Manchester Free Trade Hall was itself the subject of controversy after it replaced a blue plaque that ignored the dead and injured.

Most of the interview covers the background to the 1819 massacre, but Snow also asked her what she actually did on the films (she has also blogged on this topic). As well as generally advising on what we can understand from the available evidence, she rummaged through the archives to provide accounts of who was in the audience that day and what preceded the public meeting, dug up copies of speeches, provided…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Bette A. Stevens, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones, Sally Cronin

Books, books, books!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

First an author with a book that continues to receive outstanding reviews is Bette A. Stevens and Pure Trash: The Story

About Pure Trash: The Story

It’s PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/short story), a Compelling Prequel to the novel DOG BONE SOUP. The year is 1955. Remember the Good Old Days? You know, the 1950s and ‘60s, when America was flying high. The All American Family lived a life filled with hopes and dreams and life’s necessities too. Shawn Daniels isn’t your typical American Boomer Boy. No, Shawn is a poor boy. He can’t join Boy Scouts or sports teams. There’s not even enough money for necessities. Besides, Shawn doesn’t have time for that. But when chores are done, there’s always fishing!

In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It is going to be a great…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Collaborations – Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle, John W. Howell and Gwen Plano, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones

Some more Christmas book suggestions!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Time for more book gift ideas for family and friends this Christmas and I wanted to revisit some of the books that have been co-written including the recently published poetry collection Open a New Door, now in print, by Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle.

About the collection

Open a New Door is a poetic peep into the lives of the poets, Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle, both of whom live in South Africa.

The book is divided into four categories: God bless Africa, God bless my family and friends, God bless me and God bless corporates and work. Each part is sub-divided into the good, the bad and the ugly of the two poets’ experiences, presented in rhyming verse, free-style, haiku and tanka, in each of these categories and include colourful depictions of their thoughts and emotions.

The purpose of this book of poetry is encapsulated in the…

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