My favorite new feature in Nevada build 53...

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the then-upcoming Solaris Nevada build 53 in a mail to the Solaris x86 YahooGroups mailing list:

For desktop users, nv_53 should be awesome. Gnome 2.16, Firefox 2.0, Gnome System Tools, DRI for i845/i855/i865/i915, and, just integrated today, for the first time ever, the nvidia accelerated drivers/GL as part of the Solaris OS install. Attentive viewers may note that it also doesn't have kdmconfig run at install time anymore due to the replacement of Xsun with Xorg as the install-time X server.

Now that I've updated to nv_53 on my main desktop at work (which was actually a big jump from it's previous Solaris 10 6/06 install, but went smoothly via Live Upgrade) I've found my favorite new feature is one I didn't even know about in advance - a popup menu from the JDS toolbar clock that shows the time in different timezones:

Time Zone Popup Menu screen shot

I work with people from around the world - our desktop team is mostly split between Ireland and China, with outliers in New Zealand, Canada, and Illinois. The Architecture Review Committee I serve on at Sun has members on both coasts of the US, and in India and Isreal at the moment. Trying to keep track of what time it is where is more than I can remember most of the time, so I was constantly going to timeanddate.com to check the time in other parts of the world. Now I can add them to my menu for quick reference.

Unfortunately, it was something I discovered by accident and seems to be a little hidden - to get there, right-click on the panel clock and choose Preferences. In the Clock Preferences panel turn on Show time zones button. You should now have a big world/clock icon next to your clock like the one shown above (one that seems too large and out of place for the panel compared to the other icons there). Click on it to bring up the menu and choose Edit Time Zones. Now, you'll have to ignore the actual question shown in the next dialog:

Even though it's asking you to choose your nearest city, it really means “a city in the time zone and jurisdiction you want to see” — it's neither distance to you that matters or distance to the target, but which set of time zone rules and daylight savings change rules are in effect in the target location. For instance, if you want to know the time in Seattle, Washington, you need to choose Los Angeles, which is much farther away than Boise, Idaho or Vancouver, BC, Canada, but unlike Boise, is in the same time zone, and unlike Vancouver, follows the same national time-shifting schedule. It would be nice if it let you edit the name shown, since I normally think of needing to know the time in Beijing, not Shanghai, but it's still much nicer than what I previously did.

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Comments:

Awesome... I have wanted to have a feature like this for years. Thanks for highlighting it!

Posted by Rob on November 29, 2006 at 05:39 AM PST #

Alan - you CAN edit the label for the time zone. Just double click on the comments field. Then your popup dialog will show your comment label will show you "Beijing" instead of "Shanghai" in your case. Try it.

Posted by JV711 on November 29, 2006 at 10:27 AM PST #

We actually designed that feature for JDS Linux (v1 or v2, I forget which)... it got overlooked on the Solaris version for a while, not sure why. Maybe because we weren't having much luck getting it upstream to GNOME and we were reluctant to maintain it any more. (The upstream bug with our patch is still open...).

The original idea was to allow you to have as many clocks as you liked on your panel, each showing a different timezone. This functionality broke at some point, and they all ended up showing the same TZ... if we haven't fixed that yet, somebody needs to file a bug :)

Posted by Calum Benson on November 30, 2006 at 12:40 AM PST #

Yeah, those timezone popups are very nice. KDE's clock applet has had that feature since at least 3.4 (probably earlier, can't remember) and I wouldn't want to ever miss it again.

Posted by Jakob Petsovits on December 02, 2006 at 03:45 AM PST #

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