Friday, July 22, 2011

Dear universe: please make your default settings sensible

I'd occasionally noticed that alerts for my calendar events would sometimes go off at odd times on my iPad. For example, I'd wake up in the morning to find that the "5 minute" alert for a mid-morning meeting had already gone off. I suppose the first couple of times, I just assumed I must have entered something wrong when setting up the event. But, being the aspiring cross between Columbo and Paddington Bear that I am, gradually my suspicions were aroused.

Luckily, some other people more patient than I am with spuriously designed user interfaces were able to come to the rescue. In case you haven't found it, the offending setting is an option burried in the "Mail, Contacts, Calendars" section of your iPhone/iPad settings curiously entitled "Time Zone Support". With this set to a particular Time Zone (rathr than simply being switched off), then your device will not adjust calendar events to match your current time zone.

So you might be thinking "hey, what's your beef, this is a great feature to have, no?". Well, yes, it's a great optional feature. But the things that strike me are:

(a) to say that the iPhone/iPad are supposed to be the holy grail of PDAs (aren't they?), it doesn't seem like a terribly fine-grained feature, particular as there is a "Location" field in calendar events, and that thanks to the miracles of GPS, the device knows where you are at any given moment (or at least, knows where you are to within an approximation of a couple of skyscrapers/underground bunkers-- usually good enough to tell what time zone you're in);
(b) why give this option a silly, non-intuitive name and then turn it on by default? why by default would I tend to want events not to be in synch with where I am at the moment, given that the whole raison d'ĂȘtre of these devices is for travelling...?

Well, I'm sort of happy now I've discovered the option. But on the other hand, grrrrrr.

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