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Stephen Colebourne's Blog:
Time-zone database down
October 07, 2011 @ 12:48:02

In a new post to Stephen Colebourne's blog today, there's some bad news for developers of software and OSes in general - the timezone database that most software uses is down due to a copyright struggle with a company named Astrolabe, Inc.. How does this relate to PHP? It's the same database the language uses to define its timezones as a part of the DateTime functionality.

The time-zone database (sometimes referred to as the Olson database) is the computing world's principle source of time-zone data. It is embedded in every Unix and Java for starters, and will be used by many websites and probably by your iPhone. You may know it via the IDs, such as "Europe/London" or "America/New_York". But, perhaps you're thinking that time-zones don't change? Well that may be true for America and the EU right now, but certainly isn't for the rest of the world.

Astrolabe claims that the database is a part of the work on their "ACS Atlas" product and the contents of it belong to them.

The impact of this is severe for anyone that uses it - whether via Java, Unix or some other means. This really is the key tool used by everyone to tell the right time globally. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the database maintainers who have worked on this for many, many years at zero cost to the industry and for zero financial gain.

Stephen puts out a call to some of the larger technology leaders/companies to help resolve this situation and/or provide a resource where this information can once again be accessed freely.

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timezone database astrolabe copyright shutdown


Hasin Hayder's Blog:
Web scrapping in a smart way, making a "Today in History" object in PHP
April 29, 2008 @ 10:27:41

Hasin Hayder has written up a quick tutorial for his blog that shows how to create your own "Today in History" page with details from Scopesys pulled with a little web scraping.

There are thousands of services available on web who are presenting interesting as well as education information which you can really integrate in your web page or make a nice widget and let others use them seamlessly with their content delivery platforms. In this article I am going to show you how you can make a nice Today-in-History widget with the help of the data provided in Scopesys.

He wisely recommends that you check one thing first about the content you're grabbing - the copyright it carries with it. This could get you into big trouble down the line depending on whose content it is. The actual script is pretty simple - he defines some constants as markers for where things start and stop in the HTML and then uses strpos to get the locations for his substr call to grab the segments.

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todayinhistory widget copyright scopesys constant define substr strpos



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