iCal and shifting time zones

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Reader Eric Brown has unwillingly traveled in time and is displeased. He writes:

While traveling recently, I stumbled upon an iCal feature that took me by surprise, and not in a good way. Changing the computer’s time zone (in the Date & Time system preference) changes the time stamp of every item—past and future—in my iCal calendar. Since I use iCal for my time sheet, it’s pretty strange to look back and see that a 10 AM meeting in Vancouver is now logged as a 1 PM meeting, just because I’m now in New York. And when I log my 9 AM New York meeting, it’ll show up as a 6 AM meeting when I return home and reset the time zone. Is there a way to set iCal items so that the current time zone setting leaves past events unchanged?

You’re not the first to be perplexed by this issue. Fortunately, Apple’s got your back on this one.

Launch iCal, choose Preferences from the iCal menu, click the Advanced tab, and enable the Turn On Time Zone Support option. When you do this, a pop-up menu appears in the iCal window’s upper-right corner. This pop-up menu displays the time zone configured within the Date & Time system preference.

Editing the time zone in an iCal event.

When you change time zones within Date & Time, your events will shift, just as you’ve observed. To shift them to display in a different time zone, simply click on this pop-up menu and choose the time zone you'd like. If an appropriate one doesn’t appear, select Other and, in the sheet that appears, choose the time zone you want and click OK.

Ah, but what if you want to display Vancouver events in Vancouver time and New York events in NY time? Easy enough. Select the event, press Command-E to cause the event edit window to appear, and choose the time zone you desire from the Time Zone pop-up menu within the edit window (it appears just above the Repeat entry).

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