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The WorldTime Connection

The WorldTime Connection

A Palmtop traveler describes how he uses the WorldTime application along with the built in programs and other geography programs.

By Bill Quinlan

My hunch is that many Palmtop owners pay scant, if any, attention to the built-in WorldTime application. My conviction is that WorldTime is one of the best reasons for owning an HP Palmtop.

I do business all over the world and would be lost without WorldTime. Over the years I've added many cities to the WORLD.WDB database and further increased the size of the file with notes from my travels and contacts. In short, WorldTime is one of my main business tools.

This article will take a look at the WorldTime application. I'll describe how it can be connected to some of the other built-in Palmtop software and how it may be enhanced with other DOS and System Manager programs.

To start the WorldTime program press the Ctrl+HPCalc keys to see the list view of the database. The built-in All Cities list comes with about 478 cities. The F2 function key will let you add more cities when you want. For example I've added my home town, Evanston, IL, USA.

To have Evanston always appear at the top of the list, I entered the city name with a leading space. This lets me "go home" quickly by pressing the HOME key. I also set Evanston as the Local City by pressing the F7 key in the list view and pressing OK. This sets Evanston's time to the current system time. To fill in the other fields, I used 011 as the Int'l Access, and 1 847 as the City Prefix (telephone area code). I checked the Custom List box by pressing the space bar, left the Category blank, set "Time Offset From" to -6 and Universal, set the Daylight Savings field to Automatic and selected Northern from the pull down list.

World Time and HP Calc

To fill in the Latitude and Longitude fields, I went out on the Web to www.indo.com/distance/ and keyed in Evanston, IL as the Destination city. The "indo.com" site replied with "Location: 42:02:47N 87:41:40W."

Latitude and longitude are usually given with the N, S, E, W letters appended to indicate the hemispheres on a globe. Most map programs show east longitude as positive (+) and west as negative (-). The WorldTime application uses the opposite convention: west is positive and east is negative. WorldTime uses the standard convention for latitude: north latitude is positive, south is negative. Some have called this a bug but I think it's just a different convention. You just need to be aware of this when converting from some other map programs to WorldTime.

Since WorldTime wants latitude and longitude in decimal degrees, I used HPCalc's Math application and converted the values to 42.05 latitude and 87.69 longitude. (In the Math application, just press F10 [More] twice to get to the trig functions and key in 87.4140 and press the F4 [->HR] key. Once you calculate the decimal value you can copy it from Calc and paste it into WorldTime.)

Let me mention that the www.in do.com site is one of several sites on the Internet that can provide you with geographic information. indo.com is not cluttered with a lot of extra information so it is faster than the other Web sites. You can also use the site to compute the distance between two cities "as the crow flies" but you can do the same calculation on the Palmtop. The site also has links to the Xerox PARC site where you can see the city located on a map, but, again, once you have the latitude and longitude entered in WorldTime, you can press the F10 (Map) key and see where in the world you are.

[See the HP Calc tip in the Basic Tips section of this issue of The HP Palmtop Paper. It describes how to perform "great circle computations" to find the distance between any two coordinates on the globe. --Ed.]

WorldTime Sorts and Searches

The WorldTime database, like the other database applications in the HP Palmtop, can be sorted and used for rapid searches. When used with the Subset function (F6) you can organize the data by city, country, international access or latitude and longitude. For example, to create a subset that shows the countries in the first column and cities in the second column, start with the All Cities subset. Then press the F6 key and the F2 key to define a new subset. Without changing anything in the subset screen press F10, name the subset as "Sort by Country" and press Enter twice. In the list view, press Menu, View, arrange Columns and use the arrow key to highlight the country column. Press the F8 key to move the City column one to the right and press F10 (Done). Use the Menu, View, Sort command to open the Sort dialog box. Set the "1st sort field" to Country and check the Ascending box. The "2nd sort field" is City with its Ascending box checked as well. When you press F10, you'll have a new way to use the database. For example you can start typing "Me" and you'll hop to a list of all the cities in Mexico that are in the database.

Time Conversions

In WorldTime you can select a time for any location and determine what the time will be for any other location. For example, I deal with clients in the United Kingdom quite frequently and find this function invaluable for figuring out when I can call them. I start with the All Cities subset in play and begin typing "Lon" until London appears in the list view. Then I press the F8 key and set the desired time to 8 AM and press Enter. I can then press the HOME key to move back to my home location. In the list view I see that I need to make the call at 2am Evanston time. To clear the operation and return everything to the current time, I simply press the ESC key. If I want the call to originate at 10AM, Evanston time, it will be 4 PM in London.

Latitude & Longitude Locator

Sometimes I want to know the latitude and longitude coordinates for a particular location that may not be in the WorldTime database. I simply press F2 to Add a new location and then press F8 to start the map view with the cross hairs centered at 0.00 latitude and 0.00 longitude. I use the arrow keys to find my desired location and read the coordinates. If I press F10 the coordinates will be saved to a new record in the database or if I press F9 twice the process will be cancelled. I put "???" in the City field of the new record for reasons that will soon become apparent.

The coordinates are in decimal degrees which are perfect for most uses. If you want degrees, minutes and seconds, you can convert them with the [->HMS] function in HPCalc's Math application.

Here's how to make use of the "???" (unknown) city. Create a subset by pressing the F6, F2 and F10 keys in succession and name the subset Lat+Long Sort. Press F10 to return to the list view and use the Menu, View, Sort command and set the 1st sort field to Latitude and the 2nd sort field to Longitude and press F10. Use the Menu, View, Arrange Columns. command and use the F5 key to decrease the width of the city and country columns. Then press the F2 key to add a latitude column and F2 again to add a longitude column. Use the F7 key and move latitude to the first column and longitude in the second column. Press F10 (Done) and you will find the Falklands at the top of the list and Thule at the bottom. Now press the F4 (Find) key and look for "???". For example, a location of 19.00 degrees south and 63.33 degrees west shows that the database city closest to this location is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Daylight Saving Adjustment

The WORLD.WDB database automatically adjusts for daylight saving time. The first time you open WorldTime, after a change from or to daylight saving time, the program will announce the change and ask for permission to make it. The formula for these changes is in a file called TIMEZONE.DAT. This seems to change regularly outside of the United States. To accommodate this change, create your own TIMEZONE.DAT file with Memo following the guidelines set forth below and put it in your C:\_DAT directory.

European

3:25-31 6 1:00

10:25-31 6 0:00

Northern

4:1-7 6 1:00

10:25-31 6 0:00

Southern

3:1-7 6 0:00

10:25-31 6 1:00

WorldTime and Lotus 1-2-3

I have adapted a great circle worksheet originally prepared by Curtis Cameron to let me find the sunrise, sunset, transit, twilight and great circle distance in miles and kilometers. I also added a system macro that connects WorldTime with the 1-2-3 worksheet. The GCC.WK1worksheet is way too complex to explain in this article. It will be available on this issue of The HP Palmtop Paper ON DISK and on the Web at www.PalmtopPaper.com/download.htm. To use a System Macro to copy data from WorldTime and paste it into the spreadsheet, you need to create a Smart Clip in WorldTime. Here's how to do this.

Start the WorldTime database and press the F5 (Clip) key. Then use the F2 (Add) key repeatedly to add the following fields to the smart clip. Be sure to put a comma between City and Country on the first line of the definition.

>City<,>Country<

>Latitude<

>Longitude<

>Hours<

Make sure there are no blank lines after the >Hours< entry. When you're done, press F10 to save and name the definition as "GCDAT."

Open the System Macros application [Ctrl+More] and type the macro into an empty slot, name it "Use with WTime and GCC.WK1"and save it.

{F5}G{F10}{123}{Menu}frgcc{Enter}{Paste}{Alt+X}

Copy the GCC.WK1 worksheet to a place on the Palmtop where Lotus 1-2-3 will be able to find it but do not start 1-2-3.

Go to WorldTime, clear any tags that may be set by pressing Shift+Space bar and select two cities and tag them by pressing the space bar. Run the Macro. The macro will copy the necessary information from the database, start 1-2-3, retrieve the GCC.WK1 file and paste the information into the appropriate location. When the worksheet stops jumping around, you'll see the Distance (in miles, km, and nautical miles) from one city to the other. You'll also get the Sun Rise, Sun Set, Transit, daylight hours and much more information. In the worksheet, you can press the ALT+H keys to see what the other assigned keys will do. You can also press F10 (Graph) to get a plot of the great circle route.

Buddy WorldTime Overlay

WorldTime has been greatly enhanced by Buddy. Screen 1 shows how the application looks with Buddy added.

Screen 1: Buddy adds an overlay to the WorldTime Map.

The overlay shows all the special features available from a registered copy of Buddy. I use WorldTime and Buddy to find the locations of the sun and moon and when they will transit (be directly due south) of my location. The two programs used together can give the approximate phases of the moon by referencing the location of the moon to the day/night terminators and the sun. If the sun and moon are together it is new moon. If the moon is on a terminator and is to the right of the sun, it is first quarter. If the moon is in the middle of the terminator, it is full moon. If the moon is on a terminator and is to the left of the sun, it is third quarter. Buddy is worth having if just for the WorldTime overlay!

World Travel 2.0

World Travel 2.0 is a PAL application, i.e., a DOS program that looks like a built-in application. The program was created by Jim Gasbarro and Alfred Lee to provide the Palmtop with many of the features found in the GeoClock and AutoMap programs but at a fraction of the disk space! World Travel saves a lot of disk space by using the D:\_SYS\ WORLD.WDB database rather than providing a separate data file. It comes with several maps including world, USA, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Africa. With one of the supplied maps loaded you can set two or more locations and determine the great circle route and distance. There is a list function which allows you to find the distances to various cities along the route (way points). You can also determine sunrise and sunset for a selected location. Finally, you can customize the database to add your own cities to those that come with the WORLD.WDB database. You can also make your own maps. I've used a registered copy of PC Globe and PC USA to generate additional maps including a more detailed U.S. map and maps for the UK, Ireland, France, the Great Lakes, Illinois, etc.

LXMAP Application

This is a great application by Stefan Peichl which uses PCX files and another program, LXPIC.COM, to show detailed maps on your Palmtop. LXMAP and a collection of maps are available from the palmtop network, www.palmtop.net/supernew. html. You can grab maps from the Internet; for example, from the White Pages in most search engines, and convert them to black and white PCX files with LXPIC. Then you can build an index file and try out your map in LXMAP. The directions for building the index file are contained in the documentation for the LXMAP program.

Various DOS Geography Applications

In addition to the applications discussed above, the Palmtop can run the following legacy DOS programs: Geo Clock (cga version).

I registered the EGA version of this older program so I could use most of the same features when I converted it to a CGA format for use on the Palmtop. This is one of my favorite programs but it does stretch the capacity of the Palmtop. World Travel is almost as good. The complete CGA package together with instructions on how to convert EGA maps to CGA versions can be found at www.PalmtopPaper.com/download.htm.

PC Globe

This is a shareware program that may fall into the category of abandonware. I have not been able to contact the developer (PC Globe, Inc of Tempe, AZ). Version 5 runs quite well on the palmtop if you exit from System Manager altogether with the More, Menu, A T command. It contains maps and economic data of most countries through 1992. It also contains flag pictures and national anthems that play quite well on the Palmtop. It's the only place I've been able to find the national anthem for Ireland, "A Soldier's Song".

AutoMap

Version 1 works on the Palmtop, but like Flight Simulator is more for the "gee-whiz" factor than anything else. It really taxes the capabilities of the Palmtop and is mentioned here for the sake of completeness.

Conclusions

The HP Palmtop is my main computer. Not only have I used it to write most of this article while riding the train to and from work but I use it daily in my travels and with my hobby of astronomy. Hopefully, this article will help you in your globe hopping even if you do it all on the Palmtop.

Shareware/Freeware mentioned in this article

iPhone Life magazine


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