back to article Remembering the time Windows accidentally sent Poland to the bottom of the sea

Microsoft veteran Raymond Chen took to YouTube over the weekend to remind us of the time the Windows vendor accidentally sank Poland. Speaking on the Dave's Garage channel, run by former Microsoft engineer Dave Plummer, Chen added some flourishes to a story from decades ago regarding the neat time zone map that initially …

  1. Victor Ludorum


    Plus ça change...!

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Easily fixed

    As far as I know, Macs still have a timezone map. The difference would be when they ring up to complain, Apple tell the countries where their borders go.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: Easily fixed

      Also, most countries have rounded corners too, they say.

  3. Paul Cooper

    Anyone professionally involved in map-making should be well aware of the political sensitivities attached to it! The number of places around the world where the wrong name will get you into hot water is enormous. Google fudges the issue in some places (e.g. Falklands/Malvinas) but of course, that's only one of many similar issues. Antarctica is a special case with many different (and equally authoritative) naming authorities (see - and although territorial claims are "held in abeyance", they still exist!

    Making maps of a territory is one of the ways that nations assert their sovereignty, and Foreign Offices are notoriously sensitive to such things. It's one of the very few issues where I have had to toe a political line!

  4. drand

    Rose-tinted spectacles

    So even in the good old days, Windows testing & QA was still shit.

  5. Arkeo

    Rome or Vatican?

    This is a thing I've seen on every version of Windows and MacOS and every Linux distro: if you click on Rome to select CET time zone and locale it always selects Vatican City first, Rome after a few clicks around the neighboring pixels. I mean it's not like Rome is the largest city in Italy by size and population right?

    1. Gerhard den Hollander

      Re: Rome or Vatican?

      it's the only city to contain an entire country

      1. midcapwarrior

        Re: Rome or Vatican?

        There are 3 city states, Monaco, Vatican and Singapore

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Rome or Vatican?

          And only one of them is inside another city.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Rome or Vatican?

          Of those states, one of them is not just a city, but a city and surrounding area including several islands without urbanization yet. It is a state that only has one real city in it, but not a state that's entirely enclosed in a city. Another is a state that is entirely enclosed in a city, but that city is not enclosed in another city, which is what they were talking about. So there is only one state that fulfills their criteria.

        3. arctic_haze

          Re: Rome or Vatican?

          And Lichtenstein is not even a city state. More like a village state.

        4. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

          Re: Rome or Vatican?

          Until Mussolini came along, Vatican City did not have any of the characteristics of a nation and it can strongly be argued that it still doesn't. Statehood was a legal fiction invented to resolve the "Prisoner in the Vatican" status of consecutive popes after the sovereignty of the Papal States was subsumed into the (then) Kingdom of Italy. Just like deposed heads of state of other countries were often given a legal status equivalent to ambassadors to avoid embarrassing legal questions being asked, being made head of state of a few ornately decorated buildings was a convenient solution to a diplomatic problem.

          Unfortunately it conferred on a politico-religious interest group diplomatic influence hitherto only reserved for real nations, like the right to issue passports, the ability to sign and be party to treaties, to claim diplomatic immunity, to levy its own and avoid other nations taxes, and later, representation in the UN and its committees - something no other religion has, nor deserves.

          No one has ever been born, grown up and lived, and died as a citizen of the Vatican City. The idea is inconceivable (pun intended). If every nation in the world cut off diplomatic relations with it tomorrow, nothing would disappear except some unearned privileges. It would also expose whatever is being concealed in certain archives to secular civil law, financial regulation and courts of human rights, something many religious institutions have painstakingly avoided for centuries.

      2. Arkeo

        Re: Rome or Vatican?

        Of 825 vs. 58+ millions... It's absurd, having to click around to find Rome and every OS always selects the Vatican. 0.44 vs. 1,287 square kilometers...

  6. Lee D Silver badge

    Maybe if we all just starting ditching weird and 30-minute timezones and things like daylight saving time, we could just have 24 possibilities, named by "+1", "+2", etc. and solve the problem once and for all.

    As it is Microsoft don't care about non-US timezones very much (and it's usually the cause of a lot of problems if you try to remove en-US everywhere even if you're not using it), but having to select "London" rather than "GMT + 0" is an annoyance I could really do without.

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      But then you have the EU, which insists on being 1 time zone, even though it really straddles 3. Most of Spain is West of the Meridian. Portugal is the same longitude as Dublin. Greece, Romainia, Bulgaria are really in +2.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Pedant alert!

        The EU straddles far more than three time zones. There are bits of France (which is in the EU) that are in the Caribbean and South America, plus a handful of islands in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific.

        1. PRR Bronze badge
          Black Helicopters

          > There are bits of France (which is in the EU) that are in the Caribbean and South America, plus a handful of islands in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific.

          And a hundred square miles, two seats in the French Parliament, off Newfoundland Canada.

          "Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are the last piece of French territory in North America. They are quite distinct from Newfoundland and Labrador,"

          Time zone UTC-03:00 • Summer (DST) UTC-02:00

          Oddly, I am told that ALL of CHINA, many thousand miles, is ONE time zone. You get up when the pigs need feed, or the factory whistle blows, nevermind the Arabic clock numerals. (Actually: you keep Beijing time, even on the western frontier.) Russia has 11, France has 12.

      2. envida

        Pedant alert! (2)

        The EU isn't all 1 timezone. The Republic of Ireland has GMT/UTC in the winter and Irish Standard Time (UTC+1) in the summer, so its the same as it is the UK. It didn't follow that between 1968 and 1971 where it just adopted UTC+1 all year.

        Portugal also has Western European Time (UTC) and Western European Summer Time (UTC+1), again the same as it is in the UK and Ireland. Although between 1992 and 1996 if followed Central European Time.

        Also, Central European time, which is what most of the EU follows also has some non-EU states following it as well

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge

          To paraphrase CGP Grey, The EU is such a mess of asterisks and exceptions that it's a story for another time. This isn't a physics video.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The EU is such a mess of asterisks and exceptions that it's a story for another time.

            Ain't that the truth.

        2. Rikki Tikki Bronze badge

          Pedant alert (3)

          And don't forget Eastern European Time (UTC +2) in Finland, the Baltics, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece.

          If Georgia (the country) joins, there will be yet another.

        3. arctic_haze

          Also Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece are using the Eastern European Time (UTC +2 in winter and +3 in summer).

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        But then you have the EU, which insists on being 1 time zone

        When did that happen?

        1. Arkeo

          Never. The Euro-zone alone (smaller than the EU) has at least 3.

          China really spans 3 time zones but only follow one for the whole Country.

      4. doublelayer Silver badge

        I think you need to look at a time zone map.

        "Most of Spain is West of the Meridian."

        True, and some parts use UTC+0, but most of it uses UTC+1.

        "Portugal is the same longitude as Dublin."

        And it uses the same time zone as Dublin. WET, UTC+00:00 during standard time. Exactly what you'd expect it to use.

        "Greece, Romainia, Bulgaria are really in +2."

        Oh, I should call them and tell them they have to stay there, then, because all three of those countries are already in +2.

        In trying to prove a point that the EU insists on a single time zone, which it doesn't, you missed that all but one, if we're being charitable, of your examples are simply wrong.

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Mea culpa


          I didn't look hard enough.

          Referring to

          I'm wrong about Eastern Europe.

          I'm wrong about Portugal


          Spain is mostly in 0, I see no mid-country divider.

          Frankly, France is too. A sane division would be between France, Belgium etc and Germany, Italy, etc.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Mea culpa

            Spain is mostly in 0, I see no mid-country divider.

            The mid-country divider is the water between the peninsula and the Canary Islands.

            The colour of the land and the red line around it tell you the peninsula is in +1 and the archipelago is in +0.

    2. ITS Retired

      Never happen. That makes too much sense and is easy to understand.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Iceland is on GMT+0 but don't do British Summer Time or equivalent, so needs a separate time zone.

  7. PapaPepe

    In the best of all possible Worlds... system designers would understand that:

    1) Not everybody wants to run a computer clock based on their geographical time-zone,

    2) There are countries where multiple languages are spoken,

    3) There are languages that are not official languages in any country,

    4) Country geographical borders do not make a categorical classification of planet surface.

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