Lau Taarnskov on the Trouble with Time Zones

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Handling date and time is a challenge in any language, but Lau Taarnskov is determined to solve that problem in Elixir. Lau is today’s guest on Elixir Wizards, and this episode is all about his contributions to Elixir. Lau has been involved with web development and e-commerce for decades. He started contributing to Elixir open source in 2014 and created the Calendar and tzdata libraries. Calendar is a datetime library for Elixir, that provides explicit types for datetimes, dates, and times, and full time zone support is provided via its sister package, tzdata. When it comes to the subject of date, time, and time zones, besides talking about it and writing software for it, Lau also writes about it on his blog, Creative Deletion.

This episode explores how Lau got started in programming, and what led him to creating Calendar and tzdata. Lau shares the resources that he found helpful when he started using Elixir, and why he was drawn to Elixir in the first place. We hear Lau’s opinions on time zones and daylight savings and whether or not they’re necessary, and he shares some advice for anyone working with time in Elixir.

Then it’s time for another edition of Pattern Matching with Todd, in which Todd Resudek asks Brooklyn Zekanka five questions to help us get to know her better. Brooklyn talks about everything from she has lived, what jobs she did before becoming a programmer, and her education in classical music, to her favorite bands, movies, and TV shows, as well as some of the projects she is working on. For all this, and more, don’t miss today’s episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Lau explains what TLAs are and why they aren’t always helpful for explicit communication.
  • Lau introduces himself and shares how he got into programming and computer science.
  • The resources Lau found most useful when he started using Elixir, including books he read.
  • What it means that Elixir’s source code is written in Elixir, and why that was helpful for Lau.
  • Lu talks about Calendar, a datetime library that Lau created for Elixir, and Tzdata, a parser and library he created for the tz database, and why he created them.
  • How Lau deconstructed the time zone problems and how his ideas have changed over time.
  • Lau’s opinions on time zones and daylight savings and whether or not they’re necessary.
  • Advice from Lau for anyone working with time in Elixir.
  • Another edition of Pattern Matching with Todd – today’s guest is Brooklyn Zelenka.
  • Where Brooklyn was born, where she has lived, and the jobs she did before programming.
  • Brooklyn talks about her musical background and how it’s similar to programming.
  • Brooklyn shares a pro tip about slides and reflects on her highlights as a speaker.
  • What Brooklyn would be doing if she weren’t a programmer and the genre of music she likes.
  • Brooklyn’s favorite TV shows and movies, including Amadeus and Mad Men.
  • Brooklyn shares what she’s working on currently and the next project she’s excited about.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Lau Taarnskov on Twitter – https://twitter.com/laut
Creative Deletion Blog – http://www.creativedeletion.com/
Lau Taarnskov on GitHub – https://github.com/lau
Calendar on GitHub – https://github.com/lau/calendar
Tzdata on GitHub – https://github.com/lau/tzdata
Elixir in Action – https://www.amazon.com/Elixir-Action
Programming Elixir – https://www.amazon.com/Programming-Elixir-1-6-Functional-Concurrent/
Brooklyn Zelenka on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/brooklynzelenka/ Brooklyn Zelenka on
Twitter – https://twitter.com/expede
Brooklyn Zelenka on GitHub – https://github.com/expede
FISSIONcodes Website – https://fission.codes/
SmartLogic — https://smartlogic.io/
Amadeus — https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/amadeus
Mad Men — https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/mad-men

Special Guest: Lau Taarnskov.

71 episodes