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nikespex
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:25 am    Post subject: Email notifications for voicemail have incorrect time Reply with quote Back to top

Beginning in late July, the voicemail notifications I receive from Vonage arrive in my inbox with an incorrect timestamp. The body of the email displays the correct date, but the date shown in the message headers (and in my inbox before opening the message) is 7 hrs in the future. Given that I am in Seattle, WA this appears to correspond to UTC time.

Tech support confirms that my account was migrated to new Vonage email servers at the time I started having problems (4 years of problem-free service prior to this), but refuses to admit this has caused the issue.

Anyone else notice incorrect timestamps? I'm using Mozilla Thunderbird as my email client.
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trekologer
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Can you post the "Date" header and the "Date" value in the body from one of the messages you received?
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nikespex
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Old date header:
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2009 10:37:26 -0700

New date header:
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2009 01:40:37 UTC

Looking closely at this, I think it is the fact that the zone is specified as a string ("UTC") instead of a numeric offset (+0000).
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trekologer
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The timezone is acceptable in either format per RFC 822 (which defines internet email standards) so that shouldn't be a problem. It is usually considered correct to use UTC and then offset the timezone based on the client.

It looks like Thunderbird may have a "known issue" with timezone settings in some cases. Check out these pages:

http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=646708&start=0

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Time_and_time_zone_settings
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nikespex
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thanks trekologer. Actually, according to RFC 2822 (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2822) the zone should be specified by a 4 digit offset. Specifying the zone in characters is an obsolete format.

See:
3.3. Date and Time Specification
4.3. Obsolete Date and Time

It would be nice if Thunderbird would parse the obsolete format as well, but then again, I guess that is why we have standards like the RFC.
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trekologer
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

nikespex wrote:
Thanks trekologer. Actually, according to RFC 2822 (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2822) the zone should be specified by a 4 digit offset. Specifying the zone in characters is an obsolete format.


RFC 2822 is only a "Proposed Standard", it hasn't been formally accepted as standard so RFC 822 still would prevail. There is also an RFC 5322 which is a "Draft Standard" to obsolete RFC 2822. My understanding is that RFC 5322 will ultimately be accepted as the standard, leaving RFM 2822 behind. Anyway, as you noted, both RFCs indicate that the timezone format should be a +/-NNNN number but that the obsolete format using letters must also be accepted.

The interesting part of your "Old date header" is that the time is already in your local time zone. So there would not be any timezone offset needed. I wonder what would happen if the date header was "Mon, 20 Jul 2009 11:37:26 -0600' which is equivalent to the time you posted. Would Thunderbird interpret them the same?
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nikespex
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Yes, "Old date header" was already in my local timezone. Checking messages with dates outside my local timezone, Thunderbird seems to do the conversion just fine when messages are sent with +/-NNNN.

For example:
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2009 23:40:37 -0300
(shows up as 8 Sep 2009 at 7:40pm in my inbox = correct PDT)

Perhaps the best example is to look at a message sent from Amazon.com:
Date: Mon, 7 Sep 2009 05:50:18 +0000 (UTC)
(shows up as 6 Sep 2009 at 10:50pm = correct PDT)
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Slyster
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Peruse here---> http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-find-the-right-time-to-email-anyone/
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trekologer
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

It looks like Thunderbird doesn't understand "UTC" as the timezone identifier. According to the RFC, if the client doesn't understand it, it is required to default to -0000. It also looks like there is a bug opened in the Bugzilla for not defaulting correctly when the timezone identifier is not understood, which affects both the mail and usenet reader components. So there definitely is an issue with Thunderbird. Have you tried using a different mail reader?
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