“Brady thinks he can troubleshoot this,” said the email from my friend Karen. This is a highly Apple-centric household (Karen used to commute to Cupertino), so if anyone might have an answer to my iCal problems, someone there ought to.
We deleted .plist files (the first line of intervention in any Mac problem, apparently) and made a test. “I've never seen anything like this,” Brady said, when I demonstrated the problem. “Yes, I have a talent for having Mac problems no one has ever had.”
Here is the issue. I travel. I want my appointments in iCal and my iPhone to remain stable. If say, I put in my calendar in Seattle that next Tuesday I'm to board a plane at 1:30pm in Chicago, I want to know that, when I'm in Chicago, it's still going to say 1:30pm, and not 3:30pm. I want the only time zone that matters to be me. I want stable, unvarying times in my calendar, just the way I put them there.
Apple has other ideas. The default in iCal is to vary the starting time of any event, depending where on the globe you've transposed yourself to.
The way you're supposed to make it work so that this doesn't happen is to turn on “Time Zone Support,” and then set every appointment to “Floating.” It will Float in one's own personal time zone, no matter your global position. That's what they say.
Here's what I showed Brady. I set my laptop on Eastern time. I made an appointment in iCal for 6pm, using the protocol above. I synced my iPhone. I reset my laptop to Pacific time. In both my iPhone and the laptop, the 6pm appointment is now set to 3pm.
And not only that. Every appointment that I made on the laptop is now backed up 3 hours. The only ones that didn't move were the ones that were created on the iPhone and synced the other way. iPhone doesn't have time zone support. I'm in the local time zone that I made the appointments, so they show up under Pacific time, not Floating.
“It's not supposed to work that way,” said my Mac expert. “And you'll vouch that you witnessed this. No one believes me,” I said.