Frequently Asked Questions
What is ZmanimBot?
ZmanimBot is an Internet bot that connects to Google Talk and AOL Instant Messenger, and provides you with Zmanim that you request.
What are Zmanim?
Zmanim are halachic times, that regulate when a Orthodox Jews can pray, and the start and end time of holidays.
What commands can I use?
This is documented on the Syntax page.
What programs can I use? How do I send it an IM?
There are currently three ways to use the bot:
If you're using the first two options, you'll need to first add ZmanimBot to your Contact List. Each client will have instructions for doing so. If you're using the Web Interface the only thing you can message is ZmanimBot, so there's nothing to worry about.
Does ZmanimBot work with AIM?
Yes. The screen name there is ZmanimBot, and it works the same as on Gmail.
How does ZmanimBot work?
When you enter a location, the first thing ZmanimBot does is check if that location appears in its custom location file. If it doesn't, it looks up the latitude, longitude, and a description of the location on Google Maps, and the time zone on www.geonames.org. Using the latitude, longitude, and time zone found, it then calculates certain standard zmanim for the location using the ZmanimAPI, written by KosherJava.
How are the Zmanim calculated?
See theZmanimAPI site for details on this, as well as a disclaimer.
Yes, we probably know. Until we have a computer to permanently house it, ZmanimBot's online presence will be on and off. Even then, we will take it offline sometimes to fix things, or, simply, the Internet may be down.
Can I tell my friends about this?
Yes, please do. This is a public service, and I would like to serve as much people as possible.
I'm a programmer, and would like to help.
Sure! We don't have a sourceforge project or anything yet, but email us at ZmanimBot@gmail.comand we'll be in touch.
I'm not a programmer, but I have other questions or ideas.
Sure! We'd be glad to hear your feedback. Email us at ZmanimBot@gmail.com.
(C) 2008, Michael Kopinsky.