I bet FileMaker didn't test their two machine solution on one that was not in the same time zone and I can see why this happened. No, I don't know the solution to make it work as you have set up. Maybe a good PHP developer who is also a DBA would know.
I assume there is a reason for not putting the two on the same machine or at the same location? Would that be a possibility?
Regarding item 2, I bet your security settings are not allowing the FileMaker server user account write to that RC folder. What are the permissions for your RC folder that has all of the container documents?
This way out of my league, but just a thought: would it be possible to use universal time instead of time zone references?
Thanks all for the reply.
I have solved my first problem, by commenting the error reporting line in my php page, since the error reporting was handled on the server.
But I still face the second issue above.