03 May

I wish I could have a watch that would just randomly change time every so often. Like, just skip two minutes forward, or something. This might sound like one of my craziest ideas yet… but just give me a chance 😉 to explain.You see, I have this annoying bad habit of always leaving as late as possible to go anywhere. I usually tend to be doing something, and want to do as much as possible before heading off for wherever it is that I’m going.

But I really really hate being late for things. In school and uni I got to be rather proud of my reputation for immaculate time-keeping. (Tho’ in latter years, immaculate attendance was enough of a talking-point never mind time-keeping.)

So… this is where time-keeping devices come into play. Of course, if you want to fine-tune your timing to this accurate a level, you need to be pretty sure of where you stand time-wise at all times… or so you would think!

Well, there’s the classic “set your watch fast then you’ll never be late for anything” advice. But no… it doesn’t hold true for me. I tend to work on ‘relative time’: It takes me x-minutes to get somewhere, need to be there by y-(watch)-time, so I just do the comparative sums.

And no matter how I try and convince myself to allow more than x minutes, or pretend that y-watch-time corresponds to GMT slightly differently from how it really does, I just can’t seem to get this model working. I’m a computer scientist… sums come out either right or wrong. They’re just not wishy-washy entities.

So that leaves me with limited alternatives.

  1. Don’t wear a watch. Ok, been there, done that, worn the t-shirt to every university exam I’ve ever sat. (Ok, I would certainly not advise that tactic to any budding students out there… it was a very deliberate and thought-out decision, and I always believed I would regret it, tho’ I never have!)
  2. Use multiple out-of-sync time-keeping devices. This one actually works better than you may think.However, after five years of this, I’m reluctantly becoming just too much of an expert for even my liking. Ok, I do appreciate being able to catch my train with a pretty decent degree of accuracy… but I’m beginning to notice my timekeeping ‘slip’ as I’ve begun to memorise how much “out” the clocks at work are from my desktop pc, and exactly how many seconds it takes me to appear in front of a different whiteboard than usual.
  3. Have a variable watch. So yeah, one consistent place to ‘timesync’ my efforts by, yet at the same time, deliciously unreliable so I continually have to be re-adjusting my time-calculations to take account of the most recent variations.

Ok, I can see a raft of practical difficulties in implementation of this latest idea… Even just having a set of meaningful logical principles behind it (in order to be able to code it up) yet have those principles suitably unpredictable to dis-enable me from “factoring them in” is a large enough hurdle that I’m not even going to think about trying to jump it at the moment.

But, if someone else were to do all the hard work, 😛 I suspect I’d quite happily invest in the little wrist-decoration! Albeit with very opinionated ideas about how they’d not sorted out all the principles correctly, but it would be a million times better than a watch that – of all things – told you the real time!

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Posted by on Thursday, May 3, 2007 in selfish


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