Tuesday 27 February 2007

Metric Time

As a computer scientist, working with standard units of time can be a frustrating experience. I'm sure the existing time and calendar systems made sense when everyone followed the gods, the moon, the sun, and the seasons but I think it's safe to say most of the first world population rely on a digital watch and computer-based calendar (and for those who don't, then there's even more reason to move away from their old world equivalents). Since no sane person uses imperial measurement anymore unless they're American or my mom (are either really sane?), I, Pope Michaelus I, hereby deem it 'time' to make the move to metric time. I think we all can handle it.

Everything in glorious units of ten (except weeks—a ten day week might kill me... oh yeah, and months will be a bit weird). So I propose not quite metric time and it all hangs on the seven-day week:

1 year = 10 months

It's pretty simple and time will seem like it goes even faster but you won't get old as quickly.

1 month = 4 weeks

We definitely need to keep months so we can continue having cake days at work once a month. I guess they're communal birthday celebration days really but it's not like I know half the birthday boys and girls anyway. Anyway, cake day might get lost in a year without months. 4 weeks (or 28 days) is a nice compromise and even though 28 is a weird number, at least it will be static. And no leap years—time can move independent of the sun so let it. A month could, following debate, be drawn out to 5 weeks for quasi-metric support but you know what those 31-day months are like—imagine every month being 35 days long. 28 days = more cake.

1 week = 7 days

I'm working a lot of overtime at work these days—mainly weekends—and from current hands-on experience I can tell you do I don't want a 10 day work week. Without a doubt, the business analysts and project managers would jump at the idea so this one's gotta be a special case and it's got to be set in stone up front. 7 is also a lucky number.

1 day = 10 hours

This is where things start getting a bit difficult. A ten hour 'day' is miles off our current 24-hour day so there'll definitely be some adjusting to do. If you put this in context with a week and weeks in months and months in years, those units also start going a bit wonky. But fingers crossed, it'll all work out something like Mexico with lots of sunshine and siesta time. And burritos.

1 hour = 100 minutes

I'm tempted to stick with 10s on this one but seeing as how we've already shrunk down days and stuff... 100 minutes per hour makes sense anyway. Sort of like those 90-minute classes they made me get through in high school—bearable, just. I think all the clock watchers at work would blow a fuse if an hour went by in ten minutes. At any rate, 100s are still metric, so stop your complaining.

1 minute = 100 seconds

No one cares about seconds anyway so just K.I.S.S.

1 second = 1 second

No more of this milli and micro b.s. Like I said, K.I.S.S. and I can never remember which is which so just forget it. Just talk about half a second or tenths of a second or .0484822999299000123 and you'll be fine. That's the beauty of the metric system. Could even just get rid of seconds altogether and just think about bits of a minute—easy!

And of course, most importantly, there will be no daylight savings. I actually read a post out from some guy who manually hacked the Windows registry to program Western Australia Daylight Savings into his PC before Microsoft released their dodgy patch that doesn't work with Vista. I'm a west-aussie so I had to dig around, you see. Anyway, geeks being geeks, I think this guy could have put his time and talents to better use. The debate rages over here but simplicity for us programmers pretty much blows all other arguments out of the water.

By the way, metric time started about half an hour ago so someone better find that registry hacker and see if he fix up our Windows clocks to work all metric like. No doubt Outlook will be off for a while but meetings are a waste of time anyway.

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