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June 8th, 2005

Swatch Internet Time

Back when the web was still a relative phenomenon, there were some ca-razy ideas thrown around. By far my favorite though is Swatch Internet Time.

The idea isn’t horrible, I guess: one “time” for the entire globe, all the time. Like right now, it’s 531. It’s 531 in London, 531 in Spain, and 531 in Ryan’s backyard.

But there’s just one small obstacle with Swatch Internet Time: no one used it. Oh, sure, maybe some people put a little time converter on their WWW Home Pages back in the day. But come on… no one’s going to think of redividing up the day into 1000 “beats” and then using that instead of the good ol’ AM and PM.

Undoubtedly there was a marketing meeting at Swatch where someone suggested that Swatch Internet Time would show how “cutting edge” and “trendy” Swatch is. I hope the people that suggested that were fired – right at 102.

Posted in Just Plain Odd

DATE: Wednesday June 8, 2005 -- 10:13:30 am
I remember that! Never understood it then, don't really understand it now! So the day it split up into 1000 beats, but how does that make it the same time across teh world? Maybe im being really thick?

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday June 8, 2005 -- 10:18:15 am
Remember, though, there's a rip in the time-space continuum located in my backyard, so it's actually on 530 there.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Wednesday June 8, 2005 -- 2:11:42 pm
It's all an insidious plot to metric-fy time. I'm sure the French are behind it.

FROM: Greg
DATE: Wednesday June 8, 2005 -- 3:30:46 pm
At first I thought it was a stupid idea. Then I thought about it. Just think, no more daylight savings time, no more having to adjust your watch when traveling, and there would no longer be a debate of supper and dinner!

FROM: Aaron [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday June 9, 2005 -- 4:13:19 am
It's always 420 here in San Francisco.

FROM: Koji
DATE: Thursday June 9, 2005 -- 12:35:51 pm
This is been already working since the 1800s. Is called GMT. If you told somebody in Japan and Australia to call you at 7:00pm GMT, they would call you at the same time. Make the conversion at home with this:

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday June 11, 2005 -- 4:04:56 pm
I agree with Koji. Things would all be better if everyone just used GMT. It would not prevent coworkers in other time zones from scheduling meetings during your lunchtime, though. Alas.

While we're at it, down with daylight savings time. What a silly idea.

In terms of alternative time measurements, I always wanted hexadecimal time. Two bytes to store the time of day, so 65536 units per day. A unit works out to about 1.5 seconds. Everyone would have to compute time in hex. And it wouldn't be too bad: 0x1000 is an hour and a half exactly. 0x100 is a tad more than five minutes. 0x30 is pretty close to a minute. See? It'll all work out.

And then clocks could have four hands (just three for cheapo clocks). Wouldn't that be cool.

Besides, I'm a programmer. I waste tons of time converting our funky time system into something the computer can handle. Let me tell you, it is not fun.

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday June 11, 2005 -- 4:07:35 pm
And no, I did not accept Swatch time. It was neat that someone else was doing something funky to get us away from this 60-base system. But my idea was better, of course.

They were pretty trendy to call it "internet time". I believe that Swatch came out with this around '94 or so. That's early to be associating anything with the internet. Or maybe I'm thinking of some other Swatchy thing they tried...

FROM: Johnny
DATE: Monday July 17, 2006 -- 8:21:44 am
A hexadecimal time format induces a hexacecimal metric system for all weights and measures.


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