Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Cartoon
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
By the way... there's a crossword at the bottom of this page
Friday, March 9, 2012
On clocks and change
As I wander through the internet and, especially, Google News I often find ideas for blog posts. Today (Thursday) was no exception. I came across an article about a clock repairman [link].
Clocks are interesting things... and useful. I have had a long love-hate relationship with them. A necessary evil, I think. Human beings are fascinated by time, I suppose, since the beginning of... well, time. Maybe not that long since the beginning of time supposedly dates from shortly after the (theoretical) Big Bang and humans have only been around a couple of million years or so and timekeeping only within the last 3000 or 4000 years. I mean timekeeping in terms of hours, not days. I am sure methods for tracking days goes well back into the the Stone Age.
Water clocks, sun dials, various devices that use the flow of sand all preceded the mechanical clocks which provided more and more accuracy in time measurement. Accuracy in time measurement is important for more than getting to work on time. It is vital in navigation, for instance, and that is probably what drove most the advancements in timekeeping... once the concept of navigating by the stars was invented.
The article spoke of repairing mechanical clocks, mostly antiques. I grew up before battery operated and digital clocks were popular. We wound the clocks in our house. The heavy clock with chimes that would have sat on the mantle (if we had had a fireplace) but sat on a chest of drawers instead, the alarm clock in my parents' bedroom, the "grandfather" clock in the upstairs hallway. All had to be wound, some more than once a day. My father took care of these, as I recall.
Wrist watches had to be wound, also. A difficult thing to do with that tiny stem and knob.
Me? I ignored clocks. My parents made sure I was up and dressed in time for school, made sure I arrived on time to wherever I was supposed to be, and generally were my timekeepers. Otherwise, I just paid attention to where the sun was in the sky and the length of shadows on the ground.
I never wore a wrist watch for more than a few days at a time. Hated them. Still do. I still don't wear one. I won't wear one. Don't need them. Plenty of other people wear them and I have a fairly accurate clock in my car and there are clocks in stores and offices and on my computer and my cell phone. With so many places to get the time from, why do I need something on my wrist?
I don't think I wore a watch in the entire time I was in the Navy (clocks were everywhere on board ship and all the various buildings ashore) nor during my 34 years with the Bell System.
There is a line in the article that caught my fancy:
They don't know that these machines need periodic cleaning and oiling, and their children can't always read an analog dial.
When my son was about 5 or 6, he and his friend Chris were about to leave for the friend's house. I wanted him back by 5 PM and told him.
I asked him to keep an eye on the clock but he said didn't know how to read one.That's when Chris piped up and said he knew how to tell time. I said, "Really? What time is it now?" and pointed at the wall clock in the kitchen.
"Oh, I can't tell time on one of those. Just on the ones with the numbers that light up," Chris responded.
And then I came across an interesting ZDNet article about the iPad and the evolution of portable computing. Is the tablet the battery powered digital clock of the computing industry? PC upgrade cycle