Decimal watch, short update

My previous post on getting a decimal watch

I got my watch a couple of weeks after my previous posting and I have been wearing it pretty much ever since. I like it and for the most part both the watch and my expectations of how I would personally use it have been valid but…

More complexity than I had expected

Of course it is not exactly as I would have imagined. I had meant to only work with decimal time directly when using the watch. My plan was to memorise a handful of decimal equivalents to my regularly daily events and just use the watch to compare how close I was to them throughout the day. As a secondary usage the watch gives me something to glance at and see the day pass without really caring about the specific time.

My assumption was that the above two use cases would account for the overwhelming majority of my watch usage. The other use case I imagined was ad hoc times, like catching a bus and needing to compare against a time table that uses traditional time. Here I had already decided I would just use other time sources, like pulling out my phone (or looking at nearby clocks). I was OK with this because I suspected it would not do it often.

I knew others would ask me the time but I had not predicted how frequently that would happen. My wife's watch for example is broken and since she is picky about the style of watch she wears (and has yet to find something she 'loves'), she tends to just ask me the time. This means either pulling out my phone (which she could also do) or doing a quick calculation. Generally I have started to opt for the latter. So I am actually doing conversions far more often than I hoped.

Converting between time formats

I should say however that I am not doing the real/full calculation¹ here but rather using some tricks to do approximations. Certain times in the day have very obvious equivalents, e.g the four daily quarters of the day at 00, 06, 12, 18 on a 24 hour clock neatly match to 0, 2:50, 5, 7:50 in decimal time (I have also memorised a bunch of additional equivalents). With those as a base I can roughly work out other times. 10 decimal minutes is 14.4 standard minutes, which I tend to round up in my head to 15. So if I look at my watch and it shows 8:00 [decimal time] that is 5 markers after 7:50, which would be roughly 1 hour and 15 normal minutes after the final quarter of the day… or 19:15 (7:15PM) in traditional time (with the proper calculation it would actually be 19:12). Using simple tricks like that I can usually guess the time to within 5 minutes or so. That is often "good enough".

I am in two minds as to if this is a good thing however. I would like to just keep things simple and use the watch for myself using only its native time format. On the other hand a bit of thinking is probably good for me. 🤷

Anyway, this is just a small progress update. Let's see how things pan out as I wear this longer. 😉

Paying with my watch [just a side note]

I have replaced the provided strap with one that houses a micro contactless card, that I ordered from my credit card provider. Thus it is now a payment wearable and I am actually using it as my main payment device, without the need to have a smartphone/watch based on Apple or Google's ecosystem. This is super convenient as I do not have to carry a wallet all the time. In fact, even when I do have my wallet I often skip fishing it out of my pocket and just pay with my watch.

Tietoevry wearables demo video

Journal § 2023-02-06 @13:43 +0100

¹ Doing a proper calculation is too cumbersome to do on the fly. For example to work out the current time to the nearest decimal minute in the day you would need to convert the current traditional time to seconds passed in the day so far, i.e. multiple the number of hours (in 24hr format) by 3600 and add these to 60 times the number or minutes past the hour and finally add the seconds. After that you divide the result by 86.4. This is easy enough for a computer to do in a simple program or shell script but is way beyond the abilities of most humans, unless you happen to be Rainman. And this is the easier calculation! When someone wants to know the traditional time and your source is decimal time, good luck calculating that backwards in your head.

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