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Archive for March 2018

A personal clock

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Daylight saving time just switched over in Canada and the US, which always elicits collective shock that our system of telling time is arbitrary and kind of unhelpful. It made me think about other ways of measuring time that might be better.

One option is to use a simple decimal time system with a universal meridian. I’m fond of Swatch Internet Time, because it’s simple and based in the cyberutopian marketing mess of the late 1990s.

Another option is to use hyperlocal astronomical information on a local clock. When is sunrise, solar noon, sunset and solar midnight, where you are right now? What phase is the moon in? How many days since the last equinox or solstice?

A hyperlocal clock or calendar might also include natural phenomena. Here in Montreal, for example, the time when the maple sap starts to run is an important local event, which makes all the papers and the TV news. Really! Or when the amaryllis blooms in Northern California. Or maybe the frequency of buses and trains, which surge at commute times and go to nearly zero after midnight.

I think there might be an interesting next step of refinement – a personal clock that measures time according to your personal daily rhythm. It could measure things like

  • What time you “naturally” wake up
  • What time you fall asleep
  • What times you eat
  • What times you go to the bathroom
  • What days you menstruate and ovulate
  • What time is best for you to focus
  • What time is best for you to exercise
  • What time is best for sex

Knowing your own body’s regular rhythms, and your mind’s, would help you know when you are scheduling in conflict with those rhythms.

Can you realistically work 11 hours straight tomorrow? Should you plan on an 8pm dinner with a client? When can you find time to work on your latest painting?

It’d also be interesting to compare your personal clock with those of other people you live and work with. If someone on your team is on a four-meal cycle, maybe inviting them for lunch at noon doesn’t make sense, and you should instead take a walk mid-afternoon when you both need exercise.

It’d be tough to get the numbers right, though. When is the “natural” time for you to eat your first meal? The haphazard times you do it now? The time you pick on weekends or vacation, when you don’t have other time constraints? The time that you eat the most, or the time that you eat the least? Or the time that your circadian rhythm spoots out the most hunger hormones into your bloodstream?

Regardless, it feels like a personal clock indexed to your own physical and psychological needs and abilities would be a great way to look at time.

So that makes 3 clocks:

  • Decimal and universal
  • Local and astronomical
  • Personal

I think the first two might be easy to program, and the last one will be hardest. I’m interested to see if this is a project I want to put time into.


Written by evanprodromou

March 12, 2018 at 9:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized

My 28-day 30-day challenge

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I’ve been trying to focus my side projects into discrete 30-day challenges. This is less about keeping going, and more about keeping bounded. EvanCoin is a good example of a 30-day challenge I pulled off last year.

In February 2018, I decided to focus on one of the side-projects I’d been toying with for months: headgames.blog. I’d been thinking about developing a blog about actual play RPG podcasts for a while, and concentrating that effort into a 30-day challenge would make it a little easier. (What’s an actual-play RPG podcast? It’s a podcast where people actually play a role-playing game or RPG.) Concentrating on a short month, like February, makes it even easier.

I decided to try to write a full blog post each day of the month. On Head Games, I’ve been writing reviews of episodes, explainers for podcast series, and opinion pieces on actual play RPG podcasts. I only managed to get things written 19 out of the 28 days, but it feels exhausting nevertheless.

One thing I learned is that time is of the essence when you’re trying to write for an audience. Review blog posts I wrote in the 24 hours after a podcast episode dropped were much more popular than ones I posted a few days later.

There also seems to be very focused fandoms in this area. Even though the podcasts often cover similar territory, it seems like fans of one podcast don’t really want to read about other podcasts.

It was hard doing this much writing. I got a lot less sleep in February than in January; I spent 2-3 hours a night on the computer, writing or researching each story.

And for the reviews, I only covered a half-dozen podcasts, and it felt like an effort to make them all work. I really had to listen to each episode 2-3 times in order to get detailed reviews worth writing, and sometimes I had to go back and listen to parts of old episodes to get facts straight.

But I found it really rewarding. I listen to podcasts a lot, and I don’t often talk about them. Having readers with opinions about my opinions made for some worthwhile conversations.

Now that the month is over, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing. Ideally, I’d find some partners who love a particular podcast and would like to take over the section for that one. I’m not sure how well that will work, but I think it’s the only way to make this project keep going forward.

My next 30-day challenge? Home repair. Gonna try to get some of the TODOs I’ve had for the house out of the way as we go into Spring here in Montreal.


Written by evanprodromou

March 1, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Posted in 30day