Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Question of the Day: 38.

How can a digital clock lose time?

The clock on Vuey's dashboard is never accurate. It loses a minute or two a month, requiring me each month to try to remember how to re-set it, and also trying to wonder if it's slow, or fast, or dead-on. It might be fast, because when I re-set it, I re-set it to be fast to try to avoid having to re-set the clock again next month... thereby guaranteeing that my clock is never accurate, so that when I tell Sweetie on the phone on the way home on Monday night that I'll be home by 6:00 and that by the "official time of my lateness" on Vuey's clock I still have six minutes, I can't be sure it's the official time.

All of which brings me back to the question of how a digital clock can lose time. It's a computer program. There's no moving parts to slow down or wear out or slip a gear. Do other computer programs randomly mess up, too? Will Word eventually not have the letter "q" and I'll call the computer guy and he'll say "oh, just re-set it every so often?"

To anyone who's afraid of a Matrix or Skynet situation: until a clock can keep accurate time, I wouldn't worry too much that we're going to be subjugated by computers.

Question of the day 37 here.


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