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Friday 25 September 2009

What sex is your computer - & 3 Brilliant ideas

Are you one of those for whom time always seems to be moving at the wrong speed? When we are bored it slows and drags, when engaged in some exciting project it flies by and there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week. Lying awake at night it almost stops. At my age it is increasingly lethargic. For those unfortunate enough to have such problems, the depressed find that it crawls and cannot be prodded into faster life, but for the manic it, too, goes at a hundred miles an hour and there is nothing to be done to slow it down. If you happen to be a tad obsessional you will be focussed too firmly on time future at the expense of the present, whereas if anxiety is your black dog you will be interested mainly in time past.

This is all very well known, of course. I mention it only because this last week I discovered that there was help at hand. Well, if not help, then certainly illumination.

You have but to click here to be whizzed away to the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory. Here you will be asked a series of questions and rated according to the degree to which you are influenced by : Past Negative, Past Positive, Present Fatalism, Present Hedonism, Future and Transcendental Future. You can also, should you so wish, take what they call the Transcendental-future Time Perspective Inventory - but I'll leave you to discover all about that for yourself. (Just so there's no misunderstanding: so far as I have been able to make out none of this has anything to do with Transcendental Meditation - just thought I'd make that clear.

From a source that must remain anonymous, I learn that a certain police sergeant was in trouble with his inspector for referring to one of his P.Cs (female) as a W.P.C.. This, apparently, is offensive in the present climate. It is like referring to an actor (female) as an actress. Well beyond the pale, no? This one worries me, though, and not least because I had not realised that computers came with gender differences. How do you tell? What is it about my friendly inspector's computer that marks it out as being female? Is there a test for it? Can I buy one in P.C. World? It really worries me that I have not noticed any such distinguishing features in any of the computers I have had dealings with in the past. And certainly not in the one I am up close and personal with at the moment. What has happened to me? Am I slipping? And what mightn't I have done in close contact with them over the years, and not even been aware that I was doing it? It does of course answer one mystery: the question of why it is (allegedly) that so many officers would prefer to be in the station playing with their computers rather than out on the beat.

No doubt it had to happen, and on the 5th November it will happen, for on that auspicious day Penguin will publish a volume containing over sixty of the world's classic novels Twitterized. This, apparently, is what Elizabeth Bennett is reduced to: It's as if the less he seems to care about me, the more drawn to him I am. This seems the opposite of how it should be? Oh well.

From a source which modesty forbids me to divulge comes the most brilliant idea of all. An idea that foretells the day when you will click on File on your word processor and see, not just the options New, Open, Save, Save as, but now: New, Open, Save, Save as, Save as verse. Think about it: You will have typed into your W.P. (something like) It had been a wet night, but Jim had remained focussed on the small float bobbing in the dark pool at the end of his line... and at that point the muse had walked out on you, slamming the door as she went - obviously not intending to return any time soon. Dejectedly you click on File, are about to click on Save as when inspiration (daughter of the muse who has just left) whispers in your ear. Following her suggestion, you click instead on Save as verse and are rewarded with:

the angler -
his dreadful intensity
in the evening rain!

Okay, so Buson (painter-poet, 1716-83) got there before the computer on that occasion, but one day the computer will get there first and you will be famous. I understand (from my not-to-be-divulged source) that the originator of the idea is prepared to let Microsoft have the idea to develop for free, as that is all it is just now, just an idea.


Crafty Green Poet said...

very entertaining post!

I'm often intrigued by how the passage of time is perceived differently in different situations

Athelas said...

I know of no reason the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot...is that publishing date ironic or plain cynical? An interesting statement concerning Twitter.

At my age...I have no sense of time. There is only now....no later, no future or past. Time passes (according to clocks and due dates), but I couldn't tell you how fast or how slow. I desire old age.

Jim Murdoch said...

I did your wee time-thingy - apparently I'm not living in the present. What can I say?

Karen said...

Thanks for the smiles this morning, Dave. I'm headed over to the time links - when I can find the time!

Titus said...

As one who was once a proud W.P.C and W.D.C. I always thought it was fairly handy as a preface, for it gave dispatchers and supervisors a clue what to expect from the human resources they had on duty (and I'm sure that victims of certain violent crime still prefer a woman officer). It all disappeared once you got to Sergeant though, as everyone became P.S. or D.S. - the W. just disappeared. Probably in preparation for Inspectorhood, for had it stayed all the female Inspectors would of course be W.I.s.
Not the right image.
Amusing post all round!

Dave King said...

Crafty Green Poet
Not really my forte, but I can't resist trying every now and then.

I wondered about that, too. It can't be entirely accidental - can it? Having said which, a warm welcome to my blog, and my thanks for taking time out to comment.

I am much aware of time passing whenever I look back, but it still slows down a bit when I try to peer forard into the fog. I think I shall have to try your way with it.

Wow! Did you find out where you are?

There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

(Eliot : Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock)

Dave King said...

I agree with you completely. (Except the final sentence, of course, about which I can make no comment other than "Thank you".) Another example of that other P.C. going too far?

Friko said...

Amusing post, the way I like them; witty and with a bit of bite.
My (male) mac tells me that there should also be a button for "Save as written by a barrelful of monkeys".

steven said...

ha! dave i cancelled my newspaper subscription so i could read real news like this!!! i would love to be the next buson - i will pay for that software!!! cool idea. i would also like a button "save as though by an organized person who will be able to find it later -quickly!" hilarious post dave thankyou very much.


Jinksy said...

This had me chortling. But I can't see a computer serving up iambic pentameter to order, let alone a sonnet with correct rhyme scheme... Time, no doubt, will tell?!

Carl said...

Hmmm. Lots o' bits to ponder today. Thanks Dave!


Tess Kincaid said...

My P.C. is definitely a "she".

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

Fun post. I was going to ask where Apple's fit in the gender stakes? It was useful to have Titus' comment. Such thoughts hadn't occurred! The poetry button would be indispensable.

Totalfeckineejit said...

I've been musing over the concept of time on my blog too.As for the other muse,save as blog is a wizzard idea, well done mystery man!As for computer gender mine is undoubtedly female and if you think I am going to expound on that ye may think again!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Freudian slip there ,Dave.Save as verse of course.Oh! how we give ourselves away.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I agree with you about time in the night when one can't sleep Dave - I look at the clock thinking hours have passed and it is about five minutes since I looked previously. Pre holiday week always makes the time crawl I find. As for all this new fangled technology due to hit our computers - I shall ignore it completely. I have only just learned the basics and I shall not click on anything new for anybody so there!

hope said...

My computer is male. Always has been. The first one was a Mac. ;)

This one is named Jack, short for jackass. Because he has a mind of his own, is stubborn and only performs when he feels what I'm inquiring is actually necessary.;p

Now I'm going to go find out what time zone my brain is living in.

Karen said...

You've quoted some of my favorite lines, Dave. Wish I'd thought to do that!

Now, I'm finding the time...

Anonymous said...

Lying in bed, can't get to sleep, the only consolation, there is no noise of the seconds ticking away - it's a digital clock. On the other hand, should I open my eyes, the digits are glaring back at me, red, angry, they appear to be. Just pull the blankets up! As for my computer, it has multiple personalities - both male and female - can't make up it's mind, although it's known as Mac, short for Mackenzie, unisex name of C20.

Dave King said...

Wonderful idea. Your (male) Mac is obviously on the ball!

That is also one stupendous idea. Maybe we ought to collect these ideas and send them off to Microsoft.

Should be a doddle for any self-respecting computer. The key question is whether the iambic pentameters and rhymes will make sense as you and i understand sense. However, I have this theory that anything that is language makes sense of some sort.

More than I'd realised, it seems!

But not a W.P.C. Take a house point.

But maybe the poetry button might become a tad over-used, thinkest thou?

Well, that last bit is a touch mean, no? I am dsiappointed. Second comment: I had realised the slip, but not that it was Freudian.

The Weaver of Grass
Well said, a very positive approach, if I might say so.

Your computer sounds as though he might be related to mine.

Anything to oblige!

Studio Sylvia
Hi and welcome to my blog. You describe the experience exactly. We've all been there, I am sure. You touch on a very salient point, I think. we all have our male and female sides, why not our computers also?

Welcome to my blog and many thanks for making the comment.

Dick said...

A riveting test. I'm still analysing my results. Highest on Future, lowest on Present Fatalistic. How did you make out, Dave?

Rush me a Save as Verse plug-in. A brilliant notion indeed. A blogosphere Nobel for the inventor.

anthonynorth said...

I played around with Twitter recently. It was a good editing exercise, but I soon became bored. Although it did make my work more snappy.

Jeanne Estridge said...

I took a class at church once, called "Cooperating with God for a Change," where the teacher (who had a PhD in psychology and double masters in psych and theology) posited that people (at least, Western people) handle time in one of two ways:

People he characterized as "through time" are "punctual. They wear watches, and are very aware of the passing of time" (e.g. yours truly).

Of the other group, whom he dubbed "in time," he said, "Time just seems to swirl around them."

Group B makes Group A crazy.

Sheila said...

A friend of mine just lent me a series of BBC mysteries called Waking the Dead, the plot of which revolves around a cold case squad. One of the cases they're trying to crack has to do with a kidnapper who broke contact in the middle of negotiating the ransom exchange and then killed his victim. Five years later he's on the move again and the profiler suggests he's resurfaced because he wants the head copper to get it right this time. What was the initial error. He stipulated a WPC make the drop and they sent a PC. The plot thickens around that little error. It's all rather twisted, in the end but some people really care. I'd suggest that the new pink ones from Apple are always female but in these gender bender days it's probably not a safe bet. Maybe you should check the sockets on the side. I hear they're also always male or female.

Conda Douglas said...

What a fun post, Dave. I enjoyed every bit of it--except for "Twittering" the classics, perhaps? Is there no shame in the world left? Although Julius Caesar would be right at home twittering, after all he did go, saw and conquered in less than 140 characters.

Rachel Fenton said...

Save as verse - what a brill idea!
Thoroughly enjoyed this post! Our clocks just went forward an hour in NZ and what chaos has ensued in our household - a very timely post, indeed!

There's no point trying to keep an idea from microsoft really though, is there? Even if one patented it. If they wanted to they are big enough to use the idea and make it not worth your while to dispute the matter in court because, unless you were a huge company like - um, say microsoft - you could not afford the legal fees.

Apologies for the reckless mixing of tenses there, too!

Dave King said...

Intersting... I was highest on Past Positive and lowest on future. Like Jim I don't appear to be anywhere in the present - though it was only Jim's remarl that first alerted me to the possible significance of that fact!

Maybe I should patent the idea and not let Microsift have it for nothing as I had considered doing!

I've had a couple of looks at twiotter, but no more than that. Haven't put my toes in as yet. I can see it might be good for me in that respect. Might have a go.

Interesting that. I think I'm a "through timer". I did vow that once I had retired I would cast off watches and ignore the clocks, but it hasn't worked out that way. The leopard is too old ...

Good thinking there! Yes indeed, they are always male or female... but I do believe that on computers they are always female!

I did know a guy who reckoned he could rewrite the Bible in 240 characters. That was before Twitter, but I do sometimes think of him and wonder if he's now lopped off the extra hundred!

Mmmm... You are absolutely right, of course. I was happy there for a moment... Ah, well.

I think the chaotic mixing of tenses is probably very significant. Maybe you operate on a different plane and are above the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory thingy!

Unknown said...

Being behind the times, I purchased two books of T.S. Eliot poems that I am reading and enjoying once more. One book was on sale, a promotion but the other was more complete so I purchased both. Thank you for some sunshine in my hair. My computer is gay and conflicted, but I enjoyed your post. SAVE AS... funny and brilliant.

A Cuban In London said...

In that case, arrest me, too. I still use the term 'actress' and it wasn't so long ago at a poetry reading that someone corrected me when I said the word 'poetess'. Maybe because in Spanish we still say 'poetisa'.

Cracking post.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Roxana said...

ahahahah - brilliant, Dave :-)

Dave King said...

It's not one of those pink ones, is it? Thanks for the reply, Linda.

A Cuban in London
Yeah, I still use all those naughty words... see you inside!

Thanks - very perceptive of you!

Totalfeckineejit said...

There is no feeling worse than disappointmet!

Totalfeckineejit said...

There is no feeling worse than disappointmet!

readingsully2 said...

I will check this out. :) Oh my God political correctness. Most of us refer to boats as girls too.

Kilauea Poetry said...

This was interesting. I lost my data on the Z.T.P..when I pushed the back button? No biggy. I like this though.

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