Vincent balances calculator and paper for speed.

12 Jun

FROM Vincent

Yeah, it’s a bizarre thing – adding one thousand, six hundred TIMES up!

The problem with calculators is: they are great for multiplying and dividing – save LOTS of time.

But when adding long sets of figures, you only have to push ONE wrong button and you screw the pooch.

So I MENTALLY – on PAPER – added the seconds, putting them into groups of nine hundred or so.

Then ran a felt tip over the figures done. Then I did likewise with the minutes. Obviously, I was careful to put the minutes in one place and the seconds in another.

That left me with two MUCH SMALLER groups of numbers to add up – which I again did on paper.

Finally, I had two LARGE numbers – one minutes – the other, seconds.

THEN I brought in the calculator to divide the seconds by sixty. This gave me that figure in minutes – which I added to the MINUTE number.

Then, on the calculator, I deducted the whole minutes and multiplied the remainder by sixty, to get the remaining seconds – which I put in a separate place.

Then – again, on the calculator – I divided the total MINUTES by sixty, to get the hours.

Finally, I repeated the trick of removing the whole hours from the calculator, then multiplying the remainder by sixty – to get the remaining MINUTES.

With me so far? (If so, I’m probably explaining it wrong).

This, finally – after about THREE HOURS – gave me the EXACT sum total of the duration of all my uploads.

Since my 1,600 pieces include items that last seconds, records that last minutes, bits of video that last 5-15 minutes – and a few pieces that last up to an HOUR – it had been IMPOSSIBLE to guess the accurate duration of my uploads – or their AVERAGE duration.

But using a “gut-feeling” – I had estimated the total at probably somewhere between 100 and 150 hours – say 125.

It turned out to be 124 hours, 36 minutes and 4 seconds.

And using that same gut-feeling, I had estimated the individual average at between 4 minutes and 4 minutes 30 seconds.

4 minutes 40 seconds.

Far from being impressed with my accuracy – I was MORTIFIED! All that bloody work for NOTHING!!!

Okay – at least my figures are now KNOWN, rather than being vague, of-the-top-of-my-head numbers.

But it was curiously anti-climactic!

It was just a VERY, VERY BIG example of the system I believe I was taught IN school – to add TIMES up. I haven’t USED it in DECADES – but those early things STICK with you!

(I actually “DEVISED” the method myself – but I’m pretty sure I was just subconsciously remembering the system I was taught in school).

Some systems these days use hours, minutes or seconds with DECIMALS – which of course, is much easier for COMPUTERS to deal with than having divisibles (is that right?) of SIXTY.

But those systems have to use ONLY hours, minutes OR seconds – so they have their limitations.

“The machine ran for 17.947116 hours.” Or – “The machine ran for 15,377.286 seconds.” Eh???!

Of course, if you say (calculator out – that’s 17 hours and 56.82696 minutes – which in turn is 56 minutes and 49.6176 seconds – call it 49.6) it ran for 17 hours, 56 minutes and 49.6 seconds – or (again with the calculator) for 4 hours, 16 minutes and 17 seconds – then PEOPLE can relate to it!

– Vincent

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One Response to “Vincent balances calculator and paper for speed.”

  1. Vincent June 14, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    Yes – well of course, converting to decimal money is one thing – but they’ve tried decimalising time and it DIDN’T WORK! Our planet takes around 365.25 days to go round the Sun – and trying to alter THAT… remember “The Day The Earth Caught Fire”?

    I am reminded of the man who went into a wood store in the early Seventies, when decimalisation was first being forced onto the great British public.

    The man asked for some two-by-four. The elderly assistant said, “Ooh I’m sorry sir – we’re not allowed to CALL it that anymore. Now it’s called (something in centimetres).”

    “Fine,’ said the man, “How much is it?”

    “Half-a-crown a foot.”

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