Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What do you think in?

I spent a good amount of time on the water as a kid, boating in the Puget Sound and further north into Canada. While mostly land-locked now, I miss a lot of the experience, and one such minor tradition is that of the ship's bell.

Obviously, carrying a bell around to ring as an IT consultant is out of the question; customers like a little quirk here and there but that would be rude, to say the least, during a meeting. But what do we have technology for, if not to satisfy our whimsy? Enter Ted Rathkopf's "Ship's Clock" app. I've got it running on my android HTC EVO, quiet hours set to 10PM - 8AM to keep it at least tolerable to the wife.

I found myself thinking at one point today, "one bell, it's 4:30" and wondering what sailors of yore thought. At a certain point a multi-lingual person is asked what language they think in; time is the same way. To a sailor only concerned with his watch, the concept of 4:30 isn't really important, but one bell, meaning a half hour into their watch, is more so. Ships bells were a different language for telling time.