Category Archives: Politics and Society

Articles about society, people, and politics.

The great watch conspiracy

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…or what happens at 10 past 10?

…or a celebration of conformity in the PR-business?

Search for any image of watches… chances are 90-99% of them show the time 10:10.

Why is that? Conspiracy? (Illuminati?!) Brain washing? Lack of imagination? EU/US standards? Laws against unjust competition? Fear of competitor advantages? Fabric settings?

I have no clue… But I do have 50 images of watches, all set to somewhere from 10:05 to 10:15… most almost spot on 10:08 or 10:12.

There are a few “wild” ones out there going as far as 10:20… but that’s Nike… and look… Diesel also goes to 10:20… Both are digital… New conformity?

Then we have the (not so wild) wild ones, (Adrenaline) that set their watches to ten to two…

Searching the web (mentalfloss, Google Answers, and petapixel) gives the following bits of info:

  • It was not the time of death of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King
  • It was not the time when the atom bombs were dropped, either on Hiroshima nor on Nagasaki
  • It is about aesthetics; the hands are symmetrically placed, which makes the clock look nice (and not broken or unbalanced – something you’d probably not want from a clock)
  • It is also about practicalities; the hands are not on top of each other, on top of the company logo, or on top of any date displays or other extra features (however the last one can be disproved by several of the above-depicted clocks – e.g. the Calvin Kline clock would show more extra features if it was set to 09:15.)
  • It is also to make the clock look happier, you could achieve the above by setting it to 08:20, but then the clock would seem like it’s frowning

That’s all good and well… but… the digital clocks…? None of the above reasons are valid for them… other than the fact that setting them to 10:10 or similar follows some company policy. Timex sets their clocks to 10:09:36 exactly, just to mention one such company policy.

Why the death penalty is wrong

anti-death-penaltyI’ve spent some time thinking about the death penalty and why it’s such a bad idea. Some of my reasons are:

  • People aren’t one hundred percent perfect one hundred percent of the time, and the death penalty is a one hundred percent permanent punishment
  • You can’t give life back to the dead, so maybe you shouldn’t be so eager to take it from the living?
  • Isn’t the death penalty just another kind of murder? And what gives the executioner the right to do something no one else is allowed to do?
  • You can’t compare murderers to wild animals in order to justify the death penalty because people aren’t animals!
  • Neither religion nor nature really grants us the right for revenge or any other way to kill someone else
  • Personal reasons and lust for revenge is not a valid reason to ask for a perpetrator to be executed–personally involved people aren’t even allowed to serve as judges or in any other official capacity in the court proceedings, the sentencing or the punishment (the term is “disqualification,”) why should personal reasons be used to demand the death penalty?

Continue reading Why the death penalty is wrong

Those who think they’re not communicating….

I came across a quote some years ago. I wasn’t able to find it now but it went something along the line:

Anyone wanting to send a message in film should go to the telegraph office instead.

My spontaneous thought is:

Those who think they can open their mouth – or even stick their head out the door – without communicating something, are fooling no one but themselves… And the likelihood of these people communicating anything of interest is probably purely coincidental.

Time to put the IT-business out of its misery?

I just came across this article about the Apple-Samsung battle:

I’ve decided software patents pisses me off… and if they are allowed to be honoured 100% as patent laws intends it… we could just put the IT-business out of its misery and go back to pen and paper (unless there’s a “writing” patent out there somewhere?) … or perhaps we should “call software patents as we see them” and put them out of their misery…?

This is what different (clueless and unfit?) patent clerks have decided to approve:

  • US 5566337 – owned by Apple, A.K.A. the Observerpattern. Kiss SWT, Swing and almost all other GUI frameworks goodbye – they use observation to handle events such as clicking a button.
    • “In a computer including an operating system, an event producer for generating an event and detecting that an event has occurred in the computer and an event consumer which need to be informed when events occur in the computer”
  • US 5969705 – also Apple – details how an operating system can be “multitasking”… filed 1997 and accepted 1999… I knew Windows 95 wasn’t multitasking, but HEY… there are other OS:es out there… like Linux… that was multitasking LONG before 1999…
    • “Method and apparatus for a first process operative in a computer system controlling a user interface on a computer system display under control of a second process operative in the computer system. An event handler is installed for the second process, the event handler servicing events generated for controlling the user interface display under control of the second process. The first process may then perform a first set of functions in the computer system. The first process generates events for controlling the user interface display, the events related to the functions performed by the first process. The event handler receives the events generated by the first process and updates the user interface on the computer system display according to the events generated by the first process and received by the event handler.”
    • Or I guess we could always handle multitasking by having one process doing all of  the above and then having another process jerking off while that happens… reminds me about the “Multi Agent Programming” course on UNI when we had to implement a Multi agent system for playing chess…
  • Or how about US 5911067 – “Application Switching”
    • “A method and apparatus for transferring control between application programs. A messaging means is provided which allows a first application program to indicate to the messaging means that a second application program should assume control. The messaging means receives the message and performs an orderly shutdown of the first application program and messages the second application program that it should commence operation. Upon valid and proper operation of the second application program, the first application program is caused to be suspended, and the second application program is invoked.”
    • An alternative would be to have one application that can run several “programs” like different Wordfiles… or wait… wouldn’t that be just like an operating system starting an…. Application… oh well.. who needs applications… and anyway… who needs to switch between them? Let’s play “Windows” again… it’s an application… right?

I’m certain many people that doesn’t know so much about computers or programming (like the patent (cl/j)erks who approved these patents) will find the whole discussion abstract and boring. Who cares about some bizarre event-something, or some applications-something… and besides, they were smart and they worked hard for their patents… you’re just being a jealous douche bag for not allowing them their well earned cash in…

In an attempt to strike home the preposterous nature of these patents, here are some examples of patents that will never be accepted, because they are as obviously not fit for patenting to the “common man” as most IT-patents are to IT professionals:

  • Waste product gathering and disposal mechanism:
    • A method for gathering waste products in home or industrial environments, and a process for disposing of them. Following these steps: 1) take a plastic bag, place it in a holder such as a waste bin, or just let it lay on the floor, or some other surface where the bag is readily accessible. 2) whenever there’s “waste” (different forms of materials in need of disposal such as wrappers, paper napkins, fruit peals, etc) put it in the bag. 3) once the bag is full (or in the case of perishable waste, at a set time interval such as “several times a week”) tie the open end of the bag and throw it out…. (“Trashcan” patent for detailing the “throwing out” pending…)
  • Garment renewal process:
    • A method for renewing used garments such as socks and shirts. Follow these steps. 1) Wear garments. 2) Throw garments in laundry basket. 3) when you run out of clean clothes, apply water and detergent + mechanical “swashing around” – rinse and dry… 4) voila – clothes are as good as new…

Now why can’t I have those patents, and why do I not deserve them?

Because they are obvious methods for solving trivial problems. Unfortunately for the IT-business the patents awarded for the same obvious methods for the same trivial problems are not obvious to the people awarding the patents. It seems comparing the IT business with the construction business won’t really be worth anything unless you have “digging patents” to be harassed by when you try to build a house…

Ah well… I want to write a bestseller anyway… perhaps I should do a “Grisham” and write about a patent breaking IT company that feeds their employees to the sharks in order to prevent exposing their evil deeds?


Humans are in fact not that different to other species. We make a little bit more complex sounds and our territorial behavior is a bit more involved, but to say we’re the crown of creation is rather self-involved. The most that can be said about mankind’s standing in the family of species is that we’re the black sheep, or the obnoxious kid sibling everybody has to put up with, or mom and pop will give them a hairy eyeball.