Learning To Tell Time (Again)

When Steffie was younger and went to elementary school, one of her teachers told us an interesting ‘fact’. There were problems in the school getting kids to read the analog clocks on the wall and use the dial telephones (there in case of emergency) in every classroom.

Both are very foreign concepts to kids of Steffie’s generation. We have neither a dial phone nor round faced clock here at home.

We talk about dialing someone’s number… but a dial no longer enters into the equation.

binary digital watchNow I have to learn to tell time yet another way. As a Christmas/Chanukah gift, Helaine bought me a new watch. I am obsessed with watches. This one is very different in that it’s a binary readout watch!

You probably hid when they taught this in school, but let me try to explain binary. It is a system based on two numbers, zero and one. Right now everything we do is based on a system with ten numbers, zero through nine.

It would be the perfect way to count if someone cut off eight of your fingers and you grew up reading Hebrew. You read the numbers right to left!

Each successive light adds the power of 2 to the value. So it’s 1,2,4,8,16 and 32.

The readout you isee n the photo was taken at 1:49 PM. The rightmost LED is lit on the top row, corresponding with the number 1. The bottom row has the 1, 16 and 32 LEDs lit, meaning 49.

Last night I was worried the watch was keeping poor time. No – I was just misreading it. In fact, much of the time, I can’t read the watch before the lights are extinguished!

In the meantime, it’s very cool in a geeky way. More importantly, Helaine thought about what I would enjoy and succeeded.

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