Saturday, March 3, 2007

Miss Information

One factor that determines our level of alertness from moment to moment is the number of safe assumptions that we can make about our environment. The more secure and stable your environment, the less you need to attend to it. The more unpredictable your environment, the more alert you have to be. There is no right or wrong level of alertness. In fact, you can change the level of uncertainty in your environment to match the level of alertness you would like to maintain. The Lil' Miss Information Clock provides a time that is incorrect, but within 10 minutes (by default) of being correct. It is sometimes fast and sometimes slow, so you'll just have to rely on yourself.


#Lil' Miss Information Clock
#because whoever missed just a *lil'* information?
#Seth Frey

$Offseth = 10 #time is wrong by up to +/-
$Offseth seconds

while true
time =
mins = (time.min + (rand * 2 * $Offseth).round -
$Offseth).modulo(60) #make minutes plus or minus actual time within Offseth
#modulo 60 accounts for roll over to next minute
hours = time.hour
if time.min - mins > 60 - $Offseth #this if and elsif account for minutes rolling over (or back)
hours = hours + 1
elsif mins - time.min > 60 - $Offseth
hours = hours - 1
hours = hours % 12 #no military time
hours = 12 if hours == 0 #side effect of eliminating
military time with mod
puts hours.to_s + ":" + (mins < 10 ? '0' : '') + mins.to_s
# the if statement is for single digit minutes. 4:02 instead of 4:2
Kernel.sleep(50) #wait just less than a minute before refreshing (one less safe assumption)

1 comment:

jay said...

Yes yes, there's something important here. It's like a program that randomly decides whether or not to let your cell phone ring when a call comes in. Well maybe not. There's a lot of ways to look at it. It could be a logical way to remove unimportant details from your attention. It could be a way to try to force yourself to reduce your time anxiety.

I agree that the more secure your environment the less alert you have to be, but I think there's another dimension to it too. It's like we constantly have thus much attention allocated and we use it for this thing or that thing. I think we can learn to control how much attention/alertness to allocate as well as where to focus it.