1420: "Watches"

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1420: "Watches"

Postby azule » Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:52 am UTC

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Title text is in the spoiler. Mobile users may use http://m.xkcd.com if this is not useable.
Spoiler:
Old people used to write obnoxious thinkpieces about how people these days always wear watches and are slaves to the clock, but now they've switched to writing thinkpieces about how kids these days don't appreciate the benefits of an old-fashioned watch. My position is: The word 'thinkpiece' sounds like a word made up by someone who didn't know about the word 'brain'.


I'm a wrist breather.

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Last edited by azule on Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:59 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby alvinhochun » Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:56 am UTC

Argh, not fast enough on mobile :S
But hey, don't put the title text in spoiler tags!

This comic, clever, but I am still used to wear a digital watch these days.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:02 am UTC

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:04 am UTC

I don't understand this comic. I only took off my analogue wristwatch to occasionally clean in slightly, and then a final time to replace it with my new Pebble. So what's the gap in the comic about? I'm sure they still made and sold watches throughout all that time too.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:05 am UTC

Don't know about you whipper-snappers but I never saw any valid reason to remove my timepiece from my wrist ever since I was old enough to wear one; the exact technology powering it is not important. And before you object, sorry but "whipping out my phone" to check the time is several orders of magnitude slower and more cumbersome then a flick of my wrist.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:10 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote: So what's the gap in the comic about?

Apparently there are people who gleefully flung their wristwatches as far as they could manage the instant mobile phones became ubiquitous so they could tell time occasionally without having to rely on a watch (as far as I'm concerned, they just regressed to the time of pocket watches - and actually even beyond that, considering most phones cannot be flicked out by their chain from a pocket like pocket watches, seeing as how they tend not to be worn on one...)

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby philip1201 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:12 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:I don't understand this comic. I only took off my analogue wristwatch to occasionally clean in slightly, and then a final time to replace it with my new Pebble. So what's the gap in the comic about? I'm sure they still made and sold watches throughout all that time too.


As always, it's about the most popular trend. Most people still use pocket watches smartphones, because they have more functionality than their wrist-based counterparts, but don't use the more primitive time-telling technology because it is superfluous.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby eviloatmeal » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:13 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:So what's the gap in the comic about?

The gap is the start of the era of smartphones (around the introduction of the iPhone) until the introduction of smartwatches. Basically, since you have a handheld device that tells time with you everywhere you go, your wrist watch is redundant.

The only problem I see with this is that I abandoned my wrist watch long before smartphones - when I bought my first regular mobile phone (Nokia 3310, around 2001).
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby Envelope Generator » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:22 am UTC

The strap of my watch broke in 2002 and it's been in a parts bin ever since. While I will have nothing to do with smart watches, lately I've started GASing for a marine style realwatch (this general look). I'm just rather broke...
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:25 am UTC

My father wore a watch, his father wore a watch, and I'll be damned if I don't wear a watch.
Spoiler:
Actually it's just a habit.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby azule » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:29 am UTC

alvinhochun wrote:But hey, don't put the title text in spoiler tags!
No offense, but I put it in a spoiler tag. Any good reason not to?

eviloatmeal wrote:The only problem I see with this is that I abandoned my wrist watch long before smartphones - when I bought my first regular mobile phone (Nokia 3310, around 2001).
So true. My first flip phone became my watch. I have those hairy type wrists that get caught in stupid bands.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:33 am UTC

Wooloomooloo wrote:And before you object, sorry but "whipping out my phone" to check the time is several orders of magnitude slower and more cumbersome then a flick of my wrist.


I'd contest that wearing a timepiece around my otherwise free wrist is several magnitudes of order more uncomfortable than housing a device I'm using otherwise in my pocket.

Well, actually, there's a good chance I'd simply adapt to the feeling of a watch. But while they are useful, not wearing one regularly is probably helpful to me. I'm a compulsive, compulsive time checker (especially when bored), and so not having the watch face staring me in the face whenever my hand's in front of me is probably helpful.
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Re: Alttext.

When I read the word "thinkpiece" my mind immediately went to Orwellian Newspeak.

Although besides that I actually do think "thinkpiece" is a nice word.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby bachaddict » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:33 am UTC

I've worn a digital watch for the last decade. Even when I got my first cellphone five years ago, I liked to know the time instantly. A cellphone tends to need a button press before telling the time. Smartwatches are interesting, and I think I will be capable of keeping one intact.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby azule » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:48 am UTC

True, but knowing the time instantly isn't really necessary. Even the "what time is it?" thought has a delay before you get to your watch and read the display. One more instance of time passing isn't bad, just different.

I'd rather know what time it is without looking at anything. No watch, no phone, maybe no sun. Chip me.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby Plasma Mongoose » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:54 am UTC

If you are inclined to wearing expensive watches, does that make you an awristocrat?
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby balthasar_s » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:02 am UTC

So the gap is supposed to mean that people use mobile phones instead of watches, right? I've seen a lot of people doing so.
But it only makes sense if:
  • Your phone actuallly shows the time.
  • You have your phone with you all the time
For a long time I used a phone that could not show the time until one day it fell on the street and was destroyed by a car. The phone I use now never shows correct time because I never set the time after removing the battery.
Also, taking the phone out of the pocket is not very comfortable when cycling, especially when there's a lot of other stuff in the pocket.
A wristwatch doesn't have these problems.

Smartwatches. I have no idea why someone would need them.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby Arancaytar » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:11 am UTC

Thinkpiece also sounds like a doubleplusgood replacement for the oldspeak word "opinion column" or "blog post".
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby orthogon » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:26 am UTC

I'm a lifelong wristwatch wearer, and feel naked without one. Having said that, using a phone to tell the time has the great advantage that it can be synchronised automatically via the network so it's actually the correct time. That's the theory, at least, except that the UK networks for some stupid reason don't transmit network time, so my non-smartphone would synchronise to CET whenever I went to mainland Europe (or "Europe" as we call it - see other threads), and stay that way when I came back. A smartphone of course can use any number of NTP servers via IP to synchronise the time, but again my stupid HTC doesn't seem to do this (even though I've told it to), and worse still it doesn't tell me it hasn't done it, it just sits there reading 90 seconds slow. 90s matters if you're a regular train traveller. (This is one of my biggest gripes with my 'droid smartphone: the way stuff just gradually and silently stopped working; first the news feed, then the calendar sync, then gmail, then the browser started crashing on every other site...)
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby kaley » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:36 am UTC

I bought and started using a regular watch after the smart phone revolution because I had a job where looking at your phone screen all day was frowned upon. The band on it got dirty and I didn't like my tan line so I quit wearing it for awhile.

I just bought a smart watch yesterday. My goal is for it to reduce how many times a day I check for new texts and email (notifications are on silent at work). The problem is that as a woman with smaller wrists and hands, the square shape looks ridiculous on me (like talking on the phone with a Note). I checked and it is the same length/width as a watch I already own, but that one is round so it looks smaller.

They need to be smaller and have a longer battery life. I don't need a watch that makes my breakfast for me, but alerting me to things, calculator, and time keeping is useful.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby gomipile » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:17 am UTC

azule wrote:
alvinhochun wrote:But hey, don't put the title text in spoiler tags!
No offense, but I put it in a spoiler tag. Any good reason not to?


Yes. Many of use reading the site on mobile devices come here specifically to see the alt-text because our mobile browsers don't have a mouseover function. You are adding an extra step to that process for no reason I have discerned. Also, at first glance, your post makes it look like the alt-text is "I'm a wrist breather." rather than the actual alt-text.

Basically, the format you posted the top post in comes off as intentionally rude.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:19 am UTC

Wooloomooloo wrote:Don't know about you whipper-snappers but I never saw any valid reason to remove my timepiece from my wrist ever since I was old enough to wear one; the exact technology powering it is not important. And before you object, sorry but "whipping out my phone" to check the time is several orders of magnitude slower and more cumbersome then a flick of my wrist.


Yeah well from my perspective, you wrist-watch wearers are the young whippersnappers. In my day, we pulled a 1-pound pocketwatch out of our vest pocket.
(OK, I didn't wear a vest, and one of my pocketwatches was quartz-based, but for many years I did use a pocket watch. Still like 'em)

Djehutynakht wrote:
Wooloomooloo wrote:And before you object, sorry but "whipping out my phone" to check the time is several orders of magnitude slower and more cumbersome then a flick of my wrist.


I'd contest that wearing a timepiece around my otherwise free wrist is several magnitudes of order more uncomfortable than housing a device I'm using otherwise in my pocket.


And what if you don't have a pocket? What then? (cue the "I don't have wrists you insensitive clod" responses...)

Besides, whether or not you have either a phone or a watch, you still have to.... W___ F__ I_
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby eviloatmeal » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:33 am UTC

Arancaytar wrote:Thinkpiece also sounds like a doubleplusgood replacement for the oldspeak word "opinion column" or "blog post".

That's all just doublethink and thoughtcrime. No need for a word after we censor all of it from the internet.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:58 am UTC

balthasar_s wrote:So the gap is supposed to mean that people use mobile phones instead of watches, right? I've seen a lot of people doing so.
But it only makes sense if:
  • Your phone actuallly shows the time.
  • You have your phone with you all the time
For a long time I used a phone that could not show the time until one day it fell on the street and was destroyed by a car. The phone I use now never shows correct time because I never set the time after removing the battery.
Also, taking the phone out of the pocket is not very comfortable when cycling, especially when there's a lot of other stuff in the pocket.
A wristwatch doesn't have these problems.

Smartwatches. I have no idea why someone would need them.
Nobody needed wrist watches or smartphones once upon a time, either.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby sorceror » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:20 pm UTC

Oh, I had a smartwatch way before it was cool: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casio_Databank

Almost-totally-unrelated story: Having such a thing was actually mildly notable back in the late 80's. I was known amongst my college friends for having one. Went home for the summer, and it died. I bought a new one, but I used a magnifying glass and the sun to melt and destroy the face of the old watch. Then, in the fall, back to college. The wrecked watch hidden in a drawer. I waited.

Then, the day came. Thunderstorms predicted. I put the dead watch in my jacket and went to class. On the way back, in the rain and thunder, I spotted some acquaintances going into the dorm and recruited them. I swapped watches, messed up my hair, and leaned on their shoulders for support as they took me to our floor.

One of my friends said something like, "What, did you finally get drunk?"

And I said, fuzzily, "No... I think I got hit by lightning."

Chuckles all 'round. "Yeah, right."

"No, really! I was walking across the field out back, and then I... woke up. And my watch was like this..."

"Oh my God!" It worked too well. I had planned on milking it but one of my friends started to call an ambulance right then.

I'm pretty sure the fact that it was a relatively expensive and distinctive watch was critical in selling it.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby speising » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:25 pm UTC

I don't wear a wristwatch since mine was stolen :( Come to think of it, i can't have been wearing it at that time either...

Actually, i stopped wearing it because it was uncomfortable to sweat under the strap.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby Duban » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:53 pm UTC

The iWatch is far from the first smart watch to come out. You know what happened to all the other smartwatch designs before it? They died because the smart watch is a TERRIBLE idea. Smart devices are too heavy to put on a wrist watch and smart phones can do pretty much anything a smart watch can do, but more convenient. If this takes off it'll be more proof that people will buy any shit Apple sells them...
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby sbkp » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:00 pm UTC

gomipile wrote:
azule wrote:
alvinhochun wrote:But hey, don't put the title text in spoiler tags!
No offense, but I put it in a spoiler tag. Any good reason not to?


Yes. Many of use reading the site on mobile devices come here specifically to see the alt-text because our mobile browsers don't have a mouseover function.


There's also http://m.xkcd.com

And I recently discovered that tapping and holding on the comic on the regular site will show the text in iOS Safari.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby PracticalM » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:01 pm UTC

I prefer my analog pocket watch that used to be my great grandfathers

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby HES » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:07 pm UTC

watches.png
watches.png (10.44 KiB) Viewed 8246 times


Unless they solve the battery issue, I don't see this changing any time soon.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby richP » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:25 pm UTC

I've had a liberated wrist since about 1996. I have little girl wrists (attached to my arms, not like a collection in a drawer somewhere...), so most watches look stupid on me. Didn't get a smart phone until quite recently, but most "dumb" phones over the last couple decades grabbed time from the cell network just fine.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby orthogon » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:36 pm UTC

You'd have a job hiding a smartphone up your ass.

richP wrote:I've had a liberated wrist since about 1996. I have little girl wrists (attached to my arms, not like a collection in a drawer somewhere...), so most watches look stupid on me. Didn't get a smart phone until quite recently, but most "dumb" phones over the last couple decades grabbed time from the cell network just fine.


It turns out the mechanism is called NITZ, and it isn't all UK networks that don't support it, just Orange and T-Mobile (now merged as EE).
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby wolfticket » Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:01 pm UTC

I kept wearing a watch because there are often times I want to quickly know the time where getting my phone out of my pocket and switching on the screen would be inconvenient/slow/rude.

Indeed some of those issues could still be a problem with current smart watches, so I may be about to move in to the era of wearing two watches.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby speising » Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:06 pm UTC

HES wrote:
watches.png


Unless they solve the battery issue, I don't see this changing any time soon.


Indeed, having to care for a convenience device every day like a Tamagochi is ridiculous.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:51 pm UTC

I sport a cheap Quartz Analog watch that I bought around the beginning of Randall's gap after my previous watch lost its strap, its back, and, ultimately, its ability to keep time.

I've just got the battery replaced for, I think, the fifth time (the third time was with a dud battery, so there were only a couple of weeks between that and the fourth)

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby clockworkbookreader » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:52 pm UTC

I can't wear wristwatches because of my job... and my smartphone is a perfectly good pocketwatch that occasionally lets me make a phone call. And cheaper than a real mechanical pocketwatch.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby commodorejohn » Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:18 pm UTC

Old people used to write obnoxious thinkpieces about how people these days always wear watches and are slaves to the clock, but now they've switched to writing thinkpieces about how kids these days don't appreciate the benefits of an old-fashioned watch. My position is: The word 'thinkpiece' sounds like a word made up by someone who didn't know about the word 'brain'.

The important point to remember here is that, with the gap, the kids these days who always wore watches got old and started writing opinion columns about how nobody appreciates watches, while the people from the Time Before Watches who used to write the opinion pieces on how all the kids these days were slaves to their watches got too old to write opinion columns, so it's just that our window on old-people-perception-of-watches-as-seen-in-opinion-columns has shifted.

Me, I'm with the old old people. Too much rushing around to the dictates of a clock these days. As a matter of fact, I say we ditch clocks altogether and go back to tracking time by the comfortably imprecise method of seeing whereabouts the sun is in the sky. Perhaps someone can create a proposal for a Network Sun Protocol, so that we can keep our computers loosely in sync to the great natural timekeeper.
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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby Plutarch » Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:44 pm UTC

I was confused by the title text appearing in spoiler tags. But after the 'spoiler tag' shock had worn off, I empathised with the comic. I was never comfortable wearing watches. Abandoning them in favour of using my phone instead has been good.

So, I have a question about the Apple watch, and all similar devices. Is this ever going to become something I really require in my life? Not 'require' in the sense of life-and death, of course, but in the same way I feel I require my laptop, and my ipad, both of which I use for many things. Are they likely to become so important that I'll be forced to overcome my dislike of wearing a watch on my wrist?

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:57 pm UTC

Plutarch wrote:I was confused by the title text appearing in spoiler tags. But after the 'spoiler tag' shock had worn off, I empathised with the comic. I was never comfortable wearing watches. Abandoning them in favour of using my phone instead has been good.

So, I have a question about the Apple watch, and all similar devices. Is this ever going to become something I really require in my life? Not 'require' in the sense of life-and death, of course, but in the same way I feel I require my laptop, and my ipad, both of which I use for many things. Are they likely to become so important that I'll be forced to overcome my dislike of wearing a watch on my wrist?

Wait, what do you need a bad gaming console tablet computer for?

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby San Fran Sam » Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:05 pm UTC

WRIST WATCH?! HA!

Let me just whip out my trusty old sundial and i'll tell you what time it is.... as soon as the sun comes out... or rises... Darn.

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Re: 1420: "Watches"

Postby mathmannix » Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:40 pm UTC

San Fran Sam wrote:WRIST WATCH?! HA!

Let me just whip out my trusty old sundial and i'll tell you what time it is.... as soon as the sun comes out... or rises... Darn.


Sundial? Why have technology at all? Can't you just look at where the sun is in the sky (or the constellations at night, which also tell you the date at the same time!)
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