I spend a lot of my day waiting for my computer to do stuff. One of my tasks at work is issuing cell phones, more specifically, Blackberrys, to employees. I notice while I am waiting for it to do something it shows a little hourglass that flips every few seconds. This would be useful if the simulated sand actually corresponded to the length of time I would be waiting for the task to complete but it doesn’t. It’s just there for my viewing pleasure.
So I start thinking somewhere when someone was programming Windows, probably in the early nineties, someone had to make a decision as to what the “thinking” icon would look like. I’m sure there was short list of various clocks and someone decided, “Hourglass… we should have an hourglass. Everybody knows what that is.”
Now here is the funny part: when was the last time has anyone regularly used an hourglass to measure time? I own two decorative ones my brother brought back from Turkey and couldn’t tell you how much time they measure since after thirty seconds I’ve grown bored and started thinking about things I could put cheese on. Don’t blame me… I’m the generation that has microwavable Minute Rice. Natalie tells me her grandmother had one and she used to watch sand trickle out of when she spent her summers in St Louis. I am not sure where you can even buy an hourglass at or what one costs.
So I look online and the good people at Wikipedia.org tell me portable watches have been popular since the 1500s. That’s five centuries ago. It would be like someone at Microsoft deciding we don’t need a digital clock in the lower right corner of Windows 95… let’s put a sundial there.
I was in the airport and there was the list of things you can’t bring on a plane and my favorite was the universal symbol for bomb which looks something like this:
Understandably we’re all clear on what that is but has anyone made a bomb like that in the last two centuries? Would the silhouette of several sticks of dynamite and clock confused anyone?
Granted, nobody makes bombs that look like that either (since I am assuming most bombs are just a brick of C4 and a radio receiver that can detonate it from a cell phone) by someone who doesn’t look like this guy:
Alfred’s gotta eat, too.
Granted, now Windows Vista has a little circle animation that chases its own tail never catching it kind of reminding me I probably spend in an ordinate amount of time of my life trying to get to something that will never happen. Watching that little circle is like watching my brothers pug violently try and break free of her leash to chase cars or pre-1999 Susan Lucci at the Daytime Emmys. Even if you could get what you wanted, what would you do with it?