A damaging and worrying disease is prevalent, nay, rife within the computer industry today.

Once it takes hold it can destroy the life of the programmer who will find himself powerless to stop it.

The disease centres around one major symptom:

The sufferer will find he has no concept of time - He will not be able to say with any degree of accuracy, how long something will take.

After 5 years of extensive research I can confirm what spouses, SO's and friends of computer programmers all over the world have suspected for years. Working with computers tends to be unpredictable, and computers themselves have long been acknowledged to have no respect for Regular Time, - but I can finally reveal that this tendency towards unreliability is highly contagious, and passes from the machine itself into the person programming it.

Once that person has caught the elastic time disease they are doomed to a life of chronic underestimation of timeframes.

The disease has the most devastating effect when it permeates the personal life of the programmer in question (if they are lucky enough to have one) whereupon they will incur the wrath of their loved ones by being constantly late for things, missing holidays, nights out, birthdays and even anniversaries.

In its most chronic stages - after a particularly long time in the industry, towards a milestone or deadline, and when "crunching" or finishing a project, the elastic time disease requires sufferers partners to use a formula to translate the time at which their SO is due home from work. That formula is outlined below.

The Computer Programmer One -Way Elastic Time Theory

Computer Programmer One-Way Elastic Time = Regular Person Time + (but NEVER - ) any number of hours, days or weeks;

or;

CPOWET=RPT+ANY NUMBER.

You forget of course that this equation is entirely based on the idea that the programmer has any sense of time, whatsoever. I am one of those people. I do not wear a watch, because nine times out of ten, I don't CARE what time it is. I go to sleep when I'm tired. I wake up when I'm not. I am flexible, and I am against anything regimented or scheduled.

For people like me, your concept of time is silly. That is simply mechanical time, not actual time. Real time moves in fits and starts, not in a continuous flow. Perhaps that's the easiest way some people can understand time, as hours, days, minutes and seconds, but that's not how time moves at all. When you're in the probability class that you hate, even that mechanical clock seems to move half as fast. You'll look at the clock.. stare at the desk... look at the clock again, and what seemed like it should have been 5 minutes was only 2. To exemplify the converse, anyone who has spent time with someone they care about know that time also rushes forward, and the days fly by and you hardly notice.

I have trouble remembering what day of the week it is. It doesn't make me absent-minded, although, I am that. It is exemplary of my disregard for the rigid mechanical time that humans invented.

My time-frame estimate equation -

The number of hours I work on a project = (percent interest I have in the project) * (number of working hours available)

Or, for short,
WH = %I * H

This reflects that I only work as much as I am motivated. If I am absolutely thrilled about something, I will work constantly on it until I collapse. If I think it's boring as hell, on the other hand, that will make the time frame 1 / %I longer.

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