# Binary is . . . difficult

• Computer Gear would like us to know that "Only those in the know read Binary LED Wall Clock" and "Time on Binary LED Wall Clock shown is 8:32:28". See it here: http://www.computergear.com/biledwacl.html

TRWTF is that this clock is only appropriate on some other planet. Or perhaps at this cafe: http://forums.thedailywtf.com/forums/p/6959/130751.aspx

--hagmanti

•  so, the time it really shows is 25:15:00?

• The is in "pure binary" mode.  The bottom row is seconds, next up is minutes and third up is hours.  A second mode works top to bottom.  Given that, the time on the clock is 20:32:28, just as they said.

The other mode reads top-to-bottom as you are thinking, but obviously that is not in use here.

•  It's kind of like looking at one of those cool optical illusions.

Everything just switches and it suddenly all makes sense,

--Tim

• So what are the 3 LEDs on the top row?

•  What I find most astonishing is that this product goes under the heading "T-Shirts":

Home > ComputerGear Site Map > ComputerGear Tshirt Shop - find hundreds of T-shirts here! > Math and Binary > T-shirts > Binary LED Wall Clock

• @morbiuswilters said:

The is in "pure binary" mode.  The bottom row is seconds, next up is minutes and third up is hours.

I never understood why 'binary' clocks work like this. Time is measured in some Babylonian/Egytian mix of base 12 and base 60 numbers, which is then usually displayed in base 10. What is the added 'geek fun' to display it in base 2? (especially if you convert the separate decimal digits into binary, instead of the whole number, like this clock apparently can do as well.)

Internet beats are somewhat better, dividing the day up into segments in base 10. However, for a truly geeky binary clock you should subdivide the day in segments using base 2 entirely. So 0.1 would be 12:00, 0.11 == 18:00, 0.101 == 15:00 etc. (You could then also use the part before the floating point to designate days or so.)

Perhaps people would consider such a clock to useless, but you do not buy a geeky toy because of its usefulness.

• @joemck said:

So what are the 3 LEDs on the top row?

They're for the 'read left-to-right' mode, in which the displayed time here doesn't make sense. In that mode, all three would all be lit up at (for example) 19:19:19. FWIW, in neither mode is there a time where every single LED is lit. 17:57:57 comes joint-closest in L-R mode and 23:31:31 in T-B.

I've got a very similar clock at home, an Xmas gift from a couple of years ago. It defaults to left-to-right mode, and indeed to the 12-hour clock (WTF), when you plug it in (mains power only, no battery - double WTF).

• @BertBert said:

I never understood why 'binary' clocks work like this. Time is measured in some Babylonian/Egytian mix of base 12 and base 60 numbers, which is then usually displayed in base 10. What is the added 'geek fun' to display it in base 2? (especially if you convert the separate decimal digits into binary, instead of the whole number, like this clock apparently can do as well.)

Internet beats are somewhat better, dividing the day up into segments in base 10. However, for a truly geeky binary clock you should subdivide the day in segments using base 2 entirely. So 0.1 would be 12:00, 0.11 == 18:00, 0.101 == 15:00 etc. (You could then also use the part before the floating point to designate days or so.)

4×4 square showing 65536ths of a day would be cool, but a pain to set correctly at most times of day though. Maybe that's part of the challenge.

• Sorry, what's the WTF supposed to be?

•  This looks like a great valentine's day gift if you're looking for a way to get rid of your girlfriend. Unless she's a geek of course.

@NSCoder said:

Sorry, what's the WTF supposed to be?
Good question actually

•  If it was a GOOD binary clock it would be a single row and measure the milliseconds since January 1, 1970!  Only real programmers in the know measure time like this.

•  What irks me is how they refer to "binary" as "the ones and zeros of computer language".  Binary is not a "language", it's a numeric base.  It reminds me of a few years ago when it was all the rage for retards on forums to plug their horribly-written posts into a "translator" that would spit out the ASCII bits, and proceed to tell everyone that they were "writing in binary".

The only thing worse than an actual nerd is a dolt pretending to be a nerd in order to look smart.  In my personal experience, anything with the word "binary" in it seems to attract more members of the latter group than the former.

• @The General said:

@joemck said:

So what are the 3 LEDs on the top row?

They're for the 'read left-to-right' mode, in which the displayed time here doesn't make sense. In that mode, all three would all be lit up at (for example) 19:19:19. FWIW, in neither mode is there a time where every single LED is lit. 17:57:57 comes joint-closest in L-R mode and 23:31:31 in T-B.

I've got a very similar clock at home, an Xmas gift from a couple of years ago. It defaults to left-to-right mode, and indeed to the 12-hour clock (WTF), when you plug it in (mains power only, no battery - double WTF).

Well that is why I was getting the wrong numbers, I was attempting to read left-to-right. Why wouldn't they use that format rather than right-to-left by default?

I'm still not sure how the 3 top LEDs are used. Why would they be lit up at 19:19:19? is it because of the 1 missing LED in the top row?

• @DeLos said:

Well that is why I was getting the wrong numbers, I was attempting to read left-to-right. Why wouldn't they use that format rather than right-to-left by default?

I'm still not sure how the 3 top LEDs are used. Why would they be lit up at 19:19:19? is it because of the 1 missing LED in the top row?

I think you are still confused.  In "left-to-right" mode the left 2 columns represent hours, middle 2 minutes and right 2 seconds.  They accumulate upwards (so the bottom light is always 1), but each column represents a digit in the base-10 time.  So the furthest left column has 2 lights, the bottom one representing any hour that starts with '1' (10:00 to 19:59) and the top one representing '2' (20:00 to 23:59).  The 2nd column from the left represents the 'ones' place in the hour.  So:

 hour tens hour ones minute tens minute ones second tens second ones 8 4 2 1

The other mode supported just uses the bottom 3 rows of the clock, going seconds, minutes and hours as you go up.  That is what is shown in the photo.  You just read that like you would a normal binary sequence.  So:

 32 16 8 4 2 1 hours minutes seconds

• I have one of these clocks. You can switch the modes fairly easily. Previous versions of the clock only used BCD, though.

• @BertBert said:

However, for a truly geeky binary clock you should subdivide the day in segments using base 2 entirely.

Segments? SEGMENTS? Who needs segmented time? And what is this "day" thing people speak of? Is it somehow vaguely related to the Legend of the Evil "Day"-star on the Sky?

Just give me seconds (or microseconds, if you're into that sort of thing) since epoch, like everyone else...

• @amischiefr said:

If it was a GOOD binary clock it would be a single row and measure the milliseconds since January 1, 1970!  Only real programmers in the know measure time like this.

There are four 32 lights!

• The real WTF is that a bunch of assembled LEDs cost \$80.

• @powerlord said:

There are four 32 lights!

There are 100 lights!

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