Mr Blair, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, has given his approval to the creation of GeT Greenwich Electronic Time. The site for this is incredibly boring, and I can’t help feeling rather misses the point. I mean of course it is handy to have a standard to measure time on the net, but Swatch‘s system seems to me to have more going for it (although it isn’t particularly intuitive). It seems to me that one of the functions of Internet time must be to make it very easy for people to agree to meet online without having to take into account regional time differences. Therefore the system must be intuitive enough for people to be able to understand, while different enough from the standard layout of time to not be confused with it. It’s important that people can say lets meet at XXXX and understand where that is in relation to their own time even when their own times are very different.
So here is a preliminary statement regarding BIT – Barbelith Internet Time. My suggestion is to keep with the 24 hour clock (because people have to be able to work out its relation to their own time when things like daylight saving and stuff kick in in the real world), keep it running from Greenwich (why the hell not, everything has done for years anyway) and only abstract its presentation. Something like 3113 for 1:13 pm GMT, minutes first, hours second. I know it seems ridiculous, but it should make time translation really easy while not allowing it to be confused with local time. Six figure numbers would have the seconds at the front – hence 003021 would mean 9.30pm exactly GMT. Someone who currently uses Eastern Standard Time would be able to say to someone two hours ahead of them to meet at 003018BIT which would be half past one EST and half past three for the other guy.
Has anyone got any other ideas?