How computers improve life

or not: an occasional series. This entry comes from lifehacker:

Calendar: Track Time Between Haircuts with Google Calendar and Spreadsheet
Googler Matt Cutts uses Google Calendar and Google Spreadsheets to keep track of how long he’s gone between haircuts—a good way to make sure he doesn’t get too overgrown. First he copies his regular haircut appointment calendar dates into a spreadsheet, and then he uses a date math formula to calculate the difference between each.

The idea that technological, computerate solutions are intrinsically better than merely looking in the mirror from time to time is more clearly absurd here than in the saga of the OLPC. But it’s recognisably the same mindset.

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3 Responses to How computers improve life

  1. I read that Lifehacker post and thought, hm, not a bad idea. My hair grows quite rapidly; I have a tendency to not get around to getting it cut until it’s a total mess. Having my computer calendar remind me before that happens doesn’t seem like a crazy notion.

    Does that make me dysfunctional in ways that are usefully compared to the OLPC meltdown? Really? Or are you just having a bit of a cranky moment?

  2. acb says:

    Well, a reminder in the diary of when you need a haircut makes sense if you book them in advance, which I don’t. And if you have a hairdresser where you need to book a long time in advance, I suppose that just looking in the mirror and thinking “hmm; maybe in a fortnight’s time” makes sense.

    But go and look at the original blog post: he’s talking about how to use Google spreadsheets to produce a graph showing the number of days between haircuts during the previous year. That is both more and less than making a note in a diary (which happens to be computerised).

  3. For 10 years or so I used Quicken to manage my personal finances. One day I wondered how often I had my haircut, and a few seconds later Quicken, with a little help from Excel, provided the answer: once every six weeks (I don’t remember if I produced a graph to go with it).

    So now I have a recurring entry in my online diary that reminds me to get my haircut.

    Unfortunately, I have since changed computer systems and Quicken has left the UK. Heaven help me if my hair decides to grow at a faster or slower rate in future.

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