Microsoft Time, Google Stats, Alternate Dimensions

In a looser more flexible world of work, both space and time are up for grabs. CHARLES HANDY
For years, Microsoft has provided time alerts for various tasks and system functions. Users jokingly refer to this as Microsoft Time.

Here's how it works. You've decided to copy files from a hard drive to a backup device. When you execute this task, the system informs you the action will take 30 seconds, or five minutes, or something along those lines.

The other day, for example, I performed a minor cleanup task on my hard drive and the time alert declared it would take 34 minutes to accomplish. About 90 seconds later, the action was completed.

Whatever the time alert says, you know it’s incorrect. It might take more time, it might take less, but the estimate is always off. That, in a nutshell, is Microsoft Time.

Similarly, Google provides a range of statistics for varied purposes. Google Blogger serves as just one example. Blogger tracks and displays certain key indicators, such as how many people viewed a particular article during a particular timeframe.

These basic indicators are billed as “real time” numbers. That’s interesting, because eight out of 10 times, the date shown doesn’t match the date in this dimension, the one you and I live in. Like Microsoft Time, Google Stats are always a bit out of sync with reality.

The same is true for Blogger pageviews. Check the stats on Monday, and great news, a total of 600 people viewed one specific article. Come back a week later, and that number has dropped to 599 or 598.

Time in our dimension has moved forward. The number of pageviews should either stay the same or go up, right?

Instead, people have somehow managed to unview a page or article. How does that happen? What kind of unique power does Google have, that it can recognize a non-action? Did someone in Alaska or Australia think, hey, I wish I had that five minutes back. I'll unview that article, and Blogger will make it so.

When these things occur, it's completely possible to believe Microsoft and Google operate in an alternate dimension, one in which space, time and statistics are fluid, changeable things.

And, if this is true, what other mysterious powers do they possess?

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