Which version are you now?

May 4, 2020

A friend of mine turned round numbers today. It made me think of time and how we perceive it.

The idea that your body renews itself in a cellular level every 7-10 years have been around for decades. Put this into perspective that we measure our life arbitrarily (but for a good reason) based on the circular motion our planet does around the closest sun.

This linear measurement adds up numbers but tells very little anything else. Yet, it guides our thinking and underlying assumptions quite a bit.

Einstein was puzzled with the unification of local time zones before he was coming up with his famous Theory of Relativity (special and general). The absolute time does not make any sense in physics but we’re using the tape measure approach to living and thinking.

Time is just a custom based on our local circumstances. As well we could use something else as long as it makes sense to us. In software we use versioning. There’s no clear constant between the releases except the major releases are less frequent than minor releases but the actual sequence may not be precise nor it needs to be. The significance is in the major or minor.

Coming back to our age that is just a number it does not tell much about ourselves. Older does not necessarily mean wiser, richer or anything else. Perception and experiences are subjective and not comparable like centimetres.

Instead of stacking numbers in the increments of one, we could also use something else to perceive our life. Some years back another friend told me he has only a few dogs left. At first, I did not understand what he was saying.

The concept is simple. A lifespan of a dog is around 7-10 years on average. So, you can have only so many dogs during your life. How many dogs you have left?

Another alteration of the same idea is to use versioning. Which software version are you now? Using the 7 years cell renewal as a yardstick each major version takes 7 years and minor releases are once a year. Which version are you at the moment?

Dividing the perception of time not in single years but between 7-year periods makes the life look a bit different like with a dog lifespan. You can do a lot of things in seven years that is not possible to do in a single year. Also, seven is still comprehensible time perspective that does not feel too far off or out of reach.

It makes projects more manageable but merciful in a sense that you are not in a rush yet there is not enough time to waste. What personal qualities and skills, knowledge and experiences would you like to improve and acquire in this major release?

Staying in the same version for years makes it also a bit more merciful for those stacking up higher numbers. A version 7 sounds better than almost 50 years and a version 11 like the iPhone now has a bit different ring to it than 77 years old.

Happy minor release day, my friend!