Wolfram-Alpha Time Sheet Tip

Math has never been my strong suit. Keeping my day organized in 6 minute intervals is sometimes a chore. My firm changed accounting software and with that change I decided to use the new tool efficiently and no longer keep a paper time sheet. Unfortunately, I no longer have the nice little conversion chart that used to be on my paper form.


New search tools have been getting some press here on Slaw, including WolframAlpha. This computational search engine makes for an easy shortcut to inputting the correct time span into online time sheet.

The resulting hours plus minutes from a start and end time saves my arty brain from too much math!


  1. It’s odd that WolframAlpha assumes 26.2 hours between the start and finish time, rather than just 2.2 hours — my clients might not like that.

  2. Luke, it is actually 26.2 hours, not 2.2 hours–there is a whole day difference in there.

  3. Luke is correct… WolframAlpha *assumes* that timeB is one day after timeA. That’s what the “input interpretation” shows. Try for yourself. Even a time period of less than an hour, such as 10:11am to 10:27am, yields an elapsed time of over one day.

  4. For what it’s worth, I’ve sent Wolfram/Alpha this information and post URL by way of feedback.

  5. As promised I sent Wolfram/Alpha the following message:

    The computation of elapsed time on Wolfram/Alpha is wrong: it always assumes that there is a 24-hour period between the input times in addition to the difference between them. See http://www.slaw.ca/2009/06/25/wolfram-alpha-time-sheet-tip/ and the comments.

    I have just received the following message from Wolfram/Alpha:

    We have received your feedback regarding Wolfram|Alpha. The issue you reported has been fixed and will appear on the live site with the next update.

    Thank you for helping us improve Wolfram|Alpha.

    There’s no word as to when the update will happen.

  6. Thanks for being so proactive Simon!

  7. It’s too bad, actually. I’ve been billing all my time through W/A — I had 12,100 hours last quarter, with all the 24.1 hour phone calls….

  8. Sorry about that, Luke. My bad. Bill me, and we’ll work it out.