Probably you couldn't care less. Probably, if you bother to read this at all, you'll think to yourself: So what? Still, give it a whirl and have a look and if, at the end, you don't feel like I feel - that this is a cheat where Lost deliberately plays unfair - then so be it.
So what I am concerned with here is the printout sheets as taken from The Pearl Station. As you may remember, in the episode ?, Locke and Mr. Eko found the Pearl Station and Locke spotted a computer with a print command, and so pressed print. Reams of paper were produced. The printed sheets looked like this:
You're not to know this, but myself and a friend, we spent an unhealthy amount of time staring at screenshots like this trying to work out what the numbers meant. It turned out we only had to wait a few more episodes, when Live Together, Die Alone appeared, to find out. In that episode Desmond, with Locke, were determined to allow the Swan Station timer to run down and, whilst waiting, Desmond started getting twitchy and so checked these printout sheets. This is what he was looking at.
So here it becomes clearer. The printouts basically display when/if the Swan Station button was pressed. That is, the 4 8 15 16 23 42 numbers were entered into the Swan Station computer and the timer reset. Taking an above example we can work out exactly what the numbers mean.
This breaks down as: 9/21/04 1:16
Month 9 / Day 21 / Year 04 and the time being 1:16.
From one date and time being accepted to the next date and time being accepted we can work out the time difference. So ‘921044:42 accepted’ is followed by '921046:40 accepted'. Dates are the same. The times are 4:42 and then 6:40. This just so happens to be a time difference of 108 minutes, which is the elapsed time of the Swan Station timer. Evidence, if more was needed, that the printouts show instances of the timer button being reset.
So the above example indicates that on September 21st 2004, at 1:16, the code was entered and the time reset. Happy so far? Because it was from working this out that Desmond was able to realise that his not pressing the button in a timely fashion was responsible for bringing down Oceanic 815 on September 22nd 2004.
At 4:16 on that day, Oceanic 815 broke apart into three pieces and crashed down on the Island. This is what the printout sheet tells us. It's all very clear and concise and fits nicely. So, you may be asking, what is my problem here? Well, let's go back to the first time we saw the printout sheets in the ? episode. Here's a close-up of what the figures looked like.
Let's take an example, shall we?
Taking the applied format - m/dd/yy time - this is what we get:
Doesn't make any sense. "108:05" is not a time. Nor does adjusting the month to double digits help. 41/60/21 08:05. It just makes it worse.
Using the principle of the times being apart by 108 minutes there is a format that sort of fits. So we can take 41602072:05 (time 2:05) followed by 41602073:53 (time 3:53) and see that the time between the two accords to the 108 minute rule. Which means the format is 4/16/02 (16th April 2002) with an "07" code lumped in for no clear reason, and then the time.
So that's my problem, basically. That "07" code. In another printout, the extraneous code is "10", which is equally meaningless, considering it isn't present in the finished version of the sheet that showed up for Desmond in Live Together, Die Alone.
There's no getting around it. Lost cheated. It presented a printout of numbers and information that didn't make sense with what was later presented. Basically, when my friend and I were looking at the sheets, trying to work out what they meant, we were wasting our time. Because we had been cheated. And it wasn't fair!