REBOL Technologies

What's Up With Time?

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
7-Apr-2008 18:57 GMT

Article #0359
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I have this philosophy... in the world of computing, if you cannot get the simplest things right, you'll never get the complicated things even close.

Time is a really good example. Most of us would like our computer clocks to be set to an accurate time. It's really nice to know that your computer has the correct time, and for many types of applications it's critical that the time be correct.

However, I've just spent the last 30 minutes trying to get the time synchronization on my Windows XP laptop to work correctly.

An error occurred while Windows was synchronizing with ...

This is not the first time. Every few months I try to get it working, and give up after a few minutes. It's really frustrating.. because I know that one line of REBOL code would work quite well. (Maybe we need a REBOL time server?)

I must comment that I'm no beginner when it comes to time. I've used WWV time signals (good ol' Fort Collins atomic clock time standard) for 40 years. At the south pole, we would use an oscilloscope to calibrate time to within a few nanoseconds of that time standard.

In fact, I even know that some of you will write to me that time is complicated over the Internet due to packet delays, blah, blah.

Look, I don't need my laptop calibrated to the nanosecond. Just get me close and make it reliable! And, I don't need it checked every ten minutes, once a day is fine!

Of course, this deterioration in Internet time is not really new, and maybe that's one reason why XP does it so poorly. Every year there seem to be fewer and fewer NTP (network time) servers around. In fact, I have to make it a point to regularly check our various Internet servers to make sure that their time-sources did not vanish, like so many others over the years.

But, anyway, back to XP. What a pain. The Linux machine right next to it gets its NTP time just fine. But, the XP machine, even with firewall totally disabled, still does not work. My problem seems pretty typical, read this chat about time on Microsoft's own forum.

Sorry, I just don't understand. If something so simple does not work, what does that imply for more complicated things?

In response to comments, I've added this: Was I too harsh on time?


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