Comments on: What's Up With Time?
REBOL Technologies

Comments on: 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?

11 Comments

Comments:

Paul
7-Apr-2008 13:27:08
Carl, I have been in four Enterprise environments (fortune 500) that have over 100,000 XP boxes in the field as a member of a Global Field Services team who would directly get a call for time issues. I was part of a team that received corporate jets during the Y2k scare to for my team to be pre-emptive in patching potential time related issues. I must say if anything I believe XP handles time very well. We do use time servers. The article you mentioned seems to reference problem related to Microsoft's time servers. I wouldn't consider it an XP problem just based on this experience. Maybe, a specitic time server is at fault here. In fact, I'm sending this post from a machine that is currently properly sync'd to a corporate time server on an XP Professional computer.
EyeAm
7-Apr-2008 14:28:27
We'll just replace Windows in this world. Who needs Microsoft, right? ;-)
BP
7-Apr-2008 15:59:27
Just an observation -

I follow and keep up with Rebol because I truly believe it shows promise. I also watch because of Carl Sassenrath - who I believe to be important in the world of computing.

However, with respect, I must say that such negative remarks do not "look good" from a person of Carl's stature.

I believe it wise to take the "high road" and deliver a better product with class.

You never know who is watching.

EyeAm
7-Apr-2008 18:40:52
Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.

Who gives a flip who is watching? I don't think true rebels are out to impress them. Others don't like it, oh well. :)

EyeAm
7-Apr-2008 19:40:48
They've had how many years to get IT right? They've had how much money to pay people to get IT right?

Yeah, well, they can't complain much when something on the horizon appears that resembles the Death Star, now can they?

:-) If they're watching, they're on notice now. Their doom and nightmare is coming.

tomc
7-Apr-2008 20:35:01
run your ntp server on your linux box that seems to be able too fetch time correctly and point the windows time update service at the linux box ... less network induced problems for the windows box and if they are wrong at least they will agree ;)
BP
7-Apr-2008 23:14:07
My apologies to the list (well, except maybe to EyeAm). I re-read my message and it came across stronger than I intended.

Thanks.

EyeAm
8-Apr-2008 3:30:37
Yeah...I'm exceptional ;-)
GreG
8-Apr-2008 6:29:05
I report same error as Carl with XP, I observed that since many months ago from now.
Brian Tiffin
9-Apr-2008 11:50:56
Carl; You may know this one already but ...

nistclock.r

Ladislav reads a simple daytime:// off of time-a.nist.gov and parses it. He has set-system-time coded for Linux and Windows.

Cheers

Carl Sassenrath
10-Apr-2008 11:45:52
Thanks for the replies.

I've posted this in response: Was I too harsh on time?

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