Comments on: Was I too harsh on time?
REBOL Technologies

Comments on: Was I too harsh on time?

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
10-Apr-2008 18:05 GMT

Article #0360
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I've read the various comments to my What's up with Time? article. Some of you felt I was too harsh. One person felt I was not being professional about it.

Was I too harsh?

Let's back up just a bit, and let me restate some basic points:

  1. Advances in computing are supposed to make computers easier, not more difficult.
  2. If I have problems doing something fairly basic on a computer, considering my background, I would think many other users could have problems as well.
  3. If I Google around, I see others have the same basic problem. So, I'm not alone on this.
  4. Most individuals and small companies do not have an IT team to fix their time/clock problems.
  5. It should not be necessary to hire a consultant to fix your clock.
  6. If fetching the time from the network fails, it would sure be nice to know why it failed. DNS? Missing host? IP problem? Bad stratum? (That's my guess.) Note, the Time control panel nor the Event Viewer tell me anything useful about the failure.
  7. All of my Apple OS X machines work fine and in fact were trivial to setup. (Yes, I know, many of you don't want to hear that.)
  8. Network time (NTP) has been around a long time. Other than time servers going off-line, it has been reliable for me.

So, am I being too harsh? I really don't know. My blog seemed like a fair critique. It's difficult to judge, reflectively speaking. Also, I suppose the more fundamental my complaint (time is pretty fundamental) the more I may come across as harsh.

The bottom line was that it did not work, and it is a pretty simple thing that I consider essential these days.

I have no doubt that large managed enterprises with thousands of clients have it working nicely. And, yes, I could take the time to set up my own local time server... but somehow, that's not a good response to my basic complaint.

PS: Finally, today, I got it working, at least on this particular XP laptop. It appeared to be a combination of factors and using some of the notes found on Google, typing some commands in the shell, rebooting, etc. I got it working. But, I'm reluctant to believe that my parents, or for that matter most people in my hometown, would go through all that trouble, or even know where to start. And, after all, that's my main point.



Grant Rettke
10-Apr-2008 13:38:08
You weren't too harsh on time.
Not My Name
10-Apr-2008 14:21:38
Actually, you were exactly right.

I find that to be a problem in my workplace, too. I just manually change the time on any computer I touch, because the built-in synchronization function fails too often.

10-Apr-2008 17:34:06
Sorry - I do not mean to be a problem here. But since Carl asked ...

I did have issue with the tone of Carl's message - especially since he is technologist - a developer. Not that I really and truly care, it is his opinion, but it came across to me as splitting hairs. It didn't look good to me.

What computer systems do not have issues or bugs? ALL current desktop operation systems are too difficult in reality if you really think about it. While on a different scale as the OS, I am sure Rebol bugs and errors have caused many to pull their hair in frustration. This is just the current world of computing.

Carl's ending quote of, "Sorry, I just don't understand. If something so simple does not work, what does that imply for more complicated things?" Pretty much throws the baby (XP) out with bathwater ...

I don't think Carl's message was too harsh - just a little slanted.

BTW, I do like MacOSX, I still have three NeXT cubes and an Amiga 3000. Microsoft is far from perfect - but they are good, very good at what they do. I have honestly admit this.

Ok, enough from me. Thanks Carl for listening.

18-Apr-2008 8:23:23
I appreciate Carl's perspective. I think the reason that Rebol has been so useful to me is a result of his practical and real view about what is fundamentally important in computing. To design great systems, it must be important to not simply accept thoughts such as "ALL current desktop operation systems are too difficult in reality if you really think about it", but to try to question those types of problems and FIX/IMPROVE them. That's why I keep coming back to Rebol over and over again to get my own projects done. It works, and it works well, simple things are simple, etc., because the person who designed it has maintained a clear view about fundamentals and productive, functional, useful design.
18-Apr-2008 10:44:18
Nick - I'm afraid you missed my whole point.
Nick Antonaccio
18-Apr-2008 22:40:51
BP, my post was a response to this thread and the point Carl makes about simple fundamental components not working effectively in bloated modern systems. Some of what you wrote, including "This is just the current world of computing" seems to miss the very point of the thread, which appears to me to be, shouldn't those types of things work, and aren't such difficulties just symptoms of generally bad design, and shouldn't the industry be more focused on engineering large systems better from the ground up? Carl wrote, "If you cannot get the simplest things right, you'll never get the complicated things even close". My reaction to this post is that Carl seems to be communicating an ideal and a guiding principle in his work which I appreciate, and for which I'm grateful :) I don't mean to pick on you or misrepresent your comments. I'm just adding my perspective to the conversation, and offering my support and thanks for Carl's work and his beliefs :)
Tim Johnson
27-May-2008 14:45:33
I switched from windows to linux in 2000. My market is linux and sun system servers, and I've gotten to prefer linux over windows. A year ago I switched from slackware linux to ubuntu. There is a geek comment going around the internet that unbuntu stands for "Doesn't understand slackware" - actually ubuntu means: "Doesn't have time for slackware". Ubuntu is just so much easier to use and has the convenience of the debian update engineering. This is a plus for me. With OS X being "linux under the hood", I would probably be very comfortable with the command-line environment. I see likely a transition to OS X in my future.

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