Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Don't Waste Another Minute Synchronizing Your Computer

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Don't Waste Another Minute Synchronizing Your Computer

Article excerpt

Byline: Ed Stansel, Times-Union staff writer

Why is it that my car is smart enough to deploy air bags in a crash and to shut itself off if someone tries to steal it, but it still can't tell me with any accuracy what time it is?

Same with my computer. No matter how precisely I set the clock, within days it's off again by at least a couple of minutes.

Judging from the e-mail I receive date-stamped 1904 or 1980 or 2088, a lot of other computer users have the same problem. Either that or my DSL line has tapped into a time warp. Since I haven't received any e-mail from my great-great-grandpa or the Lotto numbers from next Saturday, I've ruled out the space-time continuum theory.

The fact is that a $1,000 computer doesn't keep time any more accurately than a dollar-store wristwatch. Occasionally, you're going to have to reset it.

And while both Macs and PCs were smart enough to set their clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. today for the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, it won't do you much good if the time was wrong to begin with.

Naturally, there's a solution (why else would I ramble on like this?): software that synchronizes your computer's clock with the same atomic clocks used by government agencies to keep track of such critical events as shuttle launches and exactly when the hot doughnuts are ready at Krispy Kreme.

The World Time Server, at www.worldtimeserver.com, offers a simple, free program for Windows computers that compares your computer's clock with the time servers operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. You can set the Atomic Clock Synch software to automatically reset your PC's clock daily or each time you start your computer.

You can get more free timekeeping software at the NIST's Internet Time Service, on the Web at http://boulder.nist.gov/timefreq/service/its. …

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