Friday, May 22, 2009

Time keepers and Time wasters

All watches and clocks in my workshop, including the most expensive mechanical timepieces worth many thousands of dollars, are set to correct time by my master clock - an inexpensive battery-operated Swiss junket carriage clock in a rather ugly case. This unattractive little quartz clock amazingly keeps excellent time - I only have to reset it twice a year when daylight savings kick in.

In recent years, I have found myself setting watches against my personal computer(PC) clock. I am obviously aware that my PC clock is not a standard benchmark for this purpose as it is often many seconds away from the exact time (sometimes even a minute or two) but for customers, this is rarely a problem. A small portion of picky customers would set their watches to radio signal time; nevertheless, the rest could not care less.

Today, my assistant Denis arrived late for work and blamed my computer, giving me a "it's your fault" excuse. He also pointed out that all the 3 PCs in the office set are on different time, as well as his watch and two mobile phones. Obviously, it was time to get our clocks on time.
A quick google search for 'atomic clock' lead to the World Timeserver. According to the website description, "Atomic Clock Synchronisation is the best way to make this happen". Sounds just right! So I clicked on the link
http://www.worldtimeserver.com/atomic-clock/

The Atomic Clock Sync v3.0 has a very intuitive and smooth installation process and a few seconds later, I was ready to press the Sync Now button.
Atomic Clock

However, this seemed too good to be true and I got the following error message on my screen:
"Unable to connect to RPC server".
What a bummer!

So, until we get a grasp of what the RPC server is, we will continue to set our timepieces against our trustworthy Swiss junket clock. And Denis has been asked to set his watch 5 minutes fast, just in case.

5 comments:

THartley said...

Nick,

Are you using Windows PCs ? They are already capable of sync'ing to NTP time sources.

Double click the clock in your task tray, select the internet tab and and replace the default time server with "0.oceania.pool.ntp.org" to get a pool of local ntp time servers.

http://www.ntp.org/ for more info.

Hope this helps...

Thomas

Nick Hacko said...

It works ! It works !

Thomas you are a champ - thanks mate!

andrewmsinger said...

Great Tip...thanks.

CRT said...

What is the radio signal time service? I didn't know there was one operating in Australia. How can I find out more?

wackyvorlon said...

NIST out of Boulder, Colorado operates WWV which broadcasts on 5, 10 and 15 MHz announcing the time. NTP is really the way to go, and more and more computers are running on it.

BTW, RPC is Remote Procedure Call. It's a particular type of network service, almost sounds like it was trying to use the old rpc.time setup. Most people firewall the RPC ports simply because they aren't used much on the wider internet.