Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day...

I have a strange obsession with time. I have never been able to hear the pips and not feel the urge to check my watch or look at a nearby clock. Every time I hear the Town Hall Clock chime, I compare to see how far wrong it is. (It is particularly amusing when the chimes get out of synch with the clock, often due to them muting it for Brass Band recordings in the Town Hall).

I expect people to be not late and meetings to start on time, a habit that not too many others share!

My first significant watch was a Sinclair Black Watch which I got for my eighteenth birthday. It lasted a year before the cheap plastic case fell to bits but the electronics kept going for another five.

Over the last few years, I have generally bought radio controlled ones which take care of GMT/BST- or at least the Rugby ones do. (I had a European one synchronised to Germany and I was at the mercy of being out of step on occasions). I was rather shocked to notice it was a second out last week, until I realised I was listening to the pips on DAB Radio which has a noticable propagation delay.

I think I know why I am so paranoid about time- it is reconciling call traces across disparate systems running with different system times, particularly when trying to track down specific calls across voice recorders, MI systems & itemised bills.

The internet is supposed to cure all that as accurate Internet time is readily available using NTP (network time protocol) derived from stratum - 1 (i.e. very accurate) clocks. However I have worked at places where derived system time was loads out & stayed that way.

Tick... tick... tick...

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