Network Time and OS X

I’m not sure why it is that computers are so lousy at keeping track of time, but it drives me crazy. Both my alarm clock and my watch synchronize with an atomic clock in Colorado multiple times a day to ensure they are as accurate as possible (to the naked eye, they are exactly accurate), meanwhile the clock on all my computers (including my PDAs) are free wander aimlessly. Well, no more. I discovered the other day that you can configure OS X to synchronize with a network time server by going into System Preferences -> Date & Time -> Network Time, then checking the “Use a network time server” checkbox. Now my computer and my watch are never more than one second apart (for some reason, Apple’s time server is about one second slow), and my PDA gets its time from the computer.

Now I have to find some other excuse for always being late.

8 Responses to Network Time and OS X

  1. JediHomer says:

    On Windows I tend to use TClock way not only do I get accurate time (every 2 hours it checks a time server) but I get to change my Start button to be a Homer button to confuse anyone that uses my machine 😉

  2. Tako says:

    I do not want to disrespect your Alarm Clock & Watch, or in fact that is exactly what I want to do: while doing some research for a timing project where I needed the exact same time at two different locations I found out that the Atom Clock situation (or at least the European version) isn’t all that accurate. Although the Atom Clock itself is of course very accurate, they only guarantee a .3 second accuracy at the client side, even if you update more than twice a day. If you really want accurate timing, get an GPS. If you aren’t moving a GPS will give you a millionth of a second accuracy.Now, if only I had some spare time to write that synchronizing script.

  3. It’s definitely not exactly accurate since Apple’s time server reports the time to be almost two seconds slower than my watch. And is about .5 seconds slower than my watch. So there is most definitely a margin of error, however I consider anything within a few second range to be pretty accurate since I’ve know computers to loose or gain minutes in a matter of weeks.Your GPS suggestion is a good one. I’ll check it out. Unfortunately, nobody makes one small enough to fit on your wrist (Casio has tried, but it’s too big). As soon as someone does, I’ll buy it.

  4. Nando says:

    “Apple’s time server reports the time to be almost two seconds slower than my watch. And is about .5 seconds slower than my watch.”It’s interesting to note that whatever shapes or forms a clock presents on its UI, they all whir, pendel or pulse at exactly the same time. In fact, they can ONLY whir, pendal or pulse at exactly the same time.

  5. Tako says:

    That reminds my of my physics teacher in high school who asked: would you rather have a watch that works or one that stands still ? Answer is of course one that stands still because you are sure that watch displays the exact time at least twice a day; a working one might (or most probably will) display the wrong time at any given point.

  6. Sian Jones says:

    I’ve now used the “Use a network time server” checkbox. Really good way of keeping all in time.

  7. Paul Tompson says:

    Yes I have found this option it works well

  8. Maya Toitova says:

    I’ve just pointed my network time reporter to the NIST which is used by anyone required by law to use a reliable time source… didn’t sem to be wildly different. Frankly I don’t care about a couple of seconds… But my interest in this question arises because I see that I am several minutes ahead of TV time, so I am always tuning in to see a show and waiting 4 or 5 minutes before it gets going… My cable box clock shows this “tv time” accurately… is there a time server that keeps tv time?