Strange Brouhaha

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Something Neat About Windows XP

You're not going to see me singing the praises of Windows too often around here. I use it all the time, but I don't particularly like it. (I don't particularly dislike it, either; I'm apparently the only person in the Western Hemisphere for whom Windows ME never crashed.) I like Linux better. I like OS X better than that. In fact, I think that OS X is the perfect system for me.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about.

Isn't it sad that the clock in an expensive computer can't keep time as well as a watch that you get for 50 cents from a candy machine? I think it is. You spend all this money on a computer and you don't know what time it REALLY is because the computer clock doesn't work well enough. A person needs to resort to an NTP (Network Time Protocol) client to keep their computer clocks correct. At work, we used to use a program called Dimension4, and I use the time synchronizer from AnalogX here at home--AtomicSync, I think it's called, because it gets its time across the Internet from one of the government's atomic clocks at NIST.

I have a machine that I never got around to installing the AnalogX program on, and I'm using it now. I wondered what time it really was, and as I was contemplating hitting the website to get the download, I grumbled to myself "NTP is built in to my Linux and Solaris boxes at work. I think it's built in to my MacOS system. Why can't friggin' Bill Gates put time synchronization into Windows?"


Hey, I'm using Windows XP. Maybe ther IS built-in time synchronization. Let's check. Yes, there it is, in the "Internet Time" tab of the Date and Time control panel. This is the first time in a long time I've actually grinned while using Windows.


  • Hey, we don't screw EVERYTHING UP. We're as capable of learning from other peoples' examples as, well, other people.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:18 PM  

  • I don't think you screw everything up. Hell, Visual Studio is great. Doing Windows development without it (I use SharpDevelop and Eclipse at home) is just not as good. I'm just not particularly enthusiastic about Windows, that's all. There's nothing about it I can point to and say "You know, I really LIKE that."

    And it's not Microsoft's fault that the computer clock can't keep time. None of my computers can keep the correct time by themselves, regardless of the OS. It's a hardware issue.

    You guys are really hosed, though, because whenever you build something into the OS, whether good (like this thing I'm talking about) or bad (XP Service Pack 2's firewall), there are going to be people who like it, people who complain about it, and developers complaining because suddenly their products are no longer necessary.

    By Blogger Robert, at 5:54 PM  

  • Wow, interesting. It looks like the time sync option is only available in XP Home. I have XP Pro at work and I need to use Atomic TimeSync to keep my clock synchronized.

    By Blogger Robert, at 4:17 PM  

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