Everyday Computing, Features, Technology

Timing is Everything

By Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant
By Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant

LOOK around, and you might find yourself surrounded by clocks and other timing devices. In our homes, we might have: microwave ovens, VCRs, set-top boxes, computers and mobile phones. Office environments might also have telephones, computer servers, and video security systems. Many of these items also display the time. Do you bother to keep your timing devices “in sync” with each other?

Although some twisted logic might suggest that there is no point having many clocks if they all show the same time, what happens when you discover a mismatch among your timing devices? Maybe you rely on a specific item such as your mobile phone to show the correct time. A better question: since when is a minor difference among your timing devices something to worry about?

For the average individual, a disagreement among timing devices is mostly an annoyance. This might result in missing the start of your favourite broadcast, or maybe mis-judging the departure time for a trip.

In a business environment, time synchronisation is critical. Being able to correctly greet customers or to accurately record the arrival-time of workers can make a difference between being early or late. Some important systems demand that the correct time is always maintained. Problems and confusion would arise if your bank ATMs did not all share the correct time. Interestingly, satellite navigation systems (such as GPS) are based on having the correct time signal. Incredibly, if that timing accuracy is off by one millionth of a second, it could cause problems.

If your business requires that certain events are logged for security or audit purposes, then you will need to ensure that your clocks are kept on the correct time. Fortunately, computers can be configured to consult a special time service to accurately maintain the time. Within an enterprise, you are strongly advised to ensure that your computers and server clocks are being synchronised. There are very few reasons why you should not.

When your computer system is correctly configured, those devices are likely to have the accurate time.

Please continue to share your timely views on these articles. Contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The VOICE.

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