Re: Time ticks on a computer

Date: Fri Nov 11 2011 - 06:25:15 UTC

  • Next message: Russell Eberst: "2011NOV10.OBS"

    I don't know of a "talking" UTC software clock, but there are many "visual" software clocks that provide very accurate time. If you have an Android phone, I can recommend an app called "UTC Time". This has been dead-on accurate in tests where I've compared it against WWV audible ticks. I could detect no difference in the timing of the rollover of the digits in the app versus the ticks from WWV. That would imply accuracy to better than a tenth of a second. This app re-syncs to network time servers on average about every twelve seconds (it tries every ten seconds, but sometimes has to skip a cycle).
    I would imagine you want an audio solution so that you could record observations with an accurate time stamp in the background. Since video recording is now very cheap (available on nearly every digital camera), it seems to me that you could get the same time-stamping with a "visual" software clock. Here's how it might work: you take your digital camera or even a webcam-equipped laptop and your smartphone out in your backyard. You start your camera in video recording mode. You prop up your smartphone in front of the camera and turn on "UTC Time" or whatever app you prefer so that the video continuously displays the exact time. Then you make your observations and either use hand signals to "record" events as they occur or just call them out. Hand signals will at least keep your neighbors from thinking you're talking to yourself. 
    By the way, even without an app, the system time on Android phones is reliably between 13 and 15 seconds ahead of UTC (select Accra, Ghana for a city that's always on UTC if you don't find UTC as a direct option).
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