Re: SeeSat-D Digest V00 #105

From: Louis J. Esch (
Date: Sat Mar 11 2000 - 06:56:53 PST

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    At 10:01 PM 03/10/00 -0800, you wrote:
    >Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 14:12:26 +0000 (GMT)
    >Subject: Better than a stopwatch?
    >When I started serious observing many years ago I used a  mechanical
    stopwatch - - - (and so on)
    Just in case some of the subscribers to SeeSat are not familiar with the
    problems associated with the "clock" used on PC systems, there is an
    excellent description of accurate timing at the following web site:
    This site offers not only a detailed treatise on why the PC "clock" is not
    really measuring time, but also offer two excellent programs,  RighTime and
    TimeSet, that can turn the PC "clock" into a true timing device accurate to
    within tens of milliseconds per day, as opposed to minutes per day without
    the correction.  There are also links to sites that will tell you just
    about everything you need to know about time measurement in general.
    The clock can only be made accurate, by the way, on a PC that is running
    under native DOS, not Windows or a DOS running as a "daughter" from
    Windows.  This is because the creators of Windows, apparently more
    interested in glitz than in scientific accuracy, made a system that steals
    so many computer cycles away from the "clock" that the displayed time can
    be off by many minutes a day, depending on what operations are performed.
    As a retired physicist, I am fastidious about knowing the correct time.  My
    rule is:  if a clock displays only minutes, it must be the correct minute.
    If it displays seconds, it must be the correct second.  And so on. I'm glad
    my watch doesn't display milliseconds, or I would get a stomach ache trying
    to keep it right!
    The creators of RighTime and TimeSet clearly feel the same way about time.
    RighTime, for example, can keep a computer so accurate that it can be used
    as a secondary time standard within, say, a given laboratory.  And TimeSet,
    used to get the correct time from any of various standard sources around
    the world, actually corrects for the delay time in transmitting the time
    signal from the source to the computer, whether by phone, a geostationary
    satellite, or whatever.
    In case I sound like a salesman for these programs, I'm not, and there may
    be other programs that do the job just as well.  But I do appreciate good,
    solid, no frills scientific work, and the creator of RighTime is one who
    has done just that.
     - Lou Esch
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