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A Timely Thief

by Brent Kirkpatrick

(Date Published: .)

What does a stolen pocket watch, train crashes, and network time have to do with each other?

a timely thief
has time to steal
between the gap in time
from your watch to mine

a timely train
misses the rails
between the gap in time
from your clock to mine

a timely computer
has time to diverge
between the gap in time
from your CPU to mine


We currently have an international scandal over the time. We have trains crashing. We have computers with divergent times. We have thieves who have time to steal.

Perhaps the next thief might steal an entire train!

In physics time is considered a universal constant. This is why we have the atomic clock. The atomic clock is thought to be one of the most accurate clocks in the world. The most accurate atomic clocks are in Europe.

In engineering time is considered to be a variable. Since each clock, each watch, and each computer have their own mechanism for setting the time, this makes the time variable. Engineers know the practical side of setting time.

In a computer network, we set the time on each computer from another computer nearby. Interestingly enough this time can diverge at some computers in the network.

How does a train crash? The time for the clock on the train is different from the time at the station.

How can a computer be set with the wrong time? The network time may not match that of the atomic clock.

How does a thief steal a watch? They wait until the time for the clock on the security system is discrepant with the clock on the cameras that record their movements.

Please contact us at Intrepid Net Computing if you have questions about network time.

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