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    Like Clockwork

    June 19, 1998

    If they can ever get my computer to talk to my VCR and my phone, the first thing I want that hunk of metal and plastic on my desk to say is the time. Not because it's that much easier to set a computer's clock, but because it's that much easier to check it. The U.S. Naval Observatory in Northwest lets the public check the "master time" of its hyper-precise atomic clock over the Web, at http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/what.html. Note that the number there appears in 24-hour "Universal Time": Take four hours off it (five if daylight savings time isn't in effect) for local time. There's even a Java applet that can check the accuracy of your computer's clock to the nearest second, given a Java-compatible browser and some favorable computing karma. As it turns out, my computer is exactly on time. So why did I still manage to miss the Metro this morning?

    — Rob Pegoraro rob@twp.com

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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