Thursday, August 30, 2012

What time is it?

If anyone knows what time is is, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) does.

This little Flash widget is nothing special with today's pervasive NTP (Network Time Protocol) usage, even on personal computers. But there was a time when I would set my watch (I don't even wear a watch any more!) every day by listening to NIST's radio station WWV from Boulder Colorado.

In my younger days, in the times of sunspot peaks and fantastic radio propagation, I could hear both WWV from Boulder with its male-voiced announcements and WWVH from the Island of Kauai, Hawaii using female-voiced announcements.

While I occasionally listen to WWV still, WWVH is not to be heard. So, I present you with this time display not because it is specially useful, or innovative, but because it is nostalgic. NIST is still the source of the correct time, be it UT1 or UTC but now we all use it without thinking about it, or even knowing about it.

Take a look at the super-nerdy time science and technology at that link above, it's one of those unsung critical things that keep all this technology working.


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