the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur

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The serendipity of unindustriousness

Fortuity came calling after my completion of a small side-project. I converted one of my existing report tools to .net and, after making some final modifications at the request of the end users, I put it to bed. I loaded up the source code for the old and new versions on the two monitors, and compared the two for awhile so that I could derive some Zen-like pleasure in the comparative elegance of the newer code. I closed the editors and turned my attention to the next task.

That's when it happened.

It started small. First there was a soul-crushing realization that I was wasting my life, followed by an existential crisis as my ego and id battled it out for supremacy. Finally a wave of indifference and nihilism washed over me, carrying away every trace of motivation, enthusiasm and drive. I'm sure you've all experienced it - that sudden conviction that whatever you are doing at that exact moment, or were planning to do, or have ever done, the time would ultimately be, or have been better spent masturbating.

I tried my hardest to overcome my aversion to the mind-numbing tedium of the next task, but my Pavlovian desire to do a good job in return for pay was no match for that tsunami of indifference.

I decided it was high time to build myself a little Christmas clock, which would count down the days, hours, minutes, seconds and milliseconds until Christmas. So that's what I did. And it was fun.

It was when I decided to run it on both of my desktops that I noticed an interesting discrepancy; they both showed a different time until Christmas. I looked back and forth between the two machines. One was sitting north, and slightly east of the other - but certainly not far enough east to affect the time by that much. Besides, time zones operate on entire hours.

The machines are supposed to sync themselves with the server clocks. Obviously that hasn't been happening. This is not good, since they both run scheduled jobs, and they each count on the other to run its jobs at the right time. I tried synchronizing them with the NIST clock, and that's when I realized that they had set the credentials on these machines to disable that feature. "Surely," I thought, "there must be some way to sync the times on these two machines without having to manually change the clocks every couple of weeks!"

I did some talking with Google and found somebody else who had run into the same thing. The answer was, "You can't sync with NIST. You are probably on an Active Directory (I am) and they need the machines to be synced with the main server." Huh. That's no help. Then further down in the message he said, "You can probably play with the Net Time command and see if it has any useful options."

It did.

I now have a batch job on both machines, scheduled to run at 06:00 every Monday. It contains two lines:

@echo off
net time /set /y

And that's it. Now both of my machines are in perfect sync, and will always be within a second or two of each other's clock.

But I still feel like I've been wasting my life. Oh well, it's raid night tonight. Nothing like some ph@t l3wtz to make me feel better.
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