Re: [LEAPSECS] Types of time

From: John Cowan <>
Date: Fri, 08 Sep 2000 11:06:42 -0400

Ken Pizzini wrote:
> A point I haven't noted being stated clearly and explicitly yet in
> this discussion: what is the precise problem being solved by UTC in
> the first place?

[excellent, praiseworthy, laudable summary omitted]

> I do appreciate the obnoxious problems
> faced by programmers who need to translate between a time ticked by
> a uniform time source (e.g., a cesium clock) and civil time (for the
> benefit of the humans using the system). The solution used in GPS
> is basically a workable one: have your clock tick TAI, and have an
> authoritative source broadcast the [UTC] offset, though this does not
> work nearly as well for systems (say, a microwave oven) which have no
> use for receiving broadcast or [internet] communications.

That is exactly and in short the issue which brings me here, and probably
lots of other people as well. Computers tick TAI by nature,
but are typically set from a UTC(+-offset) source and need to communicate
in UTC(+-offset) with their users. And not all of us, especially those
working with embedded systems, can afford to receive satellite broadcasts
or use Internet connections.

> On the other hand, I am failing to understand _why_ we have this cockeyed
> leap second scheme in the first place [...]. What is the point?

*The* question.

There is / one art                   || John Cowan <>
no more / no less                    ||
to do / all things                   ||
with art- / lessness                 \\ -- Piet Hein
Received on Fri Sep 08 2000 - 08:16:47 PDT

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