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Author Topic:   Quick Questions, Short Answers - No Debate
dwise1
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Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 2 of 650 (434119)
11-14-2007 3:40 PM


Getting Signature to Display
I've added a signature to my profile, but it doesn't display.

Procedure followed:
1. Entered profile area.
2. Typed text into the Signature edit box.
3. Clicked the Submit Modifications button immediately below that section.

How to I get my signature to display?

Edited by dwise1, : Added the procedure I had followed.

Edited by dwise1, : No reason given.


{When you search for God, y}ou can't go to the people who believe already. They've made up their minds and want to convince you of their own personal heresy.
("The Jehovah Contract", AKA "Der Jehova-Vertrag", by Viktor Koman, 1984)

And we who listen to the stars, or walk the dusty grade,
Or break the very atoms down to see how they are made,
Or study cells, or living things, seek truth with open hand.
The profoundest act of worship is to try to understand.
Deep in flower and in flesh, in star and soil and seed,
The truth has left its living word for anyone to read.
So turn and look where best you think the story is unfurled.
Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the world.

(filk song "Word of God" by Dr. Catherine Faber, http://www.echoschildren.org/CDlyrics/WORDGOD.HTML)


Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 4 of 650 (434129)
11-14-2007 3:54 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by jar
11-14-2007 3:50 PM


Re: Getting Signature to Display
Thanks. Didn't see that one.


{When you search for God, y}ou can't go to the people who believe already. They've made up their minds and want to convince you of their own personal heresy.
("The Jehovah Contract", AKA "Der Jehova-Vertrag", by Viktor Koman, 1984)

And we who listen to the stars, or walk the dusty grade,
Or break the very atoms down to see how they are made,
Or study cells, or living things, seek truth with open hand.
The profoundest act of worship is to try to understand.
Deep in flower and in flesh, in star and soil and seed,
The truth has left its living word for anyone to read.
So turn and look where best you think the story is unfurled.
Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the world.

(filk song "Word of God" by Dr. Catherine Faber, http://www.echoschildren.org/CDlyrics/WORDGOD.HTML)


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 192 of 650 (633775)
09-16-2011 11:32 AM
Reply to: Message 188 by Dogmafood
09-16-2011 8:07 AM


Re: Red on blue
One thing we were taught in HTML class was that our ability to deal with the contrast between different back- and fore-grounds of different colors changes as we get older ... it gets worse. I'm sure there are physical/physiological/psychological explanations for exactly why that is, but the bottom line is that some combinations just don't work. For example, I always found that yellow on blue (like Air Force and Navy signs) worked just fine, but that was 20 years ago. Recently, somebody on this forum complained about that color combination and I also now found it a bit harsh on the eyes.

In HTML/Web/GUI style guides out there there must be a list somewhere that recommends which combinations to use and which ones to avoid.

And, yes, I do have trouble reading red on blue.


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dwise1
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Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 321 of 650 (705431)
08-27-2013 12:53 AM
Reply to: Message 319 by Dr Adequate
08-26-2013 9:47 PM


Re: What Is It?
Conch?

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dwise1
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Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 407 of 650 (794760)
11-24-2016 5:06 PM


Why is My Smartphone's Time Off?
I'm a software engineer doing embedded programming. Our products provide precise time and frequency outputs that are needed by communications networks, including cell-phone networks -- some of our products would go into cell towers. Our products use GPS receivers to obtain that precise time and time duration. GPS depends on highly precise time, which makes it ideal for our purposes. The GPS satellite constellation gets its time from the National Institute of Standards and Time (NIST), one part of the team of "Time Lords" who maintain Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) -- the others are the US Naval Observatory (USNO) and the France's International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM -- formerly by their International Bureau of Time (BIH)). NIST still broadcasts time through the shortware stations WWV and WWVH. Computers set their time through the Network Time Protocol (NTP), which is ultimately synchronized to UTC albeit possibly through several strata -- some communications security protocols require timestamps being close enough, so having your time synchronized with the network can be important.

OK, having access to precise time, that gives me something to set my digital watch to. That's when I noticed that my phone (Windows Phone 8.1) is about 5 seconds slow. I checked my PCs at work and they were both on the right time within a second. I called WWV (you can do that; follow the chain from Wikipedia to the WWV external site) and our product was right on time. My car has GPS; when I checked its time it was right on time (within a second).

Our cell phones should be getting their time from the cell tower, which in turn should be getting its time from the GPS system. So why would my phone be five seconds off?

ABE:
On a hunch, I just power-cycled my phone. Now it's 10 seconds slow.

Take Two:
Since I'm on my home's WiFi, I turned WiFi off on my phone and power-cycled it again. The idea is to force it to connect to the local cell tower for the time. And it's still 10 seconds slow.

What's going on here?


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 409 of 650 (794763)
11-24-2016 6:05 PM
Reply to: Message 408 by nwr
11-24-2016 5:44 PM


Re: Why is My Smartphone's Time Off?
That would be odd, since they must have GPS units in the cell towers. From where else would they get their precise one-pulse-per-second (1PPS) signal with which to synchronize their time-based multiplexing and demultiplexing?

This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 411 of 650 (794765)
11-24-2016 7:10 PM
Reply to: Message 410 by nwr
11-24-2016 6:28 PM


Re: Why is My Smartphone's Time Off?
No, the GPS/UTC offset, AKA "leap seconds", is currently at 17 seconds and will become 18 seconds at the next leap second event at midnight at the end of 31 Dec 2016. No correlation with what I'm observing.

GPS satellite signals transmit GPS time (week number and time of week in seconds since start-fo-GPS-time, 1980Jan06 -- only ten bits in the week number, which caused the "1999Aug22 Bug" and led to ad-hoc solutions involving keeping track of which "week-number epoch" we're in) along with the "UTC offset" and associated information about possible upcoming leap-second events. It's up to the receiver to use that data to obtain UTC time to output as well as to generate the 1PPS signal which it outputs within a few nanoseconds of the start of each second.

That 1PPS signal is crucial for the time-division multiplexing of cell-phone signals, because both ends need to know exactly when to start. We have worked with several different GPS receivers over the years. A very few only output GPS time and the UTC offset, requiring you to generate UTC time. Most will output both or either, depending on how you set it up. The newer ones tend to only output UTC time, requiring you to use the UTC offset to generate GPS time if it is needed.

UTC is human-usable time. The whole reason for leap seconds is to keep it synced up with mean solar time (my page on the creationist leap-second claim, DWISE1'S CREATION /...TION PAGE: Earth's Rotation is Slowing, describes how time-keeping works and why we use the length that a second was in 1900). We know that the exact time is known by each cell-tower because they have valid 1PPS signals, without which they could not pass phone traffic between each other. I cannot think of any reason why a cell tower would be designed to add a meaningless offset to UTC.

Now, the discrepancy by where I work is 5 seconds, while the discrepancy at home is 10 seconds. Maybe it's a latency problem, possibly caused by some kind of round-robin polling activity that discovers and pings the phones within the tower's range. That's all I can think of at this point.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 417 of 650 (794785)
11-25-2016 2:32 PM
Reply to: Message 414 by Dr Adequate
11-25-2016 11:55 AM


Re: Nuts And Bolts
Clay? Remember the movies where the spy/burglar surreptitiously presses the key into clay so that he can go back to his base/lair and make a copy of the key? One thought would be for you to use clay to make two impressions: 1) of the side of the bolt in order to get the thread count, and 2) straight in to get the bolt's diameter.

Or if you know somebody who has a tap-and-die set you could carefully try different dies to see which one fits. As I recall the terminology (I last used one over 40 years ago), a tap is used to cut threads into a hole drilled through metal (you would use a tap on a blank nut) and a die is used to cut threads onto a metal rod in order to turn it into a bolt. Although I worked mainly in carpentry, we did have occasion to re-cut the threads on a stripped bolt, which is why I said "carefully" in the first sentence. A tap-and-die set would be standard equipment in the tool chest of a machinist or of an auto mechanic.

Bolts have standard sizes. They are measured by their diameter and by their thread count (AKA "pitch"). The US Standard has become the Unified Thread Standard (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Thread_Standard) and uses threads per inch (eg, 32, 24). The terms coarse, fine, and extra fine are also used; I would assume you need fine, which the hardware store should be able to spot looking at your clay impression. And there's also metric. Again, the hardware store would be able to figure that out from your impression.


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dwise1
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Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 418 of 650 (794786)
11-25-2016 2:45 PM
Reply to: Message 413 by Modulous
11-24-2016 9:18 PM


Re: Why is My Smartphone's Time Off?
I do have an M8 phone and have not yet been in a position test another type of phone. At least the problem is not in the cellular system infrastructure (or would you call that the "mobile system"?).

It shouldn't be a matter of them using different sources of time. For example, if the Windows phones were set to use an NTP server such as time.windows.com then it would be on-time -- my PC and laptops use that server and are all on-time when freshly synced. Apparently for reasons unknown to us, the phone's clock gets set an appreciably long time after receiving time from the cell tower.

It doesn't cause me any problem. Just a technical puzzle that I, being a geek, needed to solve. Thanks.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 419 of 650 (794787)
11-25-2016 3:33 PM
Reply to: Message 412 by nwr
11-24-2016 7:33 PM


Re: Why is My Smartphone's Time Off?
As far as I know, there is a proposal to stop applying leap seconds to UTC.

There's a discussion of that in Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/...Proposal_to_abolish_leap_seconds.

Mainly, leap seconds causes problems for computer systems and networks and adds complexity by requiring them to know when a leap-second event will occur and how to handle it. The bottom of that section linked to lists instances where it caused a problem. Our units are designed to handle it both because we are aware of leap-second events (most programmers are not even aware of leap seconds) and because we can query our GPS receivers for when the next one will be (it starts to be included in the GPS signals at least a few months in advance). Most computer systems get their time from NTP servers and I am not aware of any field in an NTP packet that provides that information.

A leap-second event customarily occurs at the end of June or December as needed. It could possibly occur at the and of March or September, but that has never happened. Because of variations in the earth's rotation and other factors, the need for a leap second arises irregularly (eg, they normally occur every 18 months, but there was a seven-year gap between leap-second events from 1998Dec31 to 2005Dec31). The French Time Lords at BIPM (formerly BIH) determine when one is needed and releases a bulletin announcing the upcoming leap-second event. From there, it gets uploaded to the GPS constellation and all GPS receivers are informed.

Systems that don't tie into GPS or whose sysadmins don't read BIPM's bulletin will not know that they will suddenly be hit with an extra second. There are a number of applications where suddenly being off by a second can cause a lot of problems (timestamping and guarding against delays greater than transmission time is a common network security technique). So some argue that syncing up with solar noon (a moving target during the year anyway) is not important enough to cause computer problems. I think that no longer adding leap seconds would result in an error of about one minute after a century; hardly even detectable on your sundial.

So GMT will then differ from UTC, because GMT will still get leap seconds.

Does GMT even exist anymore? The term still gets used, just as locals still call the old WWII Naval Air Station Santa Ana lighter-than-air base the "LTA" even though it was a Marine Corps helicopter station from the 1950's to the 1990's. Or how some will still use the verb "tape" when they take a video. We get too attached to old obsolete terminology.

My understanding is that GMT is no longer maintained. When the term is used, it is intended to refer to UTC (maintained through atomic time) or to UT1 (maintained through astronomical observation -- solar observations were not mentioned). If we stop adding leap seconds to UTC, I can see no reason to continue to add them to UT1.

ABE:
Above, I said:

DWise1 writes:

I am not aware of any field in an NTP packet that provides that information.

At the Wikipedia link given above I just now found this:

quote:
The NTP packet includes a leap second flag, which informs the user that a leap second is imminent. This, among other things, allows the user to distinguish between a bad measurement that should be ignored and a genuine leap second that should be followed. It has been reported that never, since the monitoring began in 2008 and whether or not a leap second should be inserted, have all NTP servers correctly set their flags on a December 31 or June 30. This is one reason many NTP servers broadcast the wrong time for up to a day after a leap second insertion, and it has been suggested that hackers have exploited this vulnerability.

Furthermore, looking up the NTP message format in RFC 2030, we find that the first two bits of the packet are the "Leap Indicator":

quote:
Leap Indicator (LI): This is a two-bit code warning of an impending
leap second to be inserted/deleted in the last minute of the current
day, with bit 0 and bit 1, respectively, coded as follows:

LI Value Meaning
-------------------------------------------------------
00 0 no warning
01 1 last minute has 61 seconds
10 2 last minute has 59 seconds)
11 3 alarm condition (clock not synchronized)


Though as indicated in Wikipedia, many servers neglect to add that information.

So I stand corrected.

Edited by dwise1, : ABE: correction of my statement regarding NTP support of leap seconds

Edited by dwise1, : Forgot to add my "mea culpa" at the end.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 421 of 650 (794792)
11-26-2016 4:10 AM
Reply to: Message 420 by caffeine
11-25-2016 4:38 PM


Re: Why is My Smartphone's Time Off?
Well, what you are talking about is something entirely different. Time zones involve adding a timezone offset to UTC, so UTC is still being used. And daylight savings (AKA "Summer Time" in the UK) is yet another different and separate topic which adds an offset to the local standard time, which involves adding a timezone offset to UTC. So it still all comes back to UTC.

Still, it's interesting to look into these things. GMT dates back to 1675 and was used in navigation to calculate longitude. Knowing the local time and GMT, you can calculate your longitude. This was where marine chronometers came into play, though it took another century to develop them. Lacking a chronometer, surveyors did have a telescope and an ephemeris. For example, if Jupiter was present, they would observe its moons and consult the ephemeris, whose entries were set for GMT, to calculate what GMT must be at the time of observation and they would set their pendulum clock to that time (obviously, the pendulum clock would not work during transport). From that they could calculate their longitude (divide 360° by 24 hours and you get 4 minutes of time per degree longitude) and then work all their surveying of that area off that longitude.

Now, the thing about the Prime Meridian is that there have been a great many throughout history -- see Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_meridian (do follow that link for a long list of such Prime Meridians and links to pages about them). Practically every country had its own private Prime Meridian. France's Prime Meridian runs through Paris at 2°20′14.03″ east relative to the Prime Meridian at Greenwich and I seem to recall that it was used in The Da Vinci Code, though the Arago medallions were laid down around 1994. It wasn't until 1884 that an international agreement established Greenwich as the Prime Meridian of the entire world, though France and Brazil abstained from that agreement, France until 1911 for timekeeping purposes and 1914 for navigation.

Time zones have a different history. Traditionally, every individual community had its own local time which they could read almost directly from their sundials (actually, because of earth's elliptical orbit about the sun, solar time varies very regularly throughout the year according to the Equation of Time whose graph can be found on most of the better sundials. Train travel and the associated schedules ruined all that. Again, for every degree of longitude you travel, time changes by one minute -- as I seem to recall, one degree longitude equates to 60 nautical miles at the equator and shrinks as you travel north and south away from the equator (I've done the math a few times, but don't have my notes with me). Britain is where time zones, or at least time corrections, started in which railroad time was based on GMT and every station had to synchronize with that. That involved telegraphed time signals being transmitted and there's reference to clock with two minute hands, one for local time and the other for GMT.

I believe that it was in the USA that, again because of the need to standardize time to accommodate train schedules, the idea of Standard Time was developed in which entire regions would be set to the local time on that region's Standard Time Meridian. Do the math again: divide 360° by 24 hours and you get one hour of time per 15 degrees longitude. A Scot in Canada, Sir Sandford Fleming, proposed a worldwide system of time zones in 1879. It went through some iterations and was presented at the 1884 International Meridian Conference that adopted Greenwich as the world's Prime Meridian, but a world-wide system of time zones was not adopted:

quote:
On the question of universal time, Fleming's opinion to one of the lead-up committees was borne out: "In my judgment, the nearest approach to it which may be attempted with any chance of success, is to have first, a primary standard time, based on the prime meridian that is to be used for non-local purposes; second, to have twenty-four secondary standard times to govern local reckoning." There was discussion of setting zones as small as 10 minutes (2½°), but no motion was tabled as there was little experience to guide the choice.

Most European countries aligned their clocks with Greenwich within ten years, Sweden and North America already having done so, and the trend continued. The French maintained Paris time till 1911 and the following year convened a second conference to address the differences between different observatories which had become apparent, leading to the establishment of the Bureau International de l'Heure after World War I.
{https://en.wikipedia.org/...nal_Meridian_Conference#Outcomes -- please follow this link because the quote contains other links which may be of interest }


From what I've read, it was to be left to each region which time zone it fit into. Go here to see the resultant map. Crazy, but fortunately not too much so.

Last September, I went on a cruise out of Southampton to the south of Spain. Every day, the ship's newsletter included times for sunrise and sunset. Those values seemed crazy, given that the time in Spain west of the Prime Meridian was set to the time in Berlin, one hour to the east of Greenwich. OK, so it is politically expedient for the EU to all be within the same time zone, but hey, the USA has been able to function quite well with four different time zones. OK, so maybe we will very shortly need to redefine "being able to function" when it comes to the USA.

Daylight Savings is another matter. The basic idea is that since in the summer the sun rises before almost anybody wakes up to start the day, we could "steal" that unused morning hour of sunshine and move it to the evening where we could use it. And, of course, the farther north you are the greater the effect is.

Points of interest include that during major wartime, daylight savings gets implemented year-round. In the USA, it was called War Time. I forget what it was called in the UK, but then on top of the year-round "war time" they added the regular "Summer Time", calling it "Double Summer Time".

This kind of technicality bothers no one most of the time, except when a client based outside the UK asks me to call them at 15:00 GMT in June, and I'm left baffled if they mean British time or UTC.

I feel your pain.

The US military uses a system in which each time zone is given an identifying letter. I do not know where this system comes from. GMT is in the time zone centered over the Prime Meridian, which is Time Zone Z ("Zulu" in our phonetic alphabet). When I served in Comm Job Control, all the times in all our reports to higher authorities were in Zulu time. In that sense, Zulu time is UTC. One time, I made the mistake of "correcting" Zulu. Uh, no, that does not ever fly.

I hit a situation a bit over a decade ago. At that time, we had a few German engineers working with us. One day one of them approached me with a question. His plane ticket was for 12:30 PM. Was that half past midnight, or half past noon? I was actually as stymied as he was since I had been on 24-hour time since the late 1960's. US schedules are always in 12-hour time, whereas the rest of the world that I have observed has always been on 24-hour schedule time.

Perhaps the solution is to ask the same question that you would ask a creationist: Just what the hell are you talking about?


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 423 of 650 (794807)
11-26-2016 1:20 PM
Reply to: Message 422 by Percy
11-26-2016 6:27 AM


Re: Why is My Smartphone's Time Off?
Part of the issue with the computer would be 1) whether it is set up to get time from an NTP server (I will assume that it is) and 2) when it synchronizes its time with that NTP server. My XP and Win7 boxes at work were spot-on, but my Win10 box at home was off by about half a minute. In the earlier versions, you could right-click the time on the task bar, select Adjust, select the Internet Time tab, and click on the update time button (I seem to recall that there's one more layer to drill down through).

That doesn't work on Win10, where you instead get Settings' time settings page which does not provide that option. So I unselected automatic time updates, left Settings, then entered back in and reselected that option in order to force an update. That did work and now my computer's time was spot-on (has probably drifted since then). But that was far too inelegant.

Turns out that Win10 still has the Control Panel -- WindowsKey-R and run control. Pick the Date and Time option and it will open up the old familiar Adjust Time dialog with its Internet Time tab.

If you're running something like Linux, then do whatever it takes to sync up with your NTP server (I've been away from that environment for over a decade). Same with your flip-phone.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 448 of 650 (810409)
05-29-2017 10:37 AM


What Kind of Stone Is This?
Last year I went on a Southern Spain cruise. In Cádiz, Spain, our guide pointed out the use of a particular kind of rock in almost all the buildings. She described it as an aggregation or concretation or the like of materials on the sea floor, including shells. And sure enough, we saw it everywhere, especially in the older buildings.

I just returned from three weeks in Central Europe. In Salzburg, Austria, we started seeing what appears to be the same kind of stone used in older construction, such as this column at the Priesterseminar where we stayed (please pardon the rotation):

Then walking through the Altstadt, we saw that stone used over and over again, especially as posts in doorways, in the remnants of the city walls and city gates, everywhere.

Can anybody identify what it is?


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 451 of 650 (810447)
05-29-2017 3:55 PM


The Birds of Mount Pilatus
We visited the top of Mt. Pilatus, a short distance south of Luzern, Switzerland.

There were these birds flocking about; I wasn't able to catch one in a photo. They were about the size and shape of crows, but they had bright yellow beaks. They would circle about, land on the railings, seemed to try to forage on tourist food. And their cry was very similar to that of a hawk or an eagle.

Anybody have an idea what they could have been?


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5055
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 453 of 650 (810449)
05-29-2017 4:27 PM
Reply to: Message 452 by kjsimons
05-29-2017 4:03 PM


Re: The Birds of Mount Pilatus
That certainly looks right. They did look very much like crows, but the beaks and call were very different. The calls that I found for it were very different from the normal crow caws, but still not quite like the eagle call I heard. Though I only heard that call once, so maybe there was an eagle or other raptor circling above out of sight.

Thanks!


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