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    Re: Time and cel nav, a stupid question
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2008 Apr 23, 01:08 -0400

    Lu, you wrote:
    "I guess I stand corrected on cellphones telling time."
    This year, it all depends. I have two cell phones turned on at the moment.
    One is a four-year-old flip phone. The other is a Windows Mobile touch phone
    about four months old. Only the latter has phone service (Sprint, by the
    way). I kept the other when I upgraded, evewn though it technically has no
    service, because I discovered that it still informs me when I have
    voicemail, and more importantly, it gets network time, so it makes a very
    nice alarm clock. The old phone's time is perfect to a fraction of a second.
    The new phone's time is typically off by ten seconds or so. Clearly, these
    two devices are getting the time from the cell phone network in different
    ways. Also, the older phone adjusts to the time zone it's in whether I like
    it or not, and if I'm out of service range, it loses the time. The new one
    will remain on my chosen time zone even if I cross time zone boundaries, and
    it maintains the time when I'm off the network.
    The way I see it, very accurate cell phone time had little value to most
    users. The ability to adjust the time and maintain control over zone changes
    is more in line with the way most people have used watches traditionally.
    I'm sure we all know someone who sets a watch ahead five minutes so that
    they've "never late". On the other hand, how many people need to know the
    time to better than the nearest minute? Navigators... Ebay bidders maybe...
    not many other people. So the highly accurate time that became an accidental
    feature of cell phone service (at least with some providers) a few years ago
    has been lost to evolution. But believe me, I wouldn't trade my new phone's
    features for anything. How could I ever live without broadband Internet
    while walking down a street, or sitting at the beach, or having dinner in a
    restaurant? ;-)
    PS: Final irony: my old phone that keeps very accurate time has no seconds
    display. The new phone that's "only close" displays seconds.
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