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Old 04-14-2007, 12:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Desktop Manager Can't Sync Device Time Correctly

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Have had difficulties with the 8703e time since I got it a few months ago, and discovered something interesting (and frightening) about the Blackberry desktop manager.

I turned off network time sync on the device because both networks (Blackberry’s and Verizon Wireless’) were drifting too far for my use. I turned on the desktop manager’s time sync option (since I use an NNTP client to keep my computer’s time accurate) and it got worse. Each time (no pun intended) I sync’d the device the error got worse, sometimes as bad as one or two minutes off. Obviously this is unacceptable for a device that’s supposed to be replacing a PDA, since I can easily miss a train or bus by having the wrong time, and some clients have no tolerance for being late for appointments.

The first time I reported this to Blackberry (after installing the DST update) they blew me off and said it was Verizon Wireless’ problem. Then in the course of getting the non-functioning Bluetooth desktop sync to work I installed the Blackberry version of the desktop manager (replacing the Verizon branded version) and the time sync problems continued. Blackberry sat on the trouble ticket after a couple weeks (after a support rep promised to escalate the problem after I demonstrated that the desktop manager was not functioning the way it should), and they ignored my emails, so I called last night to follow-up, and I made an interesting discovery.

During the course of demonstrating (again) the time sync problem I noticed a pattern. Every sync operation from the desktop manager resulted in an error that increased by about 15 seconds, and then zero error, then a 12 second error. I then tried it by clicking on the sync button at 7 seconds past the minute (watching the second hand on the Windows clock app), and the device time came around late at precisely 7 seconds past the minute during the next minute. Clicked again at 12 seconds past the minute, and the device time was then precisely 12 seconds late. Clicked again at 30 seconds past the minute and the device time was precisely 30 seconds late.

Bottom line is the Blackberry desktop manager’s device time sync is broken. When you turn off the device network time sync, and use the desktop manager time sync, it will only correctly sync the date, hour and minute, but the seconds will ALWAYS be wrong, unless if you click on the sync button at PRECISELY the top of the minute (zero seconds).

In all the years I’ve used a Palm PDA (still do, since there is no equivalent time logging program that runs on the Blackberry) I’ve never had this problem. There has been a simple (third-party) time sync program that corrects the Palm within about a second of workstation time, available for years, though the older Palms had a fairly accurate internal clock. The Blackberry 8703e drifts more than a few seconds from day to day, when no time correction is applied, and will drift wildly if using one of the “network” sources, which Blackberry tech support already acknowledged as being fairly inaccurate. There’s also been a real simple Palm OS freeware SNTP client available for years that will do a quick and dirty time sync with a network connection, but apparently there’s no SNTP (or NNTP) client for the Blackberry (any model), just as there’s no Blackberry clock app that shows the seconds (except perhaps one commercial app, but then it can’t show the correct time if the Blackberry can’t sync the time correctly).

Has anyone else noticed that the time on their device just doesn’t seem to be right, or alarms seem to pop up early or late, but can’t quite put their finger on why?
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