Non-Network Time Protocol for Haiti?

Adam Holt holt at
Sun Mar 6 11:51:24 EST 2016

In Haiti many teachers and kids would prefer the time was set correctly on
their XO-1 laptops, no matter if the time is off by a couple minutes.  So
they could really use a script that creates the following /boot/olpc.fth,
writing it out to an attached USB stick:

\ Open Firmware
select /rtc decimal 0 0 0 1 1 1804 set-time
\ Optionally unlock XO

Then the teacher/operator can walk around the room to fix all XO's clocks
(refreshing the USB time as often as she/he wants).  Of course not every
day can be Haitian Independence Day (Jan 1 1804!) so what the script should
really do is create a timestamp 1 minute into the future, filling out those
6 numbers above correctly.

The untrained operator (teacher typically) will then move the USB stick to
the XO(s) in need, to set their RTC's (real-time-clocks).  Some ambitious
teachers will want to do this every month/semester it appears, to
sanitize/harmonize all clocks in their classroom/school as much as possible!

Any recommended approaches to getting the UX clean, so that such untrained
operator have a visual confirmation that the USB stick has been updated
with a proper time-stamp, and (perhaps just as important??) the stick
mounted+unmounted effortlessly without too much risk, when this USB stick
is recreated hundreds of times within 1 day?  A non-confusing command line
script can work, that says basically 2 things:


The less keyboard activity required from the teacher the better.  But I'm
tempted by command syntax as follows:

usb-timestamper <minute-into-the-future>

Such that running "/bin/usb-timestamper 5" would create USB sticks
timestamped 5 minutes into the future.  The default should be 1 minute into
the future, so running "/bin/usb-timestamper" would be equivalent to
"/bin/usb-timestamper 1".

Conclusion: am just looking for general suggestions from everyone as we
cook up something simple!  We do not want to rely on networking of mesh at
all in this case, as USB sticks are the most reliable and quick approach in
this case.

Clarif: I will of course train the teacher/operator to set the clock
correctly on their own XO-1, which will typically be running OLPC OS 13.2.7
-- so that all these "offline-NTP sticks" are created based on a reasonably
accurate baseline timestamp :)

Unsung Heroes of OLPC, interviewed live @ !
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