date hack

The computers at our institute don’t have NTP installed, and the time
is rarely synchronized. The date on the computer I am writing this post
on is about half an hour behind. So here’s how you can get the correct
date from the terminal using wget, sed and the good ol’ date:

# Prints the date.

x="$(wget -q -O - | grep UTC | cut -c 5- | sed s/\,//g)"
date -d "${x}"

Put this file somewhere in your $PATH, make it executable and run it. It’ll print the
date in the local timezone. Here’s how it works:

  1. It gets the date from and dumps it on the
  2. It gets the first line in UTC using grep
  3. It cuts out the
  4. and removes the comma which causes date to choke
  5. Finally date -d converts the date into the local timezone and displays it.

I’ve this script running with watch -n 5 to give the date every five seconds in the terminal.


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