Time synch problem

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A few months ago someone caught me sending a post here at a time
ostensibly over an hour before it'd've been physically possible. Since
then I've tried to pay more attention to a little applet down on the panel
that gives date and time. (It helps to have a cheap atomic watch,
especially with hands.]

It seems like every time I think to look, the fool thing is at least
several minutes off. Right now, for instance, the watch is barely short of
4:40, and the applet says 4:48. (I last reset it only days ago.)

I know what will happen -- it never fails. I tell it to adjust; give
root's password; change the NTP server or just disable and re-enable it --
or merely highlight a server, any server, if none is already. It will then
make me wait a few seconds while it contacts the server, close, and go
back to showing the right time.

What is wrong, and how do I fix it?

Beartooth Staffwright, Wordcrafty Squirreler
FC5; Pine 4.64, Pan; Privoxy 3.0.3; CXO 5.0.1
Dillo 0.8.5, Opera 9.01, Firefox 1.5, Galeon 2.0.1
Remember I have little idea what I am talking about.

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