2018 PublicNTP Board Meeting - Upcoming Year

January 21, 2019

Man on mountain.
Man on mountain.

January 21, 2019

Scott Waddell

2018 was full of excitement and progress -- which has provided plenty of steam for us to face the challenges that lie ahead of us in 2019.

The Formalities

As the year turns, it’s up to a non-profit charity to make sure its numbers and forms are all squeaky clean. Maintaining tax-exempt status requires very careful documentation.

We’re happy to say that PublicNTP has seen an increase in income and donations in 2018 and that we have been receiving said income through multiple channels. Further expansion, though, has brought charitable solicitation registration to our attention. We’ll need to register with Maryland, Utah, and Virginia as we have board members living in those states (Indiana does not require any particular registration). Thankfully we can register with all three using a single form.

With our 2017 IRS filing under our belt, filing for our 2018 should be easier. Developing this track record is always a high priority for us around this time of year.

Stratum One Horizon

Up to this point, we have deployed several stratum two cloud servers. There is a cap on the usefulness of this approach, as stratum one servers are required to really sync up time-wise. This is why we’re now ready to step into that arena with some on-site equipment of our own.

This last year we ordered the Meinberg GPS180PEX PCI GPS receiver card. It looks like it will integrate cleanly with ntpd through a shared memory driver. Once we’ve settled on a server case, we’ll be able to ship (or in the rare case, personally install) this gps clock card to prospective sites around the world.

Stateside, we’re looking to start in more centralized, if not more saturated, locations like Los Angeles, California; Dallas, Texas; and Miami, Florida.

Prospective sites outside the US include Lagos, Nigeria and Buenos Aires, Argentina for starters. But our plan is to branch out further from those central locations in order to strengthen our global web of stratum one and two servers.

You can help us too! In early 2019, we’ll be releasing a step by step set of instructions, including an itemized purchase list so fellow horology enthusiasts can build and deploy their own stratum one time servers!

Stratum Two Infrastructure

As always, we’re on the lookout for more ways to connect our cloud servers and 2019 has a few already slated to open including Bahrain and Hong Kong. South Africa is another we’re looking at, but we first need to apply for Azure nonprofit credits.

Ways PublicNTP Improves

One major focus area for 2019 will be improving our server monitoring. With us deploying more servers than we ever have, the board members agreed that a more centralized monitoring/maintenance approach is now justified.

We’ll be tracking health metrics (such as incoming and outgoing packets) as well as keeping a watchful eye on the fleet to make sure that required patches are applied immediately.

We’re also looking at reforming the code infrastructure of our servers. That way our dev team can weed out potential issues at the source.

Another point of proactive planning regards our targeted fundraising. We’ll be wanting to focus on donations from various hardware vendors (those that sell stratum one server options) as well as identifying interested companies abroad (Africa and South America being our primary targets throughout 2019).

The Way Forward

We’re always learning more here at PublicNTP. The world is vast, full of curiosities, and requires a delicate but deliberate effort to make positive change. 2018 showed us that our goal is not only useful but achievable. It will be our guiding star through 2019 -- a year we couldn’t be more excited for.

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