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Strange NTP Services–Revealed!

Thanks to Judah Levine of NIST Boulder, we have an official explanation of the strange NTP messages:

Let me explain what you are seeing. 1. The first text is a pseudo-random text designed to confuse automated search engines (note the strategic colons). There are 16 poems and they are sent in a random sequence. The text is derived from a jump-rope game and has no special meaning. 2. The remaining digits provide internal information on the operation of the server and are used for automated remote monitoring. All NIST servers do this. 3. Most of the digits relate to complicated internal parameters. However, the first 3 values after the $ sign are easy to explain the first is the overall state of the server (0=ok,>0=various failures) the second is the time since the server was last calibrated (in sec), and the third is the nominal interval between calibrations (in sec) the remaining parameters have to do with the internal clock control of the system. Judah Levine Time and Frequency Divison NIST Boulder

Thanks Judah!