How to change system time or force a time sync

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http://askubuntu.com – My laptop is probably running out of CMOS battery, I know I have to fix it soon, but until then, this very annoying issue keeps me from using it. Scenario: My system clock is reset to 15/12/08 11:00 AM every time I turn on my computer. This has all sorts of side-effects, one of the more annoying being that I can't log into my gmail. At first I just waited for a time sync to happen, as I have that activated and all. It never happened. I googled and didn't find any way of enforcing a time sync, which I found very strange. Is there really none? Setting the time and date by hand is also a probl (HowTos)