dmine45

Verizon To Pull Plug on Weather & Time Services

22 posts in this topic

We've already seen this in at&t served areas of the country (California in particular) a couple of years ago.

Verizon already killed it in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Now it looks like they'll kill it in DC on June 1, 2011.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/08/AR2011030805009.html

Edit: Looks like this affects both DC (202/301/703) and Baltimore (410)

Edited by dmine45
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410-844-1212

Think again :/

Ugh... they added that this afternoon. So looks like Baltimore and DC will be both removed on June 1st. :(

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I hope the Boston time will be around for a while longer, you can hear those people doing some really strange stuff, presumably under the guise that nobody can hear them. One time I caught some crazy sounding woman praying to the time machine. Whether or not the Audichron gods helped her remains a mystery. No matter when you call in, though, there always seems to be someone on there. Sometimes, it's bustling with activity, other times, conversation goes well under the volume of a hearing test (use a good pair of headphones).

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All I can say is that I'm glad the announcement they put before the Baltimore time number doesn't obscure how it used to sound.

ThoughtPhreaker, do you still have some backdoor numbers so the Baltimore time and weather? Now would be a good time to post them.

Edited by JmanA9
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Right you are, good sir

410-653-9999

410-750-9999

410-284-9999

410-291-9999

410-312-9999

410-321-9999

These all seem to have their own advantages and disadvantages, I'll put more up as I find them.

Edited by ThoughtPhreaker
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I've been trying to get through to the Baltimore time for the past 3 hours, and it rings out. What a joke, on one of two days out of the year that people have a reason to hear the correct time, they can't get through. Verizon is sending the message home loud and clear: they don't care about this service anymore.

It's kind of funny, up until a few weeks ago, most of the announcers for the DC weather would say "The weather is brought to you as a public service by Verizon." Verizon doesn't see these as public services anymore; they're relics that nobody uses, which is not true.

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The Boston Time Machine (sounds like a better name for another band out of Boston) still hasn't been updated with the correct time. I'll bet Verizon dumps the Boston time service pretty soon.

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I've been trying to get through to the Baltimore time for the past 3 hours, and it rings out. What a joke, on one of two days out of the year that people have a reason to hear the correct time, they can't get through. Verizon is sending the message home loud and clear: they don't care about this service anymore.

I would be tempted to agree with that up until about an hour ago. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it long dropped off the radar for a lot of the higher-ups in the company, sadly. The only revenue it brings in is probably the USF money from long distance carriers terminating calls to it, which isn't even legitimately possible for the weather if you're calling the main number.

That all aside, though, I called the time shortly after it'd started taking calls again. It was clearly in a bit of rough shape; both the tone and the recording itself were very off and pitch. Today, though, it sounded unusually clean, and borderline brand new. Considering the circumstances, we might not get a chance to hear it sound this clean again, so I got a few minutes worth of phrases from it. Here's an excerpt of it;

http://thoughtphreak...ltimore844.flac

I think this is a tipoff of some sort that a tech somewhere in Baltimore (and probably likewise in Boston) cares about the machine. What I think is happening is they're doing this purely because they want to keep the machine running, not because someone is telling them to take care of it. They probably have to find some free time during their day to maintain it.

I *may* be able to get an ISDN grade recording of the time/weather (not bit by bit, sadly, but from an analog output on an ISDN-capable machine) sometime depending on what happens. We'll just have to wait and see.

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618-465-4545 is the Time & Temperature in Alton, Illinois, which is run by a hospital. There's still a lot of non-phone company time and temperature numbers around the U.S. so hopefully even if the phone companies shut all theirs down, we'll still have things like this for us sentimental old people.

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618-465-4545 is the Time & Temperature in Alton, Illinois, which is run by a hospital. There's still a lot of non-phone company time and temperature numbers around the U.S. so hopefully even if the phone companies shut all theirs down, we'll still have things like this for us sentimental old people.

Sure there will always be recorded announcements available by phone. But isn't most of what is interesting the special equipment that was used to allow large numbers of people to connect to these services?

Up until a couple of years ago, the National Weather Service did the recordings for the main weather number in Faribanks, AK. I had been calling this since the late 80's. They then announced that the "same information" is available on an automated 800 weather number (where all conditions, forecasts, etc. are read by a machine). It was a pain for people to call this though because the menus went very deep.

After being out of service less than a year, Alascom picked up the service, at its old number. It now has an automated temperature readout, followed by a brief local forecast.

907 452 3553

AsteriskPhreak

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618-465-4545 is the Time & Temperature in Alton, Illinois, which is run by a hospital. There's still a lot of non-phone company time and temperature numbers around the U.S. so hopefully even if the phone companies shut all theirs down, we'll still have things like this for us sentimental old people.

Sure there will always be recorded announcements available by phone. But isn't most of what is interesting the special equipment that was used to allow large numbers of people to connect to these services?

Up until a couple of years ago, the National Weather Service did the recordings for the main weather number in Faribanks, AK. I had been calling this since the late 80's. They then announced that the "same information" is available on an automated 800 weather number (where all conditions, forecasts, etc. are read by a machine). It was a pain for people to call this though because the menus went very deep.

After being out of service less than a year, Alascom picked up the service, at its old number. It now has an automated temperature readout, followed by a brief local forecast.

907 452 3553

AsteriskPhreak

at least these still work if you want to hear a robotic voice giving you the weather, and tide information...(vary depending on where you are i guess):

162.400

162.425

162.450

162.475

162.500

162.525

162.550

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrbro.htm

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There's still a lot of non-phone company time and temperature numbers around the U.S. so hopefully even if the phone companies shut all theirs down, we'll still have things like this for us sentimental old people.

There are. http://shaneyoung.com/timeandtemp/

(fyi, that site is run by the guy who runs the Wawina, MN switch)

Back when the time and temperature number in California was being shut down, I remember talking to a former CLEC employee at the time. He was pretty ambitious about trying to salvage the machine. I think he'd even started working out an agreement with a local company to provide inbound service for it. The idea ended up falling through, but he mentioned talking to one of the AT&T employees who worked in the office where the time was. I don't remember how the conversation went exactly, but it went something like this;

"So just so we're on the same page, how was the switch provisioned to send calls to the time?"

""I-er, um, well, nobody really knows."

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I'm under the impression that the techs in California actively watched over the machine. One afternoon about 6 years ago, I called POP-CORN about 5 or 6 times in a row, probably because I enjoyed listening to it. A few minutes later, I got a call from 408-767-2676. When I answered, a woman asked me if I had been calling POP-CORN for the time, and I said yes. She wanted to make sure I wasn't having trouble getting through and to make sure everything sounded right. Being 15, I was scared by the situation, and I missed out on my golden opportunity to find out some details about the machine. Regardless, if the machine was "put in a corner to slowly die", how could someone have noticed a repeat caller, moreover, call him back to make sure everything was okay?

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I just called NERVOUS, and you won't believe what happened.....I got the correct time! The volume is also much louder than it has been for the past few months.

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If you have a police scanner that covers the civilian aircraft band (108-137 MHz.), go to http://www.airnav.com/ and look for the ATIS or AWOS frequency for your local airport. That'll tell you the current weather conditions at that airport. If you're receiving one from 108-118 Mhz, you might also hear a 3-letter CW ID in the background. Sometimes the ATIS or AWOS shares the local VOR frequency.

Some airports also have a phone number that simulcasts their AWOS and ATIS broadcasts. 617-567-0160 is the ATIS for Boston Logan (KBOS).

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I just called NERVOUS, and you won't believe what happened.....I got the correct time! The volume is also much louder than it has been for the past few months.

Huh, really? When I called it, it was just as loud, but the weather machine felt the need to answer.

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I've been looking into getting some ISDN grade recordings of this. The good news is that I can actually do this, but the ISDN machine isn't as happy as it looks. The monitor output on it is a little cranky, so it'll start to distort before it even hits 0dB. What came out sounds roughly like this;

http://thoughtphreaker.omghax.ca/audio/isdn_nothappy.flac

Since the idea of using ISDN is to get it absolutely perfect, we can't have that :) .

In the meantime, though, here's a recording of the Boston time over ISDN. The Boston time machine wasn't feeling quite as loud today. Fortunately, though, plenty of other people did. This made for an awesome recording; http://thoughtphreaker.omghax.ca/audio/isdn2.flac

Also, this was recorded on a GTD-5 ISDN line, something I didn't even know existed until not too long ago. Just to prove it's a real, honest to god GTD-5 doing ISDN, I made this; http://thoughtphreaker.omghax.ca/audio/gtd5_isdn.flac

Recording that last call was a little strange. Literally the second I told the ISDN box to set the call up, the switch was ringing. In a way it makes sense, but after dialing normally for so long, you never quite expect that to happen so fast.

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You captured NERVOUS the way I'd like it to be remembered. It sounds like you hear two different callers. That first caller came through very well, probably better than most. I've never heard anyone except myself touch-tone over the time, so that's great you were able to capture it!

I've only heard that recording on a GTD-5, so I believe you ^_^ I think the Wikipedia article mentions something about the modification to allow ISDN on GTD-5's.

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Sorry guys - I know I've been really slacking on this. It's been a really busy month for me, and I've had to send the ISDN audio through all sorts of crazy acrobatics to get it through another output. Fortunately, the notoriously flakey equipment connected to the box felt like behaving today, so it came out pretty clean.

http://thoughtphreak...10844_isdn.flac

And before anyone thinks to ask, yes, there is one thing I didn't forget to record. Irony being what it is, I think the POTS recording came out ever so slightly cleaner than the ISDN one.

http://thoughtphreak...410844_420.flac

Edited by ThoughtPhreaker
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Wow, so this is it. Bump for the sake of...well, being a time machine's last day on earth. Or the PSTN at least.

I'll try my best, but if I can't, please use the numbers I provided for the weather to make a recording of it. It'll be interesting to see what happens to these when the weather dies.

EDIT:

The Audichron system in DC lives on. Apparently, callers and newscasters alike hassled Verizon until they agreed to keep it.

As for the Baltimore number, well, the DMS that was giving the disconnect announcement before the time is stopping us from calling in. If you'd like to take a last look at the Baltimore weather system, some of the alternate numbers I posted don't go through the DMS (presumably a tandem) giving that announcement.

Edited by ThoughtPhreaker
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The time in DC is being saved as well. I'm in disbelief that Verizon kept the DC weather going. They actually listened to their customers? Can't be! Here's an article about the DC weather line being saved:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-ray-of-sun-for-verizons-weather-line--and-options-in-case-it-stops-shining/2011/05/31/AGRT4gFH_story.html

I don't get any results on Google when trying to find uproar about the Baltimore time and weather announcements going away. It's too bad, the Baltimore weather and time were on a machine with an interesting sound, and the DC time and weather are on a relatively new piece of equipment; I think it was installed 4 or 5 years ago.

410-312-9999 will let you hear the weather announcement in Baltimore.

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