The Internet has made finding information easier than ever. Practically the world’s information is at my fingertips… Occassionally, I reminded what we did in the bygone days to get information – and in this case, to get the time.
Turns out, the “time machine” is being switched off.
I thought that when you picked up a telephone anywhere in the country and dialed “POPCORN”, you got the time… but, apparently, that was only in Northern California. I used the service constantly – obviously to get the time, but also to just check if the phone was working correctly. I spent much of my youth re-routing telephone lines throughout my parent’s house. Hearing the PacBell woman’s clear and static-free voice confirmed I didn’t screw something up. Usually, it went like this, “At the tone, Pacific Standard Time will be, two thirty three AM. BEEEEEP”
I’m surprised Pacbell to SBC to AT&T actually kept this thing running. According to an engineer that was responsible for its upkeep, … “the devices [had] large drums about 2 feet in diameter, with as many as 100 album-like audio tracks on the exterior. Whenever someone called time, the drums would start turning and a message would begin, with different tracks mixed together on the fly.”
Spinning, large drums? They are shutting this thing down because they don’t want to maintain spinning large drums? This whole “adventure” could have been redeveloped in 15 minutes on a 15 year old computer, 15 years ago – for probably $1500. More proof that telephone companies just don’t understand computing technology.