In the land before smart phones and computers and such where everything had a clock on it that was biometrically linked to Grenwhich, people set their watches by calling up an eons-old talking clock hotline and having some farty old toff tell them – to the exact second – what the time was. But that 66-year run is set to end later this year, with Telstra confirming they are set to shut down their absolutely iconic Talking Clock service come September.
Telstra officials confirmed the service will be discontinued from September 30th this year, bringing an end to one of the truly unique Australian icons of yore.
The service, which can still be accessed (for the time being) by dialling 1194, was famous and beloved for its “millisecond” precise time reports, and the ubiquitous voice of George, who for decades has informed Australians of the time with the familiar, monotone delivery of “at the third stroke” and three subsequent beeps.
Remarkably, the service still attracts some 2 million calls per year, according to the service’s operating company Informatel.
Despite that, Telstra officials asserted in a statement that the service is not compatible with new technology, though they have given the service a three-month stay beyond its original shut down date of June 30th in order to allow time for users to “find an alternative solution.”
It’s like any time you upgrade to radically new technology, sometimes older services wouldn’t work. [It’s like] with software, if you’re trying to use Microsoft Word 95 with the latest operating system, Windows 10. Or with iPhone 3, you won’t see those products working with the latest iPhone software. It’s not compatible.
It’s the end of a bloody era, mates. Come September 30th there’ll be one final third stroke, and then… nothing.
Really makes you think.