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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cleaning my clock

And all this time I thought Greenwich, England was the center of time. Who knew it was Fort Collins, Colorado?

It was a simple enough task -- the kitchen wall clock gave up the ghost after 25 years of service that clocked in (sorry, I couldn't resist) at well under a buck a year. Get a new one -- or stare blankly at the wall in a room with four digital time keepers on the stove, microwave, coffee pot and radio.

With the time change coming and the annoyance of thumbing the tiny wheel to fall back, we decided to take a chance on an "atomic clock" that sets itself.

Sort of.

First, it's not really an atomic clock (I have confirmed it doesn't glow in the dark). It is a radio clock (as opposed to a clock radio). And that's where Fort Collins comes in. If Muslims must face Mecca to pray, radio clocks must face Fort Collins to work.
"Generally the best reception occurs when the clock is located near a window and, if possible, facing the direction of Fort Collins, Colorado."
Those helpful directions are located inside the clock package, available only after you buy it. They also cheerily inform you that you should should "not place in a metal of concrete building unless close to a window with the curtains or other window treatments open."

In exchange for a room with a view, the clock promises to set automatically to the time signal transmitted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in, you guessed it, Fort Collins.

Unless of course:
"Poor signal reception may occur due to close proximity to mountains, tall buildings, power lines, airports, traffic lights and electrical storms between your location and Fort Collins, Colorado."
Glad those digital clocks aren't going anywhere.

Thinking that thumb wheel was starting to look inviting, I nevertheless plunk the battery into the back and it starts whirring until it comes to rest a 8 o'clock. Trouble was it was only 7:45. No problem, real time caught up. And passed it.

No worries:
"If your clock does not immediately receive the time signal do not be alarmed. That is probably due to poor reception and normally this is a temporary condition. Generally the best reception is during the nighttime hours when normal interference with the radio signal is minimal. If the clock does not receive the signal within 24 hours, you may need to relocate the clock to a position with better signal reception."
Or take the tin foil helmet off your head.

I can report that as of this hour, the clock appears to be working -- after a slight adjustment for Eastern Time (I punched the wrong button and it didn't want me to forget). And I assume all is now well, at least until standard time comes in and the clock starts moving back.

That will either be because I'm in the Twilight Zone or there's a bad storm in the Rockies.



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