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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The sports wet weather line app

It's a grey Saturday morning, not quite wet enough to be sure that sport is cancelled, and not clear enough to be sure it's on.

You dial the school's wet weather line, and it's engaged because hundreds of other parents are doing the same thing. When you finally get through, you hear that sport is on, but it may get cancelled later. As you bundle the kids into the car you toss up getting a fine for using your mobile to call the wet weather line on the way, or getting there and discovering it was cancelled half an hour ago.

Sound familiar?

It was getting to a Trinity vs Cranbrook game at 7:15 in the morning (yawn!) that made me come up with a better solution.

I've set up some servers that dial the wet weather lines repeatedly and check for any change in message. If the sportsmaster has changed the voicemail message, my servers grab the new messages as an MP3 file.

Then I wrote an app (Android version here, iphone coming soon ) which connects to my servers and polls for any changes.

Just leave this app open on a Saturday morning, and you'll see when there's a new message. You can play it with the touch of a finger, or you can get the children to do it for you. They'll be using your phone in the car anyway, of course.

So far I'm only monitoring a handful of Sydney private schools: King's (TKS), Cranbrook, Trinity Prep, Trinity Grammar and Trinity Junior school. This website: http://wet-weather-line.appspot.com/ has the latest list.

If your school has a wet weather line that you dial (even if there are digits to send), my app can get updates from it. Let me know through this form if you want this done. I'm using Twilio for my phone services, so it can monitor a phone line in any country.

I've been asked to incorporate this into one school's information app (which was easily done). 


My goal: to make sure no-one ever has to get out of bed early on a cancelled-sport Saturday morning again.