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Does anyone know why the John Hancock Weather Beacon hasn't changed in at least 3 weeks?

I used to work in the Old John Hancock Building, and I've lived in various parts of the city for over a decade with a view of the Beacon. It is currently pouring rain, and the beacon is "Steady Blue - Clear View", and has been the same Steady Blue for close to a month. The weather has not been Clear View at all for most of that time. I've tried Googling, without success, to try to find out how the Beacon is programmed. I think we can all agree that, in these uncertain times, it can be quite unsettling to see one of Boston's most reliable constants break down. Does anyone have any idea why?

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Comments

My bet wd be that the building is closed and they don’t want anyone to enter bc they don’t want to have cleaners in

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Hancock has lit up the beacon in blue to support all the healthcare workers.

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Illuminati

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but last week my verizon cellphone was a few hours behind, consistently, for over 24 hours.

gee, thanks Trump

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I remember reading not so long ago that this isn't automated: there's a physical switch and someone turns it.

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The Berkeley Street Building's engineers have switches in the HVAC control room that control the operation and color of the lights. Normally, the engineers monitor the National Weather Service website every four hours or so for updates and adjust the lighting based on weather projections.

https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/bottom_line/2012/11/berkley-weat...

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That's the explanation I was looking for. It makes sense. When I worked in the Old Hancock building in the mid 1980s, the elevator buttons were heat sensitive - they only worked if a person took their gloves off so the button's heat sensor could know it was a human pressing the button. Turns out that is an excellent way to make sure everyone in an elevator cooks to death in a fire, because both up and down buttons would be activated at the same time because of the heat, so the elevator stays at that level. Making an employee go every four hours to physically change the light instead of implementing a remote system seems part of that same substandard engineering update culture.

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Capacitive sense buttons, similar to your touchscreen on your phone. There were never heat sensor elevator buttons.

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The power may go out and trap you.

Take the stairs.

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Specifically, people who use wheelchairs and can't use stairs easily or at all.

Even some people who don't need wheelchairs can have problems climbing or descending large numbers of stairs. After I injured my leg last October, I found myself taking elevators down even a single floor for several weeks, as descending stairs was quite painful. (Climbing was much easier.)

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You're still not supposed to use an elevator during a fire. Being in a wheelchair doesn't make it any safer to be trapped in an elevator in a burning building. People who can't use the stairs are supposed to wait for emergency responders in the stairwell.

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walk down stairs backwards, feels like going up

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So, people in wheelchairs are still not supposed to use the elevators. In certain buildings, when power is lost or in the event of an alarm, the elevators return to 'home base', typically the 1st floor. There they can be used by the firefighters with override keys.

On upper floors there are Areas of Refuge for those who can't use stairs. They will be located where doors automatically close so the space is within a rated enclosure. This used to be, believe it or not, at the landing of stairwells. Then code changed to create rated lobbies at the elevators. Oftentimes that becomes the Area of Refuge, especially if one of the egress stairs are accessed from this same core. You may still see these areas near stairs as the expectation is that they will be carried down the stairs, chair and all.

Depending on the building, the elevators (or just one) will be on the emergency generator for use by first responders. You may not get to use an elevator at all in an emergency simply because there may be no power to it.

Lesson: find your path of egress during an emergency. Know what do to should you need an elevator vs simply like to use an elevator.

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Elevators don't refuse to move if you tell them to go up and down at once. They pick one.

But if a fire is close enough to heat up the electronics in any elevator, it's not a good situation.

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My company is a building automation/controls integrator and we automated the Hancock beacon about a year ago. It uses an API to look ahead at the NWS forecast and changes the light operation automatically. Of course, it can also be manually overridden for special occasions or other reasons. Instead of the original light switches, there is now a touchscreen display/interface that displays the current operating status, weather data, and override buttons.

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Thank you for your explanation. I look forward to the day when it is not manually over ridden.

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hi adamg, can yoo make that substitution.

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A simple cloth mask is sufficient.

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They do nothing!

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"John Hancock will join other signs of gratitude that have been displayed throughout the community by lighting its historic weather beacon blue in honor of those working on the front lines, starting today until the stay-at-home advisory is lifted, and asking other buildings to do the same"

https://www.johnhancock.com/about-us/news/john-hancock/2020/04/john-hanc...

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Which is corporate-speak for, “We shit-canned the guy who did this.”

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(also, I thought this isn't their building anymore?)

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This is still their building. They sold the former "John Hancock Tower", the glass structure designed by I. M. Pei's firm, which is now known simply as 200 Clarendon Street.

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I don't care what they claim the building is called, I have dubbed it "The Non-Hancock Tower" and I'm sticking to it.

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RE Building:
I believe the Hancock Tower was part of JH’s properties at one time, but no longer.

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I have not seen this, thank you for letting me know.

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Silly, it is following the stay in place order.

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started mid-April "John Hancock has also lit its historic weather beacon blue and on One Boston Day will hang a thank you flag for frontline workers on its 200 Berkeley Street building."

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Weather didn't change.

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is happening

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Anyone remember how the Empire State Building "honored" its first responders? Bright red and a white strobe light as a "siren display." OMG.

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As Jet Blue decided to honor then by flying commercial jets low over Manhattan. Nothing like triggering PTSD flashbacks to honor people.

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and not at all comforting.

(Similar to the fantastic idea of having emergency vehicles all set off their sirens together, ugh.)

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Awesome that such can be done...but yes, looks like an "end of the world" beacon, ha!

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