Thursday Thoughts: A Timely Reminder

What an interesting day it was yesterday, to say the least! Not that anything major happened, but something did happen that reminded me of the infrastructures that we all use and rely on, daily, and might tend to take for granted. I’m specifically speaking of the main ways we communicate and get information in this day and age: via the internet and cell phone.

The problem was noticed after waking up and showering, having the morning coffee, putting the garbage out for the weekly pick-up, and turning on the radio for some light, relaxing music at 0645. I plugged in the modem for the computer, but noticed that it wasn’t connecting – it just blinked, indicating that there was an issue with the internet. Another odd thing was this: the digital clocks on the DVD unit and the stove read the correct time, but the ones on the microwave oven and the coffee-maker were blinking as if there had been a power outage. Sometimes, a power outage affects the internet connection, so I wasn’t terribly concerned. I turned on the TV to see if the cable was out as well, since it isn’t unusual to have cable and internet issues following a power surge or outage. All of the channels were blank; nothing was being broadcast. Since the same company provides the internet and cable service, I turned on my cell phone to call and report a service outage – but, there was no cellular service either; not even a 4G signal. Wi-fi was completely non-existent, so the phone was useless unless there was an emergency, as 911 is still active under those conditions. It was quite odd to have all three lines of information inaccessible at the same time, and it got me to thinking: we’re prepared for a lengthy power outage, but having backup access for telephone, internet, and other forms of communication are also necessary – especially in this brave, new world we’re entering in this wonderful year of two-aught-one-seven.

Just the other day, people were stuck at airports because of some mysterious issue with the computer system associated with U. S. Customs. We’ve been aware, for some time now, of hacking and other denial-of-service attacks on everything that is automated and / or computer-controlled. To me, being ultra-reliant on things that can be woefully unreliable isn’t the wisest course – and far too many people take way too many things for granted.

Myself, I rely on my computer and cell phone for many things. If those things are unavailable, however, I know what alternatives I can use to maintain contact with family and friends. Growing up, my family lived in places that had no electricity other than the battery-power provided by the boat engines. I’ve gone months without television, and know what it’s like to have no computer or cell phone – so, I’m not rendered helpless without them. I don’t take those things for granted and expect them to always be there, but I have a feeling that quite a few people worldwide do. I wonder, sometimes…what will those people do if the things that they take for granted disappeared tomorrow? How many people would really be prepared to deal with lack of internet access?

How about you? Would you know how to cope? Would you be able to communicate with family and friends without computer or cell phone? Can you even conceive of that possibility? I can think of probably two people, out of all the blogs I follow, who could answer “Yes” – and I believe them. They demonstrate the ability to do so, in their daily lives! Most people, though, only THINK that they’re prepared…and I seriously doubt their abilities, intellect, self-reliance and competency. Nothing personal, of course!

Oh, in case you wondered, all systems were back on by 1600 hours. This gave me more than enough time to drag old equipment out, dust it off, and test it out. Things that many people consider archaic are life-savers – and they might be needed sooner than we think. It is what it is…being prepared is crucial. I’d rather have something available and not need it, than need it and not have it. That one bit of personal dedication has saved my life more than once. There is something to be said about knowing how to utilize analog equipment in this overly-automated, digital world!

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. franhunne4u
    Jan 05, 2017 @ 12:58:18

    I do have radios which function without cable. I do have a landline and still one phone to use that when there should be a power-outage, a real, old fashioned landline phone with number keys and no display and so … But the people I would want to reach might not have.

  2. Tofino Photography
    Jan 05, 2017 @ 13:09:00

    Haven’t had that specific problem here but the power sure has gone out many times.Putting all ones eggs in one basket…..well you know.Think thats bad,just wait for a really large CME! You’ll need a Tesla cage to protect everything!

  3. dancingpalmtrees
    Jan 05, 2017 @ 14:22:18

    I grew up without computers, cell phones or internet. Nor do I currently own a TV. Having lived through 9/11 and various black-outs and natural disasters I survived. Actually as 9/11 was happening all Cell phone service went down. The only phones that worked were land lines. I called my brothers group home, my aunts and cousins to make sure that every one was okay.

    During the previous NYC power outages I was fortunate to live in an apartment complex that had its own generator/power plant so even though the rest of New York was in the dark Rochdale Village my former home had power. A good thing since I lived on the 11th floor!! One does not want to walk up or down 11 flights of steps. Doable but I’d rather avoid that scenario.

    Now I live in a Brooklyn Brownstone building so all I have to do to get outside is step out my door. In these times of terrorism, hacking and natural disasters that’s when neighbors need to come together to help the elderly and the disabled. I can remember one of New York’s biggest Black Outs during the 1960s. My Mom always kept candles and flashlights on hand and when all the power went out my Mom went to check on the lady next door as her husband had died during the black out. My Dad was probably at work but we prayed and eventually Dad came home safe. One of the best things about the 60s and 70s in my old neighborhood of St. Albans, Queens, NY is that we really were neighbors and stuck together. People went out of their way to help others in distress. We need to get back that type of thinking and action.

    • sepultura13
      Jan 06, 2017 @ 11:23:41

      People too selfish and self-absorbed to stick together and help others – they’re more concerned with being popular and throwing other people under the bus at the first opportunity. That’s why I’m self-reliant…can’t trust anyone to do anything but screw you over.

      • dancingpalmtrees
        Jan 06, 2017 @ 12:24:08

        As I’ve gotten older I realize that I can no longer be totally self-reliant as there are things that I can no longer physically do. There are still some good people out there. Anyway as a species we are inter-dependent whether we care to admit it or not. In the last several years as I’ve experienced physical and financial problems some good people have come to my rescue and for that I’m forever grateful. Despite what goes on I still believe in the goodness of mankind and the mercy of God.

      • sepultura13
        Jan 06, 2017 @ 12:27:48

        You’re fortunate to have people come to your rescue, then. Some of us don’t have that luxury, whether others realize it or not.

  4. portapatetcormagis
    Jan 05, 2017 @ 14:24:31

    Interesting thought about keeping in contact with people.
    Having a full reenactment equipment, power outage wouldn’t be a big problem.
    But if landlines didn’t work, I had to rely on old-fashioned letter writing. Not sure the post office would still be working though.

    For receiving information we a have an old battery run multi-band radio, actually. And, yes, we do keep stocked on batteries 🙂

    Call us paranoid, but water supply provided we would be able to survive for about 4 weeks without having to leave the house.

    You gave me something to think about how to contact people now.

    • sepultura13
      Jan 06, 2017 @ 11:25:19

      That’s good – and, I’m glad that I gave you something to think about! If I can get my point across to at least one person, then I did something of value.

      • portapatetcormagis
        Jan 06, 2017 @ 16:07:23

        Haven’t had a useful idea so far though 🙂

        But I did some training today. We went ice-skating in steampunk gear at -12°C. Gloriously cold!

  5. Brian Lageose
    Jan 05, 2017 @ 23:02:17

    We live in an older neighborhood, with an outdated infrastructure, so we’re actually used to losing power, sometimes for several days. It’s annoying, but as long as it’s not extremely hot or cold, the only real concern is for the things in the fridge. (That can add up really quickly.) I could happily go for weeks without speaking to another soul or watching TV, so I’m good there. But as for your overall theme, you are absolutely correct: most people, at least in this country, are not prepared for the loss of the things they take for granted.

    • sepultura13
      Jan 06, 2017 @ 11:29:48

      “But as for your overall theme, you are absolutely correct: most people, at least in this country, are not prepared for the loss of the things they take for granted.”

      Well, what do you know…I’m actually correct about something! Most people say otherwise, but you’re not most people…and that’s a good thing.

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