[aprssig] Re: Cell phone and Pager alerts

KC2MMi kc2mmi at verizon.net
Thu Feb 2 15:15:53 EST 2006

James, I don't know what your reality is, but I was in NYC on 9/11 and my cell
phone and landline both worked fine. The situation here was basically one
building collapse with a localized loss of some services, and for folks who
don't live in one of the world's largest cities, you can't appreciate the minor
scale of it. All said and told, 9/11 was a failure for the ragheads. They got
3,000 to 3,500 casualties in NYC, 3,000 if you don't include the first
responders who were killed because of administrative errors sending them into a
collapsing building. (Yes, the NYFD report said the same unkind thing.) Three
thousand out of 50,000 who are in that building when it is full, that means only
a 6% success rate. Now, if they'd taken the time to knock it down and let it
sprawl for a quarter mile across Wall Street...that would have been a disaster.

Yeah, it messed up a lot of things for long time, but the vast majority of this
city worked around it just fine. There was a lot of public noise, but very
little "disaster" at the heart of it. If you think that's cold, ask in China or
South Asia where a single "event" usually means 100,000 dead and displaced by
rains, floods, or quakes--on a routine basis with no great city to absorb them.
9/11 was basically a bad train wreck and unless Americans get their heads out of
their splendid ivory towers of isolation and see it in the global context, more
will needlessly follow.

Same thing for the Blackout. We call that an inconvenience here, not an
emergency. Very conveniently it happened in the daylight, allowing enough time
for a lot of folks to hike home in daylight. We've had 'em before, at worse
times and with worse results. As one newscaster was brave enough to admit "At
least this time there were no riots and looting in Harlem, things must be
improving". Of course, things weren't as good as they seemed either. Our Mayor
thought the blackout substantially ended in 24 hours...it was more like 72 hours
for many millions.

I heard a lot of people complain "The phones are out! Do you think its
terrorists again?!" during the start of the blackout. Most of them are nice
folks who just forget their new phones all need AC power, and they calmed right
back down again after they heard that.

You've got to realize that in NYC, there are over 10 million people during the
working day. 20 million in what is called "the Greater NYC Area". The loss of a
dozen cell phone towers, or one landline exchange, is not something that stops
us from our daily activities. The strangers, the transients, the arrivals from
overseas who speak no Ynglitch and have no idea of how to drive in snow--that's
more of a problem for us.

Wilma? Sorry, I was on the phone into Broward the night before and the morning
after, and the landlines worked very nicely for about two and a half days (till
their power went out or they flooded) but the cell phone there continued working
all week. Didn't always connect on the first or even second try, but it always
got through eventually. Just like the best of landline long distance systems on
Mother's Day. Sure, sometimes I had to wait three or four hours. So? Once I knew
the folks still had their roof, three or four hours was no issue. The comm
problems didn't really set in until way after that. In some places it was
worse--but if you've been reading the reports about FP&L's collapse due to poor
maintenance, you'll know that comm problems were the least of it.

More information about the aprssig mailing list