At 1:22 PM -0400 9/7/04, John Golitsis wrote: >A bit off the topic here, but I'm with Vonage now at home and I've >set it up to >automatically forward to my cell phone if the service is down for >any reason. I >really don't know why they aren't building small battery backup systems into >VoIP phone adapters. During the big power outage last year, cable >TV continued >working, so there doesn't seem to be a problem there. A few recent reality checks from an area where the "above ground" utility infrastructure was ravaged... Bellsouth has had little to do to recover from Frances in North Florida. The biggest problem is flooding, which can impact their underground lines (if they leak). Our phone service was never interrupted, although only one phone was working during the power outage, because the rest are wireless and thus rely on electric power. There is a good lesson here: keep at least one traditional phone that works with the power provided by the telco. We lost power several times on Sunday, before it finally went out about 4pm Sunday afternoon. Fortunately it was back by 2pm Monday, however, during the time the power was out the cable went out. During that 22 hours, my only connection to information was a portable radio listening to the local talk station (and sister music station), which went 24/7 with hurricane coverage. They battled a variety of problems to stay on the air. The music station was off the air for several days, but the other transmitter weathered the storm. At times the station would go silent, then you would hear a modem connecting and the programming would be restored. Apparently they had to resort to dial up telephone lines to create a temporary STL. I weathered a bunch of hurricanes in South Florida when I was a kid, and TV and radio were the only options for information. This experience was quite interesting and different - you do not realize how much we have become dependent on the Internet and related digital networking technologies until they are gone. This lack of power, then cable led to several interesting "kludges" on this end. When power was restored and the cable was gone, my DSL service proved to be a very good source of information, especially via Weather.com. I drug out an old set-top antenna to see if I could get any stations off air. I was able to receive good signals from the local PBS affiliate (CH 5) - which was useless, since they just delivered the usual PBS programming - and channel 20, the ABC affiliate, which managed to provide updates during the Jerry Lewis Muscular Distrophy Telethon. I could not receive any of the other local UHF channels (51 and 53) or the Orlando or Jacksonville stations. As for the impact on above ground infrastructure, it looks like Cox cable took a bigger hit than the electric companies. In many cases falling trees took out the low hanging cable lines while leaving the power lines untouched. Our cable was restored Tuesday, just after my next door neighbor informed me that the Cox service person who had just been on the pole outside her house, told her that we would be without service for 4-5 days. I suspect that some Cox cable customers will not have service for a week or two. Based on this experience, I would suggest that cable and any services that rely upon the cable infrastructure (cable modems and VOIP) are the MOST vulnerable to service interruptions. Then there are the realities of cell phone service. I do not know how well my experience reflects the general conditions because my service has been sucking wind for several weeks. Before the storm I was experiencing a variety of problems including dropped calls, incomplete connections (only one person could hear the call), and numerous service unavailable incidents. The Nextel folks told me (and others in this area) that they were updating the hardware in my home cell. Things got worse during the storm. I suspect that Nextel imposed time limits on calls to allow the limited capacity to be used by more people - Calls, when I could get a connection, would drop after a minute or two. Things did not improve until Wednesday. So, cell phones - at least mine - were not a viable replacement for the telco service. So, now that Frances has softened us up, it looks like we will be treated to more wind and rain from Ivan next week. Not that I am complaining - hurricanes are now big media events and tend to be blown out of proportion. When I lived in Grass Valley, we would typically have 2-3 Pacific Storms each winter that were every bit as powerful and destructive as the hurricanes I have weathered. But this was just considered to be "normal" weather. At least we don;t have to worry about earthquakes... Regards Craig ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.