Seven Ways to Protect Your Tech From Irene

4:33 p.m. | Updated the current version of Verizon’s iPad does not require a MiFi, that is only the case for the first-generation Verizon iPad.

With a hurricane approaching, there’s still time to prepare all of your electronics/gadgets/things-that-like-electricity-and-don’t-like-water for the possible coming deluge. Here are a few tips that any tech-savvy person should put into action.

If you have a landline, have a corded phone. Cordless phones rely on household power. Phones that aren’t cordless draw their power from the phone lines, so they may be operable even if everything else is dark. go out and buy the cheapest old-fashioned corded phone you can find and plug it in to a jack.

Charge everything. Now’s the time to make sure all batteries are topped off. If you have any extra batteries for certain devices, be sure to get them powered up as well. If you have an iPhone, which does not have a removable battery, you may want to check out Mophie’s products, which can add an external battery to your iPhone.

Fire up a month’s worth of data for your 3G iPad. If you have the 3G version of Apple’s tablet and are not currently using the cellular-data plan, you may want to pay for one month’s service, so that you have a computer that isn’t dependent on Wi-Fi, which will be out of commission in a blackout. AT&T sells a month of data starting at $15 for 250MB. If you have a Verizon iPad one month of data starts at $20 for 1 gigabyte.

Back up your hard drive(s). you could back up to an external hard drive and put it in a Ziploc bag, but also consider backing up to a cloud-based service which will be impervious to any water that seeps into your home. some of the big services are SOS Online Backup (which is Windows only), Norton Online Backup, Carbonite and Mozy, and are worth checking out sooner rather than later, since that initial backup to the cloud can take hours, if not days.

Use your car as a generator. go fill up your gas tank—you may not be going anywhere, but your car’s engine and any available power ports can help recharge gadgets and PCs in a pinch. If your car does not come equipped with a standard household electrical outlet, try to get a power inverter, which will allow small electronics and the like to plug right in.

Follow #hurricane and #irene on Twitter. If you want to see reports and reactions from users up and down the coast, those are the prevailing hashtags, but Paul Boutin, a Gadgetwise contributor, notes that simply searching for “hurricane” and “irene” (no hashtags) yields additional results. (The ’80s fans are going with #comeonirene.)

Get a wind-up charger. If all else fails, you can power devices on elbow grease. Eton’s crankable radio/generator combines a radio with a flashlight and a USB port to power smartphones and the like. It also has a solar cell for daylight charging.

Of course, we’re a bunch of city slickers up here in New York. perhaps you’re a weathered, flinty master of high winds and heavy rain, so these tips may seem like pre-K for storm survivors. If you have any other ideas, tips or stratagems to share on how to preserve and protect our precious digital essence during the storm, please add them in the comments.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply