Surviving the great San Diego power outage — two personal accounts

San Diego-based tech writer Joe Wilcox at BetaNews has writtenan entertaining and perceptive account of how he and his wifehandled Thursday’s massive power outage. There was disorientationfrom the loss of not just power but also frustrations with:

— no Internet service,

— a 5-hour delay in activating a Verizon Wireless 3G modem inhis Samsung Series 5 Chromebook

— Failures in cellular voice and data on his Nexus S 45 minutesinto the outage

— Exasperating DRM failures in the family’s MacBooks.

It wasn’t all grim, Wilcox wrote:

“But not my wife, who also has Nexus S but running on T-Mobile.she had data connection throughout most of the power outage (somuch for #1 largest US carrier Verizon and #2 AT&T).”

There were also some acts of kindness, such as Trader Joe’semployees selling water for the normal price of 50 cents abottle.

“Rather than gouge customers as someone else might have, theseguys were fair; it’s helluva great customer service and helped calmpeople frantic to stock up supplies. I bought five bucks worth asprecaution,” Wilcox wrote.

Read the whole thing at BetaNews.

My own experience at the North County Times was somewhat moresanguine. My reliable Verizon Wireless enV Touch functioned for themost part.Battery life was not an issue, because I had severalextra batteries with me. As the phone is no longer being made,batteries and accessories are very cheap.

And my Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 3G card performed like achamp, providing Internet connectivity with WiFi when the officeInternet was down. I also have extra batteries for the MiFi, alsobought on the cheap. That’s one reason I’m reluctant to upgradeto 4G wireless models, at least until the price of accessoriescomes down.

My main constraint was the limited life of my laptopbattery.

As for my colleagues, one found his iPhone from AT&T didn’twork, so I lent him my other cell phone from Cricket Wireless, thevery basic Samsung Stunt SCH-R100.that worked fine. Interestingly, another colleague on AT&Tfound her phone, also a basic model, worked.

A third colleague was happy with the performance of his HTCMyTouch 3G on T-Mobile.

However, a fourth colleague said her service on an HTCsmartphone from AT&T “sucked..”

Neither voice nor texting worked, she said. Twitter worked,although slowly.

The best thing about the phone during the outage, she said, wasthe Flashlight app. It turns the phone’s camera flash into a quiteusable flashlight. (Althogh my enV Touch has no such app, itsscreen functioned well enough to illuminate my arrival to a totallydark home Thursday night.)

My advice: Gets lots of extra batteries for your wirelessdevices, and a universal backup battery foryour laptop. and if youget a backup cell phone, get it from a different carrier.

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