SMS Texts: The way forward, especially in a natural disaster made easier on the iPhone

SMS texting in the aftermath of the Bay Area trembler was a better way of communicating as cell phone networks were jammed up

As already noted, I'm a big proponent of the SMS text message. So much so that I was willing to pay $.50 a text sent from Australia! But on a more serious note, there was a 5.6 earthquake here in the Bay Area on Tuesday night. I was at dinner and I thought my dinner date was shaking the table or that there was a washing machine somewhere that went awry. But no, it was a bona fide earthquake. While there was no damage and it was minor, we both got text messages from our friends as soon as it happened:

"Earthquake?!"

"Did you feel that?"

And so on. I found out the next day that a lot of people had tried to call me that night, but they said my phone was off. My phone is never off. So I thought it odd. Usually the iPhone will pick up a call right away, when you're browsing, texting, and call-waiting is particularly good - a call will usually get through. No, it was only with this articlethat it occurred to me that the Bay Area cellphone networks were all jammed up.

The distressing thing is that there are news reports that landlines were also jammed despite being touted as being more robust in times of emergency. I seem to recall that because SMS texts are very small chunks or packets of data, they are easier to push across cell networks than calls are. This is a good thing when a lot of people are attempting to communicate, especially true for concerts, street parties, and, well, earthquakes. But, when I saw my friend try to text on his Sony cell phone last night it took him too long. Big contrast to the SMS features on the iPhone. His word find and unintelligent UI was distressing to see. What would he do in a bind?

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About the author

    Kevin Ho is an attorney living in San Francisco. He's from Iowa originally where he got his first Atari computer when he was little and remembers using the Apple IIGS. He is PC-user but secretly a Mac person in the closet as evidenced by many an iPod cluttering his desk drawers. He'll be writing about his experience with the iPhone. Disclosure.

     

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