My ex was living in the French Quarter of New Orleans in Hurricane Katrina. No one could call out on their techno-trendoid cell phones and home portable phones. But my ex's antique red rotary phone kept just for such a situation worked. She couldn't call out. But i could call her from halfway across the country. I called CNN, MSNBC, etc. and, at first, they wouldn't believe that I could get a line in and talk to people at "ground zero". Eventually they caught on. Its a much longer story than thought but the short version is that rotary's rock. I have one here and if the 'big one" (earthquake) ever hits, I've got that, my walkie talkies, hand-cranked, solar-powered, and/or battery-powered radio, and the guy upstairs has not only a crystal ham radio with licenswe but also an antique, working morse code station. My fabulous ansering machine/portable phone and my laptop will just be expensive paperweights but one or more of the outdated devices may allow us to communicate with the outside world.