Monday, September 22, 2003


.......and minor thoughts on technology.

Isabel came to Philadelphia on Thursday night. Per usual, the local news stations were downright hysterical in their reportage leading up to the event. We scoffed at them, having noted that there is an inverse relationship between the amount of weather-related hype and the severity of actual weather conditions.

Indeed, Thursday evening was windy but not very rainy. I slept through the entire storm, but upon awaking noticed that the yard was littered with tree-related debris. We got the calls indicating that schools were closed. More scoffing. Then, at about 9 am., we heard a loud crash. "That's a tree falling," said my husband. Then, an even louder noise that sounded like a truck crashing........"um, well, maybe it's not a tree."

As it turned out, it was a tree, knocking over a major power line as it fell. The lights went out, the clocks stopped, and all those wretched hand-held phones went dead. At first it was an adventure, but there are a lot of trees nearby, and as the day dragged on into night we learned that ours was one of many neighborhoods that lost power--one of the ones at the bottom of the electric company's "emergency repair" list. All scoffing mysteriously ceased.

You never realize how dependent you are on electricity until you have none. For instance, it never before occurred to me that electricity fuels the hot water heater--and I really, really don't like cold showers. I love my WLAN--but as wireless as it is, it cannot work without electricity. I've attended any number of first-rate technology conferences where there were great WIFI connections for all to use---and enough electrical outlets to provide power to about 5% of them. Sub-optimal to say the least.

Hmm. It appears that Bob Freling has a point.

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