USB Modem Saves the Day for Anxious Fire Victims
October 25, 2007 9:31 AM
Finding out that your home is still standing means the world when you're an evacuee.
The phone rang and we heard a recorded voice telling us to leave home immediately, and bring only what we could carry. It was the dreaded call that hundreds of thousands of families like ours have gotten since the mass evacuations of San Diego County began on Sunday.
So we loaded up our “family” – a combination of children, dogs, cats, horses, and a lone rabbit -- and made our way to
a nearby horse ranch
that lies just outside the immediate evacuation area. Here we sit, breathing the fumes of the fires and the stables, wondering about everything we left behind.
That wondering, as it turns out, is worst thing about being an evacuee. Ironically, the one item that has brought the most solace to the families gathered here has turned out to be a little gadget about the size of a pack of gum: Novatel's cellular USB data modem, sold by Verizon Wireless as the USB720 NationalAccess Broadband device.
Even with the radio and TV broadcasts we can receive, we were soon frustrated by the lack of specific information on our plight. Local stations focus only on the biggest fires ravaging our area, and have no time or personnel to report on our tiny blaze, which has consumed only 7,500 acres, 200 homes, and evacuated a mere city of 40,000. Public agencies are too busy fighting fires and saving lives to update their telephone information lines. While our
community newspaper publisher
has valiantly updated her lead story every few hours, it hasn’t been enough to satisfy the refugees, each one hungry for details on whether their own homes and loved ones have survived the ordeal.
In the end, we have relied on three main sources of information: two are online, and one is decidedly low-tech:
The California Highway Patrol’s real-time incident log (http://cad.chp.ca.gov).
The log is designed for CHP officers logging on from their cruisers, reporting their activities in the field. The information is full of police jargon and traffic-related minutiae, but occasionally it contains references to where the fire is erupting or being extinguished. Because the data is all recorded in real-time by first responders, it’s a godsend to information-starved evacuees.
Impromptu user forums in the comments sections of articles published by our local “rag,” the North County Times (
The articles themselves were nominally valuable, but readers interacting spontaneously in the comments sections were priceless. For example, I came across a post last night where a woman mentioned that her elderly mother had just broken the evacuation order and returned home. I recognized the lady in question as my next-door neighbor, and the post confirmed that my home was also still intact.
A 10-year-old fax machine.
About as low-tech as you can get, the fax machine sits in my home office. Every so often I call it from my cell phone, just to reassure myself that the house is still there. As long as the machine picks up and screeches back at me, I know we still have a home to return to.
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
Latest By Steve Kovsky
DailyTech Readers Weigh In on Virtualization’s Role in Modern Computing
October 14, 2009, 7:11 AM
How concerned are you with virtualization security?
September 29, 2009, 5:59 PM
Data Center Expert Warns SMBs Against “Over-Virtualization”
September 16, 2009, 8:40 AM
What’s the best use of desktop virtualization?
September 4, 2009, 9:14 AM
What makes virtualization worthwhile for small to mid-size businesses?
August 26, 2009, 6:55 PM
DailyTech Readers Split On Virtualization Trade-Offs
August 26, 2009, 11:51 AM
Cloud Computing’s Future Remains Murky
August 24, 2009, 7:00 AM
LG Preps Monitor with Built-In Virtualization
June 22, 2009, 4:17 PM
Desktop Virtualization: What’s the Big Idea?
January 27, 2009, 7:25 AM
Virtualization Has Data Centers Seeing Green
January 27, 2009, 4:22 AM
Science & Environment
February 20, 2017, 6:37 AM
The USA’s newest weather satellite sends first photos.
January 24, 2017, 6:41 AM
Netflix took a decision to invest in original content
January 19, 2017, 7:00 AM
Amazon Airborne Fulfillment Center – Your Merchandise Drop-Shipped from the Clouds
December 29, 2016, 5:00 AM
Amazon is experimenting with a new kind of grocery stores, Amazon Go
December 8, 2016, 5:00 AM
Google has developed Deep Learning Algorithm to detect Diabetic Eye Disease
December 4, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Surface Pro 5 Rumors - New Release Date and Price
April 22, 2017, 6:45 AM
ASUS RT-AC5300 – Ultimate Game & 4K Streaming
April 18, 2017, 7:45 AM
Dell Inspiron 17 7000 – A Premium Laptop featuring 7th Gen Intel Core i7 in a 2-in-1 Frame.
April 19, 2017, 7:45 AM
Meet the Smartphone with four cameras - Alcatel Flashphone
April 5, 2017, 11:20 AM
Vivo V5 Plus – the Selfie Softlight is on You.
April 17, 2017, 7:05 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Samsung Galaxy S8 – Warning for Pet Owners
Apr 24, 2017, 5:59 AM
Sound Bars and the Costs?
Apr 23, 2017, 6:30 AM
Link your Brain to Your Computer – In Four Years…Maybe
Apr 22, 2017, 7:03 AM
Google Home can now identify users by their voice.
Apr 21, 2017, 7:15 AM
Amazon Lex – Now Available for Developers.
Apr 20, 2017, 6:58 AM
You can now use Instagram offline on your Android Smartphone
Apr 19, 2017, 8:00 AM
Now you can livestream to YouTube from your mobile device.
Apr 18, 2017, 8:05 AM
Google Home – Is It a Spy Device?
Apr 17, 2017, 7:30 AM
Apple added to self –driving test permit list
Apr 15, 2017, 6:21 AM
Project Scorpio – Coming on June 11
Apr 14, 2017, 6:20 AM
Looks Like Samsung Has Been Forgiven.
Apr 13, 2017, 6:50 AM
United Airlines - Blasted on China’s Social Network and the Stock Market
Apr 12, 2017, 6:50 AM
Amazon's Third-Party Sellers Hacked
Apr 11, 2017, 6:25 AM
Microsoft Surface Pro5 Details Revealed
Apr 9, 2017, 6:41 AM
Own An Android Phone? Then you could be hacked over Wi-FI
Apr 7, 2017, 6:47 AM
Apple confirms iOS 10.3 bug and its effect on iCloud Services
Apr 6, 2017, 6:30 AM
Apple Rolls Out New Version of Apple Music
Apr 5, 2017, 10:35 AM
Apple in the News
Apr 4, 2017, 9:03 AM
Apple iPhones Will Soon Feature Graphics Chips Designed BY Apple
Apr 3, 2017, 6:23 AM
AMD Ryzen Desktop Processors Performance
Apr 2, 2017, 6:30 AM
What makes a camera Lensless?
Apr 1, 2017, 7:45 AM
Google halts Android Wear 2.0 Update Due to Bug
Mar 31, 2017, 7:27 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information