Massive power outages, and when a smart phone is not so smart…

I’ve had my Blackberry for a few years now, and rely on its many convenient features.

It gives me access to emails, a browser for the Internet, and my favorite apps like Yelp.  It’s my camera, video recorder, voice recorder and memo pad, which means I don’t have to worry about even having a pen and paper with me.

So when it started having “issues” the other day (as in the keyboard locked up and started to speak its own language), I suddenly had

  1. no phone
  2. no mini computer to access my email and the Internet
  3. no camera
  4. no video camera
  5. no voice recorder
  6. no navigation aid / GPS
  7. and now in need of pen and paper since I could not use my memo pad feature

Then it does not seem so smart after all.

A few days ago, over a million people in Southern California, Arizona and Mexico were affected by a huge power outage.  It was caused by a short-circuit at a substation in North Gila, Arizona.

Photo from L.A. Times Article "Arizona power company baffled by events that led to outage"

Worrisome to think that one botched repair job — on equipment the size of a car — could not be isolated, and ended up cascading and affecting other utility companies in the area.  The San Onofre nuclear power plant near San Diego automatically shut down, reportedly due to grid instability.

Technology connects us…and our reliance on it also makes us vulnerable when it fails.

The Department of Energy, along with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is said to be working to find out the causes of these massive power outages. Click on this link to an article from the LA Times for further details.

In my small world and smart phone example, it is just an annoyance.  In the bigger world, I have to wonder what other systems have been overlooked…and disasters-in-waiting, due to centralizing and connecting so many of these systems.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Massive power outages, and when a smart phone is not so smart…

  1. I had a Blackberry until about a month ago…in my experience, they’re kind of like the little girl with the curl — they’re awesome for a long time, but once they start having issues, they’re completely impossible to bring back. Mine started acting up after I’d had it for about a year, and I had to reboot it (take the battery out and put it back in) pretty much on a daily basis for about six months, which was super inconvenient and irritating. I’ve known others to have similar experiences (or worse). The second my carrier added an HTC phone to their lineup (which is why I waited so long), I snapped it up, and so far I’m loving it — it has much better functionality than my Blackberry did!

    • The exact same thing is happening with my Blackberry Jady! I’ve had to pop the battery out and reboot the thing. Thank you for the tip on the HTC. Our carrier has these phones and I will check it out.

Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.