AT&T boosting network capacity for data

AT&T is boosting network capacity.  It isn’t for voice, it’s for all the data users and uses.  Haiti has really shown how people are using mobile devices during and after disaster.  Consider how much more demand may be on the cellular network when the massive earthquake hits California.  It’s not just about restoring voice service on the network — it’s about restoring huge capacity to handle the data traffic of the survivors.

NHC extending watches and warnings to 48 hours out

Hurricane forecast mapThe National Hurricane Center announced that they will issue watches and warnings for tropical storms 48 hours out, instead of the previous 36 hours out.  See the notice at  The NHC states that this is possible due to an increase in forecast accuracy.  While I’m sure this has some bearing on it, also wonder about other reasons and unstated impacts. 

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How many computers are needed to register for assistance in disaster?

A locked computer.As the American public becomes increasingly reliant on communication and technology devices for daily activities, it is natural assumption that they will also use these devices during disasters. There are numerous examples in disasters where people rely on their cell phones for communication to others both in and out of the disaster area. During disaster, traditional means of communication become overwhelmed through the increase in usage according to the FCC. Even FEMA’s phone registration is overwhelmed during large disasters and FEMA encourages disaster victims to register online. Given the increase in demand to register people online and that technology corporations wanted to be involved, the DHS Office of Policy hosted conference call on September 16, 2008 to explore setting up “cyber pods” on Galveston Island following Hurricane Ike. This article explores just how many computers are needed to get the public registered with FEMA during disaster. Continue reading How many computers are needed to register for assistance in disaster?

Kill career in one simple step: promote them

A toy figure laid flat in from of a crowd of figutedThe best way to kill the career of technology person is to promote them. Seriously, it is that simple. I have both witnessed and experienced what happens when you take a person who is really good at their work, and promote them to manage other people doing that work. Performing a technical task is much different skill set than managing people. Developing technical people to change their career field from technical to management is a transition that takes time and investment to be successful.

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The final 802.11n standard: Good for disaster response

The wifi a b d g logoThe final approval of the wireless 802.11n standard revisits the potential to significantly change the use of wireless networking during disasters.  Previous wireless standards always fell significantly behind wired in data throughput to point where most users would recognize the difference and prefer a wired connection.  802.11n’s theoretical maximum throughput is 600 Megabits per second (Mbit/sec) but it is realistic to expect in the mid-100’s.  This places wireless nicely comparable to 100BASE-TX wired Ethernet which runs at 100 Mbit/sec. 

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Techological Challenges on Island Operations

A man stuck on an islandThe recent Tsunami in American Samoa highlights all the problems that may be encountered with island operations.  American Samoa is extremely remote relative to the lower-48 states, and this can lead to all sorts of additional complications.  It makes work on Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands looks simple.  This is just going to be the series of challenges to provide technology to disaster relief operations with island operations and considerations to overcome them.

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