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Socially disconnected at the worst time


twitter and facebook for 2011 hurricane season updates

Mother Nature seems to have it in for the East Coast this week, which began with an unusually strong earthquake and will end with an unusually far-reaching hurricane.  In moments of crises and bizarre weather, being in the loop is not just comforting, it can also be crucial to staying safe.  

While the four major wireless carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint) are preparing for high activity levels and potential outages, Hurricane Irene could knock out electricity, Wifi and wireless towers.  Shortly after the earthquake Tuesday, many carriers (especially Verizon) were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of calls and texts.  Even failed to load for several minutes, presumably due to extreme amounts of traffic, although a shaken server could also be to blame.  

If the default sources of communication including cell phones, landlines, e-mail and social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc., were down, what would you do? Granted, the chances of an Armageddon-like outage is highly unlikely, but it still begs the question.

PC Magazine has a roundup of the best devices and apps for disasters.  While some of their recommendations like the weather apps and FEMA Twitter feed would require some wireless waves, others like the hand-crank radio work regardless of connectivity.  

Not to say that you should blow your savings on a solar-powered oven, but if the past week is any indication of natural disasters to come, a couple of Walkie-talkies might be a worthwhile investment.

Nicole Duncan

One Hundred and Fifty


Ces_2008_image_150103_screen_picA few Renegades ventured out to Las Vegas earlier this week to attend CES 2008. While many companies featured interesting new consumer electronic products, the most astonishing new product had to be Panasonic’s 150 inch plasma television. I am not sure how to describe it in words, so I hope this video will suffice.

Charmin Rolls It Out in Times Square

Charmin has rolled out its fancy-pants restrooms in Times Square for the second straight holiday season. After last year’s success, Charmin will once again be promoting its Ultra Soft toilet paper by opening 20 fully designed, staffed and (most importantly) functional facilities to the public. Anyone can use the restrooms from now until Dec. 31st. More than just a seasonal event, this is truly marketing as service.

Bryant Park Ice Skating


Thepond_1Courtesy of Citibank, Bryant Park now has The Pond, a free public ice skating rink.  Open daily till 10:30 pm through Jan. 16, enjoy cheap skate rentals, private lessons, and even a full-service restaurant, the Ice Cafe, adjacent to the rink.  Although not a classic yet, The Pond is sure to give Rockefeller Center a run for its money.
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