November 20, 2012

"If cellphone companies don’t want to take reasonable steps to ensure reliability..."

"... then they should be liable to customers who suffer injury from failed service."

Don't people kind of know cell phones don't work reliably? Isn't that the reason you're supposed to keep your land line? I've spent something like $30 a month for years maintaining a land line that mostly only collects commercial calls and wrong numbers because it just might happen that there will be an emergency and only the land line will work.

I finally cut of my land line, driven to it by a particular screw up. And I'd like to think the cell phone will fill the gap, performing like the old technology. But I think we know the risks and we've chosen them. What other predictable disappointments should be converted into lawsuits?

108 comments:

30yearProf said...

When AT&T was a monopoly, it did onwe thing superbly, deliver functional, reliable service. So it can be done. But not by the lowest cost provider.

Quayle said...

I speak from 20 years experience in the business of developing network systems - systems that managed the calls and systems that mangaed the networks. (Prior life.)

I can assure you that the networks are no longer built to the specifications of call quality that they once were.

Voice over IP is pretty much crap, and pretty much the standard.

Used to be, back in the ATT/MCI/Sprint days with the Ma Bell regionals, that they tested for a very, very high level of call quality.

Now we all have gotten used to crap quality, so the network providers have lowered their standards to reduce costs.

Example: It used to be a mortifying thing to be on a business conference call and have your line drop and have to dial back in.

Now it is routine, and the other people on the conference don't say a word - it is accepted business protocol that someone will drop.

(And that someone will have a dog barking or baby crying in the background.)

YoungHegelian said...

I honestly have no idea how cellular transmitters could be "hardened" to withstand more than a few days without power. Batteries that have that much capacity are big, heavy, & not forgiving of harsh environments. Do they expect carriers to hang diesel generators with every transmitter?

This is not to say I support Verizon's lawsuit. I just technically don't see a way to harden the present cell phone infrastructure.

If I'm wrong about this, and I'm sure there are readers who understand cellular systems better than I, please set me straight.

Chuck Currie said...

Don't forget, that when the power goes out at your home, your land line phone will not work.

I say, 911 carrier pigeons, signal flags, flares and drums.

Cheers

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

If people want to pay cellphone companies to ensure reliability then they should be free to do so, but they should not impose (administratively, legislatively or judicially) a requirements that makes cellphones costlier to customers who don't want luxury insurance.

leslyn said...

One can always get a lawyer to file a lawsuit. Whether it's a good lawsuit is beside the point.

McTriumph said...

I've never had a problem with T-Mobile, except when I'm at the Lake of the Ozarks, but then when I'm there I do not want to be reached.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

When the power goes out at your home the land line is the only thing that does work. It wont ring, but you still get a dial tone and can call out.

Having extra batteries for the cell phone kept charged up are the best investment available.

rcommal said...

Ham radio?

Quayle said...

Don't forget, that when the power goes out at your home, your land line phone will not work.

Not true. If you are on the old "twisted pair" lines, and not coming through a modem from a cable carrier or a fiber to the home, your service worked even when the power was off.

The central office (the facility and equipment at the other end of your phone 'twisted pair' line) powered the line and the phone.

Sorun said...

Don't forget, that when the power goes out at your home, your land line phone will not work.

My old landline was self-powered.

Also, a way to deal with the annoyances of a landline kept just for emergencies is to unplug the phone until you need it. If someone calls but your phone isn't plugged in, did it really ring?

edutcher said...

As I say, we've never had the problem Ann's had with her landline and I think we both have the same thing.

The Blonde regards her cell phone as emergencies only and one we use only on the road.

LoafingOaf said...

@traditionalguy: Having extra batteries for the cell phone kept charged up are the best investment available.

You can get a solar cell phone charger.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Chuck Currie said...

Don't forget, that when the power goes out at your home, your land line phone will not work.

Not necessarily true. If you have a cordless phone, then yes, the base requires electricity from a wall outlet. However, if you have an older, directly wired to the wall phone, it gets its power from the phone lines. It is possible for a storm to take out both power and phone lines, but it is also possible for it to take out one and not the other.

R. Chatt said...

I live in an area with periodic power outages due to rainy weather and downed trees, etc., and the land line does not go out just because the power is out. If your phone is powered by a transformer that will go out when the power is out, but not an old fashioned phone plugged into the wall.

In NYC people were lining up to recharge their phones; what if you are living in a less urbanized environment? What if you had to drive somewhere to recharge your phone? Not too convenient when you really need a functional phone.

TosaGuy said...

"Don't forget, that when the power goes out at your home, your land line phone will not work."

False. But when the power goes out that cordless phone hooked to that landline won't recharge. An old-school regular corded phone works just fine.

Scott said...

During the 9/11 crisis, my co-workers on Cingular (AT&T) and Verizon weren't able to connect. I was on VoiceStream (T-Mobile) and had little problem connecting to landlines.

Dustin said...

" Isn't that the reason you're supposed to keep your land line?"

I think this is actually unusual these days.

madAsHell said...

If there is a large scale disaster, a Katrina, a Sandy, then your first responders are already deployed by the time you call.

Who are you going to call next??? FEMA?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

YoungHegelian said...

Do they expect carriers to hang diesel generators with every transmitter?

Around here ( NH ), we lose power for a day or more a couple times each winter. We generally get cable and internet back before electricity, in part because Comcast comes around and sets up a generator to power their equipment on the phone pole across the street from us. ( The don't need to do it for every pole, just ones with certain equipment. I have no idea how many generators they have/need. )

Scott said...

After Hurricane Sandy, many communities in New Jersey set up cellphone recharging stations. Apparently a lot of people have ditched their landlines.

Larry J said...

LoafingOaf said...
@traditionalguy: Having extra batteries for the cell phone kept charged up are the best investment available.

You can get a solar cell phone charger.


If you have a car, get a cigarette lighter charger for your cell phone. If you don't have a car, you can still get the cigarette lighter plug and power it with one of those handy little car jump starters that includes a cigarette lighter jack like this one.

Ignorance is Bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Balfegor said...

I honestly have no idea how cellular transmitters could be "hardened" to withstand more than a few days without power. Batteries that have that much capacity are big, heavy, & not forgiving of harsh environments.

Would it last longer if they turned off voice service and switched to texts only? My experience has been that texts work better when the lines are clogged, and I imagine they take less power. But I don't know whether cell towers are continuously transmitting a signal whether or not there's any data exchange going on or not, so maybe it wouldn't do anything.

Hagar said...

Not all that much power required for telephone service of either kind, I think.

This may be a field where tiny solar panel thingamajigs could serve to re-charge your phones, and perhaps the phone companies could keep the service going with somewhat larger ones attached to the towers?

chuckR said...

I just put the old Bell system rotary dial phone away after Sandy and the follow-up nor'easter. Beige, weighs several pounds and is designed to survive nuclear holocaust. I tease my daughter that no matter how hard she pushes within the dial openings, nothing will happen. Amazingly, dial clicks are still recognized in most menus I've had to go through. Also, I forgot just how pleasant the analog ring is compared what we have on cell or modern land line phones.

traditionalguy said...

Yes, car chargers are great and often save the day. But the car must be running while they are charging or they discharge instead of charge. So remember to take the cell phone off the car charger when parked.

MisterBuddwing said...

I'm old enough to remember AT&T running print ads back in the 1960s boasting how, even in a blackout, the phone will still work, so even if you're in the dark, "at least you can call someone about it." (If addled memory serves, the ad showed a little girl on the phone doing just that.)

LoafingOaf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LoafingOaf said...

My house is in a bad spot for cell phone coverage. I get enough of a signal for it to ring but it usually drops out if I talk for long.

The big problem with land lines is that the Do Not Call List is being increasingly ignored by telemarketers. And I almost went insane during the election over how many political calls I was getting (I'm in Ohio).

I still do the screening calls through an old school answering machine thing. It would be cool if cell phones allowed you to hear voice mail messages out loud in real time like that.

MisterBuddwing said...

Political (and charity) calls are specifically exempted from Do Not Call.

McTriumph said...

If the power lines are down most likely the phone lines are down, they are strung on the same poles. That's been my experience in disasters, ice storms and tornadoes. Even neighborhoods with underground lines, they are fed by above ground lines.

LoafingOaf said...

If the power lines are down most likely the phone lines are down, they are strung on the same poles. That's been my experience in disasters, ice storms and tornadoes. Even neighborhoods with underground lines, they are fed by above ground lines.

My power goes on fairly often but not the land lines. I have two land lines and one time one of them got taken out by a storm, but not the other.

I can't remember if the phones went out during the power grid failure of 2003 that blacked out much of the Northeast, Midwest, and parts of Canada. I'm pretty sure I made some phone calls during that. Boy, that was wild, and woke me up to being prepared for things, because if the region had stayed blacked out much longer things would've gotten out of control. It's one thing when power is out in just some parts of town, but when the whole darned city and region is out it is frightening. Even my water was out, and people were scrambling for bottled water at the few stores with generators. My dog drank Fiji water that week. :)

Mogget said...

I ordered a wood pellet burning backpacker stove that will charge via USB for nook, kindle, iphone:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/bo7f5qu

Big Mike said...

Lane lines are designed to work even if the power is out to the building. I've lost power many times, but only once did we lose our land line.

We keep our land line, but we have the dead minimum service. The main alternative would be to install a repeater/signal booster in the house, and I'd need battery backup or a generator to make it usable during a power outage.

damikesc said...

Not sure what is expected or why cell carriers should be liable for poor service after a hurricane when, say, power companies aren't held to similar standards.

People do not realize that cell sites haven to abide by zoning laws. So those big towers you see are the minority of cell sites. We hide them in signs, lights on hotel displays...hell, we have some that look like cows in the Midwest. There is nowhere to put batteries that would follow zoning laws.

rcommal said...

Wow, Mogget! That is totally, totally cool. Never heard of such a thing. I am SO going to look into that, maybe for husband's Christmas gift. Thanks for linking it!

Bryan C said...

Another instance of idiot politicians threatening companies for providing services that people actually want. There simply isn't a viable consumer market willing to pay for rock-solid wireless communications. It's expensive and people balk at paying more for a super-reliable system that they'll probably never need or use.

Local state and federal governments have spent billions trying to build systems that meet these specs. They have dedicated trunked radio systems, hardened repeaters, and their own reserved frequency bands. And when the radio system doesn't work, they use their cellphones.

FWIW, my Comcast phone service cable modem has a built-in battery backup. I haven't checked to see how long it lasts. In my experience, if my cable TV is down the phone lines will also be down.

Roux said...

Ditto to what Quayle said "VOIP is crap"

at&t's copper network is pretty solid but it's aging. Without power you can only last so long. Most traditional CO's are hardened facilities with battery backup and generators for the larger ones. Generators are expensive to maintain and if you bring in temporary generators they'll get stolen.

At least that was my experience in the aftermath of Katrina.

Radio communications are all you can really depend on.

MadisonMan said...

The website says the BioLite stove isn't available for purchase. Bummer. I agree with rcommal, it's awesome -- although why would I want to charge my cell phone if I'm camping, trying to get away from it all?

It's not a horrible thing to be unconnected when your cell phone doesn't work. A little advanced planning goes a long long way.

Mogget said...

I just checked the bioLite site; it says they are shipping new orders on December 3rd. Cutting it close for Christmas, to be sure.

Also, I think there is a larger version, call "campStove" either just released or soon to be available. That might be the thing to have for emergencies around the house, while the smaller stove goes in the car or backpack.

rcommal said...

I was thinking more for power outages than camping, for myself. Bummer about the current unavailability. What a brilliant idea, of the "better mousetrap" sort, though.

Chip Ahoy said...

Access to my apartment building is through the phone. Mine is through the cell phone. This has caused problems, the phone not charged when someone's trying to get in chief among them. I lost a housekeeper because of that, but she was a drag anyway so no huge loss there. But once I was entertaining a large group on Friday evening when tSprint becomes bogged down, maxes out, and all calls are automatically redirected to messaging service. Guests couldn't get in the building. They did come in eventually with war stories about how they overcame the problem of accessing the building. Not all of them but a lot of them and it was a serious unanticipated problem. That one night, for a party, so not so bad as this discussion, but still cell phones are just not all they're cracked up to be. Presently.

rcommal said...

Moggett: Given that we're undertaking a major cross- country move within two freakin' weeks of Christmas, cutting it close on a gift, or even giving one--or most!--late, would be the least of my concerns or stress factors. LOL. Thanks for the update. I'll also look into the other model you mentioned. Thanks again!

Alcuria said...

As others have alluded to, cell phone technology is good technology if you accept its limitations.

It certainly did not work well where I was at during the 2003 blackout. Lots of calls made to land lines would not progress to the point where they would ring, others would get all trunks busy indications. Land lines worked better.

In designing telecommunications distribution systems, I always stress simplicity and good grounds. Voice/IP can work, but there are many dynamic traffic conderations concerning non-VoIP (unicast and multicast) traffic and how that can impact VoIP calls. Quality of Service is helpful, but not the cure-all. Multicast traffic is not going to pay much attention to QoS and depending on the circumstances will bring VoIP continuity to its knees.

Accept that cell phones for what they are - and consider a land line - if for nothing else prompt address information for a Public-Safety Answering Point when you call 911.

Colonel Angus said...

What other predictable disappointments should be converted into lawsuits?

I think the above sentence sums why I loathe our tort system and the lawyers that exploit it for their own enrichment.

Typically when I am disappointed in the product or service I purchase, I no longer provide them with my business.

Lem said...

We are going to start paying more because the sun is active or el Niño and la Niña are having a year.

Lets not fool ourselves... these costs will be passed on.

Chip Ahoy said...

I could make do with a hibachi.

Once I saw a really good one, a super cool one at Williams-Sonoma downtown. They were in boxes in a pile as you entered, so some special one-time offering. The hibachi on display had dragons on it without going overboard on oriental ornamentation. Expensive but still a somewhat reasonably priced but I didn't snap one up. I thought at the time, that's too much, I can do better, and it turned out I couldn't do better and never saw them again and cannot find them and rued not having just grabbed it.

Then I bought one, a regular hibachi, turned out to be crap unsteady and filthy so I got rid of it. But I could live on that. I'd use wood charcoal instead of commercial charcoal for extraordinary fire-roasted post-apocolyptic disaster-dinners. It would be the one good thing about living amongst roving bands of looters.

I'd share with the hungry looters, for they would pick up the smell for half a mile, my idea for fire roasted Brussels sprouts, where they're picked apart as tiny cabbages and seared black in hot cast iron pan with olive oil then tossed with balsamic vinegar.

And they'd go, "What? Brussels sprouts? Are you kidding us? Those things are gross." But they'd be be so hungry they'd scarf anything and that increment of distress will magnify the actual goodness of tiny bitter cabbages and they'll declare my hibachi fire roasted Brussels sprouts outstanding.

Then the steaks go on.

rcommal said...

Oh, and by the way, no, I don't the cell phone companies should be "liable." There have been enough "predictable disappointments ... converted into lawsuits."

Ignorance is Bliss said...

What other predictable disappointments should be converted into lawsuits?

None. Caveat Emptor is what I tell all my (former) lovers.

jimbino said...

Yes, ham radio is the fallback for disasters.

Securing the cellphone service so that it is immune to natural disaster is a matter of risk management. There are some of us who don't want the luxury; those who do should not be subsidized by us.

Get a ham radio.

As we used to say in Law School, "We want accidents to happen," because avoiding them costs more than enduring them and cleaning up after them.

Indeed, an abortion often costs less then months of birth-control!

Stephen A. Meigs said...

It may be you can dial 911 from a land-line phone even if you don't pay it. From Wikipedia:

In the U.S., Federal Communications Commission rules require every telephone that can access the network to be able to dial 9-1-1, regardless of any reason that normal service may have been disconnected (including non-payment) (This only applies to states with a Do Not Disconnect policy in place. Those states must provide a "soft" or "warm" dial tone service....)

If I were you, I would put a reliable old-fashioned phone that works without batteries or AC into a phone outlet and see whether it has dial tone. If it does, I'd keep it there, because you probably could use it for 911 in a fix. About 12 years ago when my grandmother in South Carolina got too feeble to live alone, her house became abandoned for a few years, and though phone service was discontinued, the telephone still had dial tone and so could apparently dial 911.

PatHMV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
machine said...

“I’m not a scientist, man.”

PatHMV said...

I thought it was very odd for libertarian-leaning Glen Reynolds to be calling for the government to impose liability on private service vendors who don't live up to customer expectations.

By all means the government (through the judicial system) should hold service providers accountable to the terms of their contract... but not to standards beyond that.

Really, I read that post and wondered what led Reynolds to have a bit of a "statist" moment.

Rabel said...

You're gonna regret giving up that land line when a storm surge from Lake Mendota washes away your cell service and your well cultivated garlic garden and Meade is lost at sea when he rows down to the botanical lab at the U in a desperate search for aromatics only to find before he goes under that all they grow there is marijuana but you will find some solace in knowing that he died happy.

Pogo said...

What other predictable disappointments should be converted into lawsuits?"

The ACA will.

"In the largest staff reduction in its nearly 100-year history, Orlando Health is cutting up to 400 jobs starting immediately, hospital system officials announced Monday.

The elimination ...represents a 2 percent to 3 percent reduction in the system's 16,000-person work force...

On Wednesday, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina announced that it would cut 950 jobs by June.
Last month, Louisiana State University announced it would cut 1,495 positions as well as programs across its seven hospitals to trim more than $150 million from its budget.
"

Lotsa shoes dropping. In 2o13-14, there will be a shitstorm of firings and closings.

Un- and underemployed lawyers should get out their class action templates.

Fight over the scraps, JD, it's all that will be left.



rcommal said...

Pogo: Is the info you just gave in a source that is linkable? (I'm not challenging it, it's just that I'm aware that you may be privy to info that we aren't yet because of your position.) I'd be interested in following such links. Thanks.

Pogo said...

@
Orlando Health to cut record number of jobs to save money
Reduction of 400 jobs will help position system for health-care overhaul, officials say


My favorite quote is on page 2.
"Laura Goodhue, executive director of the health-advocacy organization Florida Chain, also questioned whether the layoffs were necessary.

"I'm not sure why they're having layoffs now. And I'm not sure what they're referring to in regards to reduced payments," she said.

"As a result of the Affordable Care Act, more Floridians are going to have health coverage, not fewer, so there will be more paying Floridians in the system," Goodhue said.
"

Hilarious and frightening in her stupidity. That is, an Obama voter.

machine said...

Because we can surely trust what hospital systems claim...just ask the Florida Governor...or Poppa John...or that guy at Denny's...

Methadras said...

Quayle said...

I speak from 20 years experience in the business of developing network systems - systems that managed the calls and systems that mangaed the networks. (Prior life.)

I can assure you that the networks are no longer built to the specifications of call quality that they once were.

Voice over IP is pretty much crap, and pretty much the standard.

Used to be, back in the ATT/MCI/Sprint days with the Ma Bell regionals, that they tested for a very, very high level of call quality.

Now we all have gotten used to crap quality, so the network providers have lowered their standards to reduce costs.

Example: It used to be a mortifying thing to be on a business conference call and have your line drop and have to dial back in.

Now it is routine, and the other people on the conference don't say a word - it is accepted business protocol that someone will drop.

(And that someone will have a dog barking or baby crying in the background.)


Call quality at this point is on the audio fidelity level of a CB radio and has been for years with the mobile infrastructure. I don't see it changing anytime soon.

Kit said...

...although why would I want to charge my cell phone if I'm camping, trying to get away from it all?

MM, my husband went on a solo 2-month hike, this last summer, and took his iphone...along with a satellite tracker/2-way emergency SOS device.

He used a portable solar charger for recharging (Mogget, that stove is pretty cool). I'll pass the link along. I'm wondering, though, how the combined weights compare.

X said...

Chip here is a quality cast iron hibachi, and on sale too. great for steaks.

http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L410-Pre-Seasoned-Sportsmans-Charcoal/dp/B00022OK2A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353440634&sr=8-1&keywords=lodge+hibachi

Peter said...

traditionalguy said...
"When the power goes out at your home the land line is the only thing that does work. It wont ring, but you still get a dial tone and can call out."

Traditional landline phones (no, that doesn't include cordless phones or some speakerphones) are powered entirely from the telephone company's central office. Within that central office there is a battery room, which contains a large number of rechargeable (lead-acid) batteries. The batteries provide power (nominally -48 volts DC) to the switching and transmission equipment in the central office, and that equipment then provides power to all the phones connected to it. If memory serves, there are always "No Smoking" signs on the door of the battery room, and a few more inside (these batteries can leak hydrogen gas when they're being charged).

In normal operation, these batteries are continually charged from commercial AC power. When commercial power goes down, the batteries typically have enough stored energy to power everything for about six hours. Larger central offices will have backup diesel generators.

Also, a way to deal with the annoyances of a landline kept just for emergencies is to unplug the phone until you need it. If someone calls but your phone isn't plugged in, did it really ring?

In short, the old landline phone system was designed to be robust enough to remain available during emergencies. And as others have remarked, when you call "911" from a landline, the location you're calling from is known immediately.

BUT the joker here (if you're keeping a landline for security) is, more than a few people who think they have traditional landlines, don't. The phone company only has to provide you with voice service; how they do it is their business.

Which is to say, what you're actually getting may well be some flavor of VoiP service, even though it's set up so that it retains the look and feel of old-time landline phone service (and you can connect a traditional analog landline phone to it).

virgil xenophon said...

The telephone system was designed from jump-street to survive atomic war and natural disasters This is why one's monthly basic cable costs approx the same as a monthly land-line charge (or used to) IOW, the cost to the telco to provide naught but a reliable land-line dial-tone is the same as providing multiple, but far less reliable tv channels. THAT is the trade-off: reliability vs convenience/choice. Same for cell vs land-line.

virgil xenophon said...

PS: People should look at the old AT&T/Bell Telephone Company main offices and switching stations built in the 50s & 60s--they all look like concrete bunkers--because they were--as they were built to withstand nuclear blast over-pressures.

Pogo said...

Yeah, I'm sure they're all lying about the layoffs, machine.

What an ingenious ruse!
Lessee...

1. Lie about layoffs.

2. ???

3. Profit!

Pogo said...

These are all fake, too:

"2. UCSF Medical Center to Trim 300 Jobs
University of California San Francisco Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital are planning to cut 300 full-time jobs to lower healthcare costs. UCSF Medical Center employs roughly 8,000 people throughout its locations in San Francisco.

3. St. Anthony's Medical Center in St. Louis Lays Off 176 Employees
St. Anthony's Medical Center in St. Louis laid off 176 employees — 25 of those held management positions.

4. MedWest Hospitals in North Carolina Lay Off 80 Employees
Three MedWest hospitals in North Carolina, part of Carolinas HealthCare System, laid off more than 80 employees in mid-October. The layoffs were implemented at MedWest-Haywood in Clyde, MedWest-Swain in Bryson City, and MedWest-Harris in Sylva.

5. Kaiser Permanente of Ohio to Lay Off 58 Employees
Kaiser Permanente of Ohio, based in Cleveland, announced the layoffs of 58 employees by year's end as it tries to lower premiums for enrollees. The system has roughly 1,800 employees at 15 locations in Cleveland.

6. E.A. Conway Medical Center in Louisiana to Lay Off 38 Employees
E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe, La., began notifying 38 employees of impending layoffs this month. E.A. Conway Medical Center is part of Baton Rouge-based Louisiana State University Health System, which recently approved a $151.8 million budget cut plan that will reduce the workforce by 1,500 employees.

7. Mercy in Ohio to Lay Off 38 Employees
Toledo, Ohio-based Mercy, part of part of Cincinnati-based Catholic Health Partners, is laying off 38 people and curbing hours for 20 other employees as part of a reorganization plan.

8. Bay Medical Center in Florida Lays Off 27 Employees
Bay Medical Center in Panama City, Fla., is laying off 27 employees. The most affected department is construction, but the system is also closing its on-site child care clinic at the end of the year.

9. Tennova to Trim 27 Jobs From Physicians Regional in Tennessee
Knoxville, Tenn.-based Tennova Healthcare is eliminating 27 positions from its Physicians Regional Medical Center, also in Knoxville.

10. Crouse Hospital in New York Eliminates 25 Jobs
Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., laid off 25 people. Twenty of the layoffs affected employees in management positions.

11. Somerset Medical Center in New Jersey Lays Off 23 Employees
Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, N.J., laid off 23 employees this month. Officials from the 355-bed hospital said the layoffs resulted from a decline in patient volumes as a result of the economic downturn.

12. Harrington HealthCare Freezes Wages, Lays Off 12 Employees
Southbridge, Mass.-based Harrington HealthCare System is laying off 12 employees and freezing wages for its entire workforce of about 1,300 people.

13. Layoffs, Relocations Expected at Memorial Medical Center of Modesto in California
Memorial Medical Center of Modesto (Calif.) may implement layoffs or relocate jobs to Sacramento, possibly as early as November. The hospital's parent, Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health, has been streamlining its finance, billing, human resources and purchasing operations.
"

gadfly said...

Let me see if I understand cell phone technology. Cell phone companies broadcast telephone calls across their network of cell towers that stick up into the air.

Now let me think about the nature of hurricanes: they have high winds. So when high winds strike cell towers, service is likely to be disrupted, especially when the tower falls or when the electronics are damaged or when power lines are down.

Only big government supporters from the east coast would somehow believe that wireless companies should invest in technology to make cell phones work in any circumstance.

People build houses with seven foot doorways. When Wilt Chamberlain or Manute Bol stops by to visit, they have to duck.

Rabel said...

Methadras:
"Call quality at this point is on the audio fidelity level of a CB radio and has been for years with the mobile infrastructure. I don't see it changing anytime soon."

the good old days

rcommal said...

Pogo:

HOLY SHIT [hitting the fan].

Writ Small said...

What other predictable disappointments should be converted into lawsuits?

Election night disappointment should be subject to lawsuits. Get out your checkbooks Michael Barone, Karl Rove, John Hinderaker, Ann Althouse, and Dick Morris.

Rabel said...

Virgil:
"PS: People should look at the old AT&T/Bell Telephone Company main offices and switching stations built in the 50s & 60s--they all look like concrete bunkers--because they were--as they were built to withstand nuclear blast over-pressures."

Interesting point Virgil. The Bell telephone Co. building in my little home town was built like a windowless brick shithouse. Never understood why until now.

Titus said...

I haven't had a land line in 10 years.

I am off this week and I am focusing on rejuvenation, doing yoga, manny, peddy, massage-without release, tai chi, eating lentils, and finding the essence within.

Work has been incredibly busy and stressful-but that is why I singed on for the comfortable 6 figure salary. It's important to be strategic and partner but it is also nice to take a few days off to refocus your energies and passions. For me it's all about a having a hot bod, keeping a 30 inch waist, being wanted and desired-especially while working the runways of the large city, hot sex, and art and beauty-natch.

How are all of you doing?

Do you know Father Fax looks exactly like my Aunt Olga-I was trying to figure out who he looked like and now I know. I love Aunt Olga-she's a good egg.

tits.

bagoh20 said...

Someone has probably already mentioned this, but as to reliability, that guy that's gonna break into your house and hold you hostage for days while he does terribly wonderful things to you, can't cut the line to your cell phone before he breaks in.

rcommal said...

That's why I like redundancy and options when it comes to technology.

damikesc said...

Call quality at this point is on the audio fidelity level of a CB radio and has been for years with the mobile infrastructure. I don't see it changing anytime soon.


Given that call volume makes us no money...no, we aren't going to stress it.

Gahrie said...

Am I the last person in the world without a cellphone?

I have never owned one, and never cared to. There is son one I want to talk to that badly.

I screen my calls on my landline also.

Alex said...

How did people manage before cell phones and landlines?

Alex said...

Am I the last person in the world without a cellphone?

I have never owned one, and never cared to. There is son one I want to talk to that badly.

I screen my calls on my landline also.


Are you accessing this site through Compuserve gramps?

Gahrie said...

Are you accessing this site through Compuserve gramps?

Not quite...AOL.....

Alex said...

Not quite...AOL.....

I rest my case gramps.

Methadras said...

I bought both versions of the biolite stoves. Love them both. Unless burnable fuel becomes non-existent or I can't find a few twigs or leaves to burn, I should be just fine in any event.

Peter said...


Methadras said, "Call quality at this point is on the audio fidelity level of a CB radio and has been for years with the mobile infrastructure."

The standard for "audio fidelity" on a telephone has always been speech intelligability. It's never been about high quality sound reproduction.

The old analog landline standard was for the system to pass frequencies from 300-3200 Hz. And now, cellphones use fancy compression algorithms to minimize the bit rate (although network operators also can sometimes reduce background noises).

But if you can easily understand what's being said then the audio quality is (and always has been) considered good enough.

Really, they don't want you to cut your call short- they make money when you talk and talk for a long, long time.

Methadras said...

Rabel said...

Methadras:
"Call quality at this point is on the audio fidelity level of a CB radio and has been for years with the mobile infrastructure. I don't see it changing anytime soon."

the good old days


ROFL!!! I remember that.

JackOfVA said...

The philosophy employed by the cellular operator I worked with in the 1990's was to install 2 to 4 hours of battery backup at cell sites. The battery capacity was calculated on the basis of full load, so you might get another hour or two of battery power in practice. Major switching centers followed the telephone central office practice of 8 hours of battery plus backup generator.

However, even if a cell site has power, it still requires connectivity back to the rest of the cellular network, most often via digital transmission lines leased from the phone company or some other provider, or sometimes microwave links. If those fail, then the connected cell sites are unusable.

All infrastructure is fragile to some degree. Wireline telephone service is the most robust for the reasons stated by others, but even it can fail.

Balfegor said...

Re: gadfly:

Only big government supporters from the east coast would somehow believe that wireless companies should invest in technology to make cell phones work in any circumstance.

Instapundit is often ironic, but I don't think he was being ironic when he wrote:

Who needs regulation here? If cellphone companies don’t want to take reasonable steps to ensure reliability, then they should be liable to customers who suffer injury from failed service.

Or perhaps you were being ironic? So hard to tell online sometimes.

MadisonMan said...

It may be you can dial 911 from a land-line phone even if you don't pay it

When I was in Calistoga last week, I actually saw a pay phone on the street. A Working pay phone! I almost took a picture of it. (With a digital camera)

Michael McNeil said...

why would I want to charge my cell phone if I'm camping, trying to get away from it all?

So you can use your trail-mapping app? (GPS works without a cellular connection but you can't download new maps.)

Lincolntf said...

Can I sue the Government when my mail gets lost/delayed?

jimbino said...

Has someone come up yet with a soliloquy or masturbation app so that I don't have to do it the old way?

Michael McNeil said...

By the way, in addition to solar and the woodstove, there are also handcrank generators that can recharge your cell phone — e.g., here.

Unknown said...

Yes, the government can mandate backup generators at cell towers and other communications nodes to make cell networks more reslient during/after disasters. But at what cost? Hardening communications networks ain't cheap.

Would Reynolds want to pay an extra $25 a month to Sandy-proof his cellphone?

Smilin' Jack said...

why would I want to charge my cell phone if I'm camping, trying to get away from it all?

Ever see "127 Hours"? That's why.

SteveR said...

Can you hear me? Can you hear me now?

If you can't get by with a candle, some blankets, the 2nd Amendment, a bathtub full of water and some miscellaneous canned goods, its probably really bad. Hopefully people you love, already know it.

Pogo said...

"Ever see "127 Hours"? That's why."

Man, an uncharged cell phone can cost you an arm and a leg.

Pogo said...

Well, an arm.

Joe Schmoe said...

What other predictable disappointments should be converted into lawsuits?

New York experienced a 100-year flood event, meaning it floods to that same level about once every 100 years, yet 4 years ago Obama said this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow.

I say sue the bastard.

Joe Schmoe said...

Re: cell phones and power outages, every time we've lost power in the last dozen years, all the cell towers lost power too. So charging my cell didn't do diddly. Once the power to our house was restored, then the cell towers were back online about the same time.

This has probably already been said; don't have time to read through all the posts. Apologies if so.

Drago said...

machine: "Because we can surely trust what hospital systems claim...just ask the Florida Governor...or Poppa John...or that guy at Denny's..."

LOL

Just ask the US Ambassador to the UN.....

Too easy.

ambienisevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck Currie said...

I stand corrected. Having an old style land line phone where the handset is securely attached to the base by a pigtail cord all tied in knots, and hidden away in a closet, is probably a good idea. Of course, that is if you still have a land line connected to your home - which I don't.

Now, if I could just find those signal flags.

Cheers

PeterK said...

" What if you had to drive somewhere to recharge your phone?"

that is why i have cellphone charger in my car. also you can buy solar powered chargers.

also go with an extended life battery, turn on your phone only when you needed. if you're in an area with a weak signal turn it off as your phone uses up the battery power faster as it tries to hold onto the signal.
no need to have it on all the time callers can leave VM

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

"What other predictable disappointments should be converted into lawsuits?"

Can we sue Rice for discussing unclassified, intelligence approved info, instead of classified info that was not stamped w/ the intelligence seal of approval?

Hah!

Beldar said...

Wait wait wait.

Is anyone here, including our host, under the MISAPPREHENSION that landline telcos are legally responsible for any reliability problems you may have?

Folks, they are still state-regulated industries still protected by state-approved/mandated tariffs that include sharp, low limits on any damages, including all consequential damages and basically anything beyond a partial, pro-rated credit on next month's bill.

Both cellphones and landlines are vulnerable to outages, and sometimes one will work when the other doesn't, but that isn't always the landline working when the cellphone doesn't.

They have different sets of tradeoffs, that's all.

Poynting_Vector said...

My family has gone completely wireless, but with built-in redundancy.

My wife and I have GSM phones from a local provider who owns its own set of towers. We also have an iPad with an Verizon 3G account. I've installed an VOIP app called Magic Jack on the device, so we have a backup voice comms solution if one of the networks goes dark.

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