SURVIVAL: Texting tree with cells of three

Monday, May 13, 2013

Quick Emergency Prep Project: Build a Texting Tree
Posted on May 9, 2012 by aptprepper

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A few weeks ago, we posted a guest post on having a meeting place in times of emergency, which covered having multiple backup plans in place where your family can congregate. At the same time, when a disaster occurs, we would also want to reach out to loved ones to communicate our situation or inform them of our next move. In recent emergencies, it was widely observed that while land lines did not work, many people were able to use their cell phones to send text messages. For this reason it would be a good idea to organize your own texting tree. Much like the phone trees used by kids’ schools to keep parents informed, the texting tree would be used in times of emergency to keep family and friends informed.

This project is simple: all you need is your cell phone, contact list and a sheet of paper. You can either draw it out manually or build the tree using Word or Excel, in the same manner you would create an organization chart. It should only take about an hour at the most, except for the part about explaining how it works to your contacts.

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IT would be a good idea to have your contacts be in a different geographic area.

For example, my three contacts are geographically diverse. 

And, I’ve asked them to contact three folks in region or who’d care. 


Not that I’d be sad about being released for this “vale of tears”, but it’s against the rules to leave the game early.

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INTERESTING: Ship disaster brings back a memory

Monday, January 16, 2012

Prosecutor says captain left ship early
By Laura Bly, USA TODAY

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In a chaotic scene eerily evocative of the Titanic — which struck an iceberg and sank a century ago this April — at least five people have died and 15 remained missing Sunday after a state-of-the-art cruise ship hit an unidentified reef or rock and toppled over just off Italy’s Tuscan coast on the evening of Friday the 13th.

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There was no lifeboat drill after the ship’s departure from Citavecchia (Rome), and passengers complained that the crew failed to give instructions on how to evacuate and delayed lowering the lifeboats until the ship was listing too heavily for many of them to be released.

Some passengers jumped into the sea while others waited to be plucked to safety by helicopters, and some lifeboats had to be cut down with an ax.

Under U.S. Coast Guard and the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea regulations, cruise ships must conduct a safety drill within 24 hours of sailing with instructions on the use of life jackets and how and where to muster in an emergency.

But passengers are not required to attend, and cruise lines vary in how quickly they hold the drill and how stringently they enforce passenger participation.

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I can only remember being on commercial boats a few times in my life.

One cruise (i.e., “Days Of Our Lives” theme) and two ferry rides in Switzerland.

The NCL ship out of Miami had the required drill as we were leaving the harbor. And, the Captain, who’s name I don’t know was a stickler. The bars would NOT open until all passengers were at their station, verified by their room attendant, and identified by their floor supervisor. The process took ten minutes because as the Captain explained that there were a two non-cooperating passengers and two other discrepancies in the manifest. He apologized and, when he said the non-cooperators would be returning to shore on the pilot boat, the crowd cheered. Then he dismissed us with “The bars are now open. Have fun.” I have no idea if there were any non-cooperators. Nor if there were discrepancies. Nor, it there was anyone kicked off. But the bars did open. And, I felt confident that this guy was running his ship. Maybe it was all show and “theater”.

The two Swiss ferry rides had their drill after every stop. The ferry paused as soon as it pulled away and their was an airline safety briefing. In four languages. Two different “ferry lines”. But it seemed like the were following the same script. And, the crews were serious. No kidding around. Before and after the briefing, they were down right jolly; during, stern.

Maybe this is stuff that consumers have to demand. BEFORE they buy. Self-defense.

Maybe the bad press will make even bigger bargains?

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PRODUCTIVITY: Always have a email account to spare?

Friday, January 14, 2011

No secret I use a lot of email accounts. For a purpose. For a community. For relatives. For friends. For projects.

Interesting that some ISPs (i.e., Saint Peter’s University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital) offer free wifi.

Unfortunately, like most things you get for “free”, they both have their own “unique” opportunities.

Not everyone has a VWBBIE (i.e., a Verizon Wireless Broad Band Service for 70$/month) or an IPAD with the AT&T 3G turned on!

SPUH doesn’t permit email. I chatted with a fellow nerd from a past employment and he had no idea why or even who “decreed” this. But the diktat couldn’t be overturned.

Now clearly with web access, you can use the web front end that most email providers have. But that’s not a very efficient or effective imho. Your really want a unified mailbox for the different account with the capability to send from the correct account.

GMAIL to the rescue.

It was trivial to set this up so that “emergency” could read and write in the “important” accounts.

Now when I need it, I have it.

Kudos to GMAIL.


INTERESTING: Fixing Haiti long-term

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Haiti’s Avoidable Death Toll

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The way out of Haiti’s grinding poverty is not rocket science. Ranking countries according to: (1) whether they are more or less free market, (2) per capita income, and (3) ranking in International Amnesty’s human rights protection index, we would find that those nations with a larger free market sector tend also to be those with the higher income and greater human rights protections. Haitian President Rene Preval is not enthusiastic about free markets; his heroes are none other than the hemisphere’s two brutal communist tyrants: Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro.

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We can’t fix it, but let’s keep the crooked leaders out of the USA. Persona Non Grata.

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MONEY: Stocks go up but the dollar decline negates it

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Save the Greenback, Mr. President
Published: Friday, 9 Oct 2009 | 5:01 PM ET
By: Larry Kudlow

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All this massive spending and borrowing is killing us. We need to be slashing tax rates on large and small businesses. There’s just no better place to begin job creation. And leave the Bush tax cuts in place for heaven’s sake. This supply-side shock therapy would save the dollar. And it would put real long-term torque into the recovery.

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Unfortunately, the President is not going to defend the dollar. The Fed ain’t either. And, the congress critters are going to spend like those proverbial drunken sailors. (At least the sailor spent their OWN money.)

So what are the little folks to do. Get ready for a lost decade or two. Study Zimbabwe for how tough life is going to be as the world passes us by.

But some bullion to preserve wealth. Just don’t get ripped off by overpaying.

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TECHNOLOGY: Everyone needs to plan for a disaster

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

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Hi. I wanted to let you know that was unavailable on July 3 and the early part of July 4. A serious electrical fire shut down the Web hosting company in Seattle that we and hundreds of other sites rely on. Windows Secrets came back online at approximately 9:15 a.m. Pacific Time July 4.

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It is ESPECIALLY important that you enter an alternate e-mail address. This is your own personal “disaster recovery” plan. Companies change their filtering policies every day, and sometimes readers stop getting the newsletters they’ve subscribed to or paid for. When we receive a bounce notification, we send a short alert to your alternate address. This is the ONLY use we make of this information, and many people have thanked us for informing them of a problem affecting their inbound mail.

Our own disaster-recovery plan consisted simply of switching to a maintenance server, which displayed a message about the hosting company’s fire. As a small gaggle of writers, we found the cost of buying and synchronizing two servers in separate data centers too great. Instead, we chose to locate our equipment at a “hardened” data center, with dual diesel generators that could power the hardware indefinitely in case of any power outage.

When the blaze started, however, fire marshals ordered the evaculation of the entire building, and the generators could not be run. This knocked out some very big Web sites, not just our own., one of the world’s largest credit-card gateways, couldn’t process transactions online for its 238,000 clients for about 12 hours. Bing Travel (a component of Microsoft’s new Bing search engine) was dark for even longer.

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What’s your “disaster recovery” strategy?

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