I remember some summer storms where the power goes out. We scramble around for candles and flashlights, wait a couple hours and the lights come back. In the meantime, we move around like mice and treated the night like a special event.
Now imagine if you have no power for a whole week. Imagine you also live in New Jersey.
Michael Gaines is a podcaster living in New Jersey. He runs the longest World Of Warcast podcast, along with This Week in Trek, and Geekistry. Of course, he was affected by Hurricane Irene. He lost power to his house from the storm, but worst part is his estimated date to get power switched back on is September 4th.
“It’s tough” says Gaines. “I went to one hardware store and asked ‘do you have any generators?’ The guy looks at me and says ‘yeah, like I haven’t been asked that question 100 times today.’ So I went to Home Depot where they just got in 30 generators. I was walking in where they were walking out. One was left behind I waited 10 minutes and nobody came back for it, so I bought it.”
The best part about this story was the fact he was telling me through a Google Hangout. His Macbook Pro had only 75 minutes of power left. His Mifi 4G card disconnected him every 5 minutes. But he got back on and back into the hangout.
“Of course, I’m not running the generator right now because it’s too loud.” says Gaines.
He moved out to the patio with a flashlight in his hand and his iPhone earphones plugged into the Macbook. He was trying to be quiet since other people were sleeping.
He’s not the only one suffering. 30,000 are without power in this area. Gaines was actually a bit lucky – he was not one of those whose house was sitting under water.
He also has his technology working for him. He could still get work done. He expects the generator to give him some power to charge devices for the day. He also has his car to charge phones and other devices.
The best part is that technology has really changed in the last 5 years. Remember those old aluminum flashlights that we had as kids? Magnet on the side, 4-D batteries to power that little bulb which was always trying to die. So we hit it on the side to keep the light on.
Let’s not even talk about the transistor radio.
Nowadays, LED flashlights can keep lit for hours. Batteries can be charged so we can run computers, mobile devices and more. You cannot have all the lights on or the TV running, but you can call someone or order that new plush Angry bird online.
“I’m just glad it’s not cold out here. We can deal with the heat in the summer, but if it was winter, we might be able to use the generator to run a space heater and warm up one room…”