I had to go into Manhattan for a meeting on Tuesday morning. First time out and about with my new Cingular 8125. Spent the ride in on NJ Transit reading feeds and reading/replying to email. Nice!
Shortly before the train hit Penn Station, I completely lost the connection. No network, no data. Nuthin. I assumed that it was due to the tunnel, and it would be fine once I got above ground. Nope. It wasn’t. I love this phone, but it can get a little quirky and a soft reset usually fixes whatever ails it. Like last Saturday I couldn’t get enough bars to make a call, soft reset, 3 bars. Made it all the way to my meeting at Rockefeller center and still had no cell phone service.
Amazing that we lived for years without the world being able to instantly reach us, and now I’m unreachable for 15 minutes and I practically have the cold shakes. I heard Esther Dyson in a radio interview recently and she said that what’s different about the world now is that we reach out to people, not places. When you call someone on their home or business line, you’re reaching them at a location. It’s all about the place. Now, thanks to cell phones and email/Blackberrys the location doesn’t matter. Your college student has a cell phone and an email account and it doesn’t matter if they’re down the street or across the country. Your communications are finding them, not the location. Like it or not, this the world my children are growing up in, and I’m telling them about life before the Internet and cell phones the way my parents talked about life before television.
Seriously, on that day it was a problem because Eric and I had agreed that we would try and meet up after my meeting so we could take the same train home. How would I reach him? Use a pay phone? In New York City? Yeah, right. I kept imagining all the horrors that could happen to my children and I’m in Manhattan and no one can call me.
I sit through the meeting and when it ends, still no service. A few more soft resets, a few power cycles and nothing works. I’m thinking I have a dead SIM and whether or not I have time to swing by the Cingular store when I get home. I end up having to ask to borrow a phone to try and reach Eric. I get him on his phone, and he tells me that he’s been unable to make calls all morning. Looks like Cingular picked that moment to make his phone work again, mine was still kaput.
Apparently, it was a major outage that hit many Cingular customers all over the country on Tuesday. Everything was back to normal by the train ride home.
If I had my old Motorola cell phone, I would have instinctively known immediately that it was a network outage. But when you got the new toy on the block, it’s hard to tell.