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[ NNSquad ] Re: If this had been an actual emergency ...

I agree that we don't want to be simplistic. It's just that today we have
the extreme of cloud dependency.

Maps are good example -- you don't need to have all the rich information
locally but I would like say as to what is available. This is why I try to
avoid the term cache which implicitly implies implicit but prefer to manage
availability. Emergency workers will need much more information for example
though, perhaps, we all need to be ready just in case.

It's not just the map data -- it's connectivity. If there is a disaster I
want peer protocols that allow us to communicate without depending on
servers far away or even a local cell tower. Our phones are loaded with
radios -- even FM receivers but they can't easily talk to each other without
special hacks. You can't just tell the voice and SMS traffic to relay. Voice
might be problematic but certainly messaging should be able to continue to
work as long as there is any path available even if 100 hops.

GPS too is a problem in that it is now totally dependent upon satellites.
Skyhook Wireless, Google and others are developing backup databases of
alternate sources such as MAC addresses and cellular towers.

There are all these hacks but we lack the coherent architecture vision
beyond today's Internet.

  [ Having spent a lot of time working with radios both professionally
    and as a Ham, I continue to be dubious re multihop communications
    scenarios such as you outline, for a variety of reliability and
    other reasons.  That said, the ability to switch cell phones into
    a "point to point walkie-talkie mode" between multiple cooperating
    units could have significant utility in emergency situations.

    As for Google and others building up databases of MAC addresses, etc.
    for backup comm purposes -- you're well familiar with the thanks
    Google got for that -- a pile of misguided lawsuits/complaints
    claiming they were purposely spying on Wi-Fi users.  Good deeds
    getting punished, as usual.

      -- Lauren Weinstein
         NNSquad Moderator ]

 - - -

-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of
Lauren Weinstein
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 14:55
To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: If this had been an actual emergency ...

On 11/29 09:06, Bob Frankston wrote:
> We can think of Comcast's outage as a test of the emergency cloud
> broadcasting system and it failed miserably.

One of the more important (and fascinating from a research standpoint)
aspects of "cloud computing" is how to sufficently "harden" and
"stage" data to avoid or minimize these sorts of problems.  The
nightmare scenario is total communications breakdown of course -- but
odds are if that happens we'll be dealing with even more severe
problems (e.g., during an earthquake -- and having been through two
major ones here in L.A., that's not a theoretical for me).

The navigation question is a toughie.  Obviously a standalone GPS
(hardware, or software-based on a phone with local map data) avoids
this problem entirely, at the cost of less up to date data at least
part of the time.  But perhaps a middle ground is to keep the most
commonly used data locally on the phone even for normally cloud-based
navigation services.

For example, if there's an earthquake, as long as I have basic L.A.
area navigation data available on the phone without a data connection
being needed, that's probably all I'm going to need until I get out of
the local area.

The flip-side to all this is that there are situations where *not*
having the data locally can be a big win.  If a hospital's files and
IT are damaged in a disaster of some sort, being able to retrieve
patient data from "the cloud" elsewhere could be very important.

So as usual, these aren't simplistic situations either way.

NNSquad Moderator

 - - -

On 11/29 09:06, Bob Frankston wrote:
> We can think of Comcast's outage as a test of the emergency cloud
> broadcasting system and it failed miserably.
> Imagine needing help during an emergency and being told, "Sorry, the can't
> reach the cloud so all your medical information is unavailable and we
> open our offices". We need to be very cautious about unnecessary
> dependencies and unnecessary tethering.
> The "cloud" (whatever people now mean by the term) can be an immensely
> useful resource but we have to be wary of dependency. Imagine having to
> navigate during an earthquake only to find the Google Maps doesn't work
> because it doesn't work if the cell towers are out - a distinct
> during an Earthquake. At a simply annoying level it's often unavailable
> traveling, especially for a US traveler abroad. Maybe more than annoying
> you are lost.