Tuesday, May 10, 2011


The Technology President has another gutsy tool in his arsenal: emergency alerts over the phone. OK, it's not transistorized mocha latte or miniaturized unicorns, but it's a step forward, right?:

The system - called PLAN or Personal Localized Alerting Network - uses cell phone towers to send messages to everyone currently in a certain area, regardless of whether they're visiting from out of town or have a phone registered elsewhere. People won't have to register in advance to receive the alerts.

The messages, including urgent blasts from the President, information on imminent threats and Amber Alerts about missing children, will supercede all other phone traffic so they won't be stalled or delayed.

Well, maybe it's a good idea, except for the "supercede [sic] all other phone traffic" part. Assume you found the terrorist because he just drove his Ford into your coffee shop; wouldn't it be nice to be able to continue your 911 call without getting disconnected or interrupted by an urgent message that a terrorist in a Ford has been seen in your area?

Course, maybe I'm wrong. This being a government system, it's bound to work flawlessly, cost less than expected, and leave the Chinese chagrined that they didn't think of it first. Yeah, so ok, never mind.