Geek Resilience

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 24, 2013


Discuss this article at the Science & Technology Table inside the Diner

A couple of weeks ago I misplaced my Iphone, which is a major calamity for me because I use it for my Internet Access over the 4G wireless system while at home. I don’t have a TV or Land Line phone, and costs for Cable or DSL generally are $50-100/mo and bundled with the phone and TV I don’t use. So it makes sense for me just to tack on another $20/mo or so to my Cell Phone bill and tether the Laptop to the Phone.

So after a day and a half without Internet at the cabin, I headed over to the ATT Store to buy a new model. My old Iphone is about 4 years old I think, I’ve been eligible for an upgrade for a while but used to be you had to sign a new contract for the cheap price, which I hate doing. The old phone was serviceable, though many things about it pissed me off.

Pissing me off most is how difficult Apple makes it to move around media files, you gotta use their Itunes software for this. A corollary of this is there is no Removable Media slot for additional memory on Iphones or Ipads. The memory built in to the device is what you got, period.

A couple of years ago I bought a 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tablet, which is what I mainly used on the Go. It does take microSD cards, and tethered to my phone also got Internet. So the only thing I really used the Iphone for was to take and make Phone calls, which I really don’t do that much of.

So, I was resolved NOT to buy another Apple product, but rather a Samsung Galaxy PHONE, like my tablet just phone sized. Everything would be compatible then, transfer the SD cards from one to the other, all the files are readable on both.

What I discovered cruising around the ATT Store looking at Phone Models is that Samsung produces a “Galaxy Mega” model, slightly smaller than my original Galaxy Tablet in dimensions but screen size nearly the same and much more readable than a typical Phone size device. It is small enough to fit in the breast pocket of my vest, which is small as it needs to be. So this is what I took home with me, and below follows a few Review posts I have made inside the Diner on this device, with some additional Add-Ons to make it even Perkier.


Early review of my newest Gadget.

It took me awhile to find where they put the microSD card slot, you have to pull off the back cover to find it. However, once found, I was able easily to drop in my HUGE library of E-books onto it.

Although its overall dimensions are quite a bit smaller than my original 1st Generation Galaxy Tablet, the Screen size is actually almost the same because it goes right to the edge rather than having a good 1/4″ border on the old one. It is also a good deal thinner and doesn’t bulk out your breast pocket when dropped in there, and fits in much easier too. The old model BARELY got in to very LARGE breast pockets, I actually bought one of my many Vests specifically because it had a large enough breast pocket for the old one.

Over on the Tech websites it has been dubbed a “Phablet”, confabulating Phone and Tablet into one word, which is appropriate. On a Communication and File Transfer Level with my laptop, WAY superior to the Apple shit, I can see the SD card and Copy/Paste over to it directly once plugged in. No “Itunes” software necessary for moving audio, vid or pic files. Plugged in, it is just like another Drive on my Laptop. In fact I don’t HAVE to plug it in, it is visible through Bluetooth also, but I plug it in to keep it charged while working on the laptop.

My main issue right now is with some Apps I added to my original Galaxy, Navigon Mapping software, PLAGUE game mainly there. Those were the only two apps I actually paid MONEY for, the rest I added were freebies so I can just add them again. I don’t wanna PAY again for Navigon and Plague, so I will go over to the ATT store to see if there is a way to get the Apps onto this unit without repaying for them.

The thing has a BAZILLION Bells and Whistles I will never learn on it. You can customize all sorts of controls, floating your fingers above the screen to do shit, just TOUCHING it to another device to communicate… yadda yadda.

I bought also another headset to use with it, a smaller more inconspicuous one, but while this one also works right with the Phone application, again the Mic does not seem to pick up when making videos. I haven’t found any switch to change the Mic from the one on the Galaxy to the one on the headset yet. I will go back to ATT store to talk to my salesman who was a real nice YOUNG guy like RIGHT out of college and real Clean Cut Geek. Maybe he knows where the switch is for this.

So far I would say it is a way better complement to your trusty Laptop than an Iphone. I am retiring my old Galaxy to the drawer now, and I DID turn up the Iphone at work today but it also is in Retirement. This new gadget replaces both well, and is a great Companion to the Laptop to have on you all the time. The Personal Hotspot feature also allows you to connect it to ANY computer and then connect to the Net through that, so there is not too much need really to carry about your laptop anymore since you can always find a computer somewhere these days.

Given its like $650 Retail Price without the ATT connection, the $24 “lease” fee per month is quite a bargain really, considering I can switch to the next better model in a year. The Screen Resolution on this one is not “state of the art” though it looks fine to me. However, I expect their next generation will have the super duper hi-res screens now being produced.

Right now, I give it :emthup: :emthup: :emthup: :emthup: out of 5.


Today’s installment on the Galaxy Mega is how my new Phablet has increased my ability to keep the Diner and SUN going even in the Bush.

Like smaller Cell Phones, Phablets have much lower power requirement than a Laptop does. So I actually can Power Up my new Phablet with a Hand Crank Emergency Flashlight like the one at right. I actually have this model, along with a few others.

My small 5 watt packable PV panels also easily charge it up.

I added today a Bluetooth Keyboard for it so I can keyboard at reasonable speed.

I can recharge the batteries for the keyboard also with the portable PV panel.

So, long as the local Cell Phone towers are up and running, I can keep managing the Napalm here on the Diner right up until Fukushima goes Supercritical!



The Folding Keyboard arrived via FedEx today, and after a bit of trouble I got it Paired with the Phablet and it now WORKS fabulously! Together, it is “Laptop in a Pocket” or “”Pocketop” or something like that. The one thing still missing is a Mouse to use instead of using the Active Screen for pointing. I am going to look for one of those.

I also got a smaller Bluetooth Headset/Mic combo that works with the Phablet, the kind with the little Earplugs instead of the big Cups over your ears. The Phablet is also Google+ Ready, and I signed on to Hangouts with it, and it seems to work, at least for Phone calls and I *think* with Hangouts also though not sure on the Mic end. When I record Videos, at least with the software built in the Mic on the Bluetooth Headset is not recognized. However, I added a couple of new Apps that supposedly will make it work, though so far have not succeeded with that.

So Sunday I will try doing a Cafe with the new Pocketop arrangement!

Far as Resilience goes, the real beauty is how little Electricity you need to keep Charged Up. The small 5W solar panel is enough, or a Handcrank Flashlight too! Long as the Cell Phone towers are functioning, I am good to go even after an Earthquake around here!

Now all I need is one of those “Networks in a Suitcase” that function over the HAM radio frequencies to set up the Diner off the Internet! Of course to access it you all would need Shortwave Radios and software to mate your Laptop to it in order to access this network, and if in Tasmania, Atmospheric Conditions would need to be right to bounce the signal there. This is probably not coming down the pipe too soon. LOL.

On my Personal Prepness scale though, this is fabulous because now I don’t even need to carry a Briefcase around to Admin the Diner on the Go. I can yank the Phablet and Keyboard out of my Breast Pocket in my Prep Hunting Vest (which has multiple Survival tools in all the other Pockets) and sign on anywhere I get Cell Phone coverage, which these days works well in most of the towns up here, though last time I drove to Fairbanks there were lots of Dead Spots along the route. Out in the Bush you are pretty much SOL unless you have either the HAM setup or a Satellite Phone. However, if I gotta make the Final Bugout to the Bush, Admining the Diner will be LOW on my list of Priorities. LOL.


From Eddie:

Quite impressive. I have this vision of you pulling out cool preps from your vest, sort of like Mary Poppins pulling lamps and shit out of her valise.

Remember the measuring tape she held up to the children?

“Extremely stubborn and suspicious.”

“Inclined to giggle. Doesn’t pick up his things.”

I have been a Fan of super tiny portable shit since I first saw “Our Man Flint” whip out his Lighter which did EVERYTHING! LOL.

My Vest is a CORNUCOPIA of great portable tools and preps!

One I have been meaning to write on is Paracord Bracelets and bundles.

Paracord (comes from Parachute) is REALLY strong very thin cordage only recently really available on the shelves at Walmart. I have 4 of these Bracelets which when unravelled are around 10 feet in length. You can’t unless you are REALLY good weaver put it back together after you unravel it though. Strong enough to support you full weight, or more likely use, string up between a couple of Trees to throw a Tarp over.

10 Feet is short though, so I ALSO have a few 50′ Bundles of Paracord, including 2 in Camoflage coloration. Why is that important? Well the other use besides Shelter for cordage like this is to make Animal Traps! So the cordage should blend in to the environment so the animal (person) you are trapping doesn’t pick it up visually.

I of course have a Swiss Army Knife, Wenger model theirs are still best. Couple of different Leatherman type tools, Lighter of course, various Diode Flashlights incorporated into other things, like Carabiners which are real handy for making quick Connections.

So yea, in my own Imagination when TSHTF and I gotta make the Final Bugout, I will whip these tools out of the vest and SURVIVE! LOL. Better than being stuck with NOTHING anyhow.

I haven’t found a Pocket size Shelter arrangement yet though, the best I can do on this is a foil emergency blanket which would not make a very big Shelter, but with the Paracord it probably makes a good Roof, then stack up dirt, rocks, tree limbs etc around it. The Mylar these suckers are made of is very tough stuff and quite useful in other ways too besides Shelter building.

In this sense, I am probably better prepped than almost anyone else, because I wear my Doom Vest ALL THE TIME. I ALWAYS have all these things with me. They are my FINAL POSSESSIONS. They give me COMFORT. LOL.



Up there in the middle of the review, I mentioned using the Shortwave Radio system together with these type of devices as a means to keep communication going when the Internet craps out, either because its been hacked or energy is not there to run all the routers or Da Goobermint shuts it down for “National Security”.

This isn’t just a Fantasy of mine, other Preppers have been discussing the same thing.

From the Zeta Talk website:

The entire concept of “replacing” the Internet with some sort of radio “short wave” seems like a sort of schizophrenic, distorted thinking. After all, first there was the land-line telegraph, then the land-line telephone, then Radio where one could communicate using the electromagnetic spectrum, and finally the current state-of-the-art culminates in the Internet, which uses telephone lines, microwave radio, and satellites all interconnected with special electronics and computers. It provides electronic mail, audio and video, a world-wide virtual library, and delivers it at high speed and low cost to homes across the globe. So, why would anyone even consider something as silly as a slow and expensive “Short Wave Internet Replacement?”

The short and direct answer is “Global Cataclysm.” The Internet depends totally on the smooth functioning of a vast network infrastructure, stretching world wide, that is composed of thousands of highly technical parts, including people with specialized skills and training. Any global event that destroyed a major part or even all of this infrastructure would result in the Internet ceasing to exist.

The tt-radio Team believes that just such a global cataclysm will occur within the next few years. This Radio Team is part of a group called Troubled Times, which is working on the development of ways to survive this event. Troubled Times, Inc., a non-profit corporation, is dedicated to alerting the global population of this event and teaching individuals how to survive.

One of the many things of great importance to “survival communities” is the ability not only to communicate with other such communities, but to be able to share specialized information. The ultimate goal to realize these needs is to implement a limited form of the Internet, including email and web pages.

Zeta provides a Lesson on doing this interested preppers might want to review on their website.

The biggest downside of this idea is everybody who wanted to be on this network would have to have a full blown HAM radio setup, tower and all and this stuff is not cheap. However, for a decent size community, you could have one setup used by everyone on a local network.

A more workable Solution which does NOT require everyone to have a HAM Radio setup is Peer-to-Peer Networking between Cell Phones in a given area. Software for this is also being developed:

Computerworld – In the wake of the recent earthquake and during Hurricane Irene, many cell phone users on the East Coast experienced clogged networks that made wireless calling difficult.

Wireless carriers urged users to rely on texting or email to communicate if voice calls didn’t work. Home phones using wired networks were also affected by Irene, although many homeowners are removing their wired phones to save money. More than 25% of all homes in the U.S. no longer have a wired home phone, according to the FCC.

Some question whether relying on texts or email during a storm is enough, and they wonder whether new emerging technologies might help. Satellite phones are one option, but they are relatively expensive. Another option is the old-fashioned two-way radio that runs on amateur-radio and public-safety bands.

In the future, one Georgia Tech professor envisions greater reliance on device-to-device communications using typical consumer phones after a disaster. Computer science professor Santosh Vempala has developed LifeNet, which uses free open-source software to allow consumer devices such as laptops, Android phones and battery-powered routers to form ad hoc Wi-Fi, peer-to-peer networks without relying on cellular towers or base stations.

The software is available for download, but Vempala said in an interview that it’s still a working prototype. It was demonstrated recently at the SigComm conference in Toronto. The demonstrations provoked interest among representatives of public safety groups that want to have more technologies to choose from when a disaster occurs, he said.

In theory, even though the Range of an individual Smart Phone Wi-Fi is limited, if all the users in a given area are using the software, a signal can “leapfrog” from one phone to the next until it reaches its intended recipient. The beauty of this is there is no Central Control, no Cell towers necessary, each of the individual phones provides the networking capability and the reception/transmission ability over its range.

For obvious reasons, the current carriers are not fans of such technology, if everybody was using it, you wouldn’t need ATT! At least not locally for sure.

While long term these devices will fail and you are unlikely to be able to replace them, I have found a pretty good working lifespan for them in the 4-5 year range, and generally the main issu then is the battery life holding a charge. Long as you have some source of electricity you can plug into, even a device with a dead battery will work. So I think that post SHTF, you probably can still get a decade or so of use out of these things, which are invaluable for Information Distribution.

After that, it’s probably back to Smoke Signals.



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