As already noted, I'm a big proponent of the SMS text message. So much so that I was willing to pay $.50 a text sent from Australia! But on a more serious note, there was a 5.6 earthquake here in the Bay Area on Tuesday night. I was at dinner and I thought my dinner date was shaking the table or that there was a washing machine somewhere that went awry. But no, it was a bona fide earthquake. While there was no damage and it was minor, we both got text messages from our friends as soon as it happened:
"Did you feel that?"
And so on. I found out the next day that a lot of people had tried to call me that night, but they said my phone was off. My phone is never off. So I thought it odd. Usually the iPhone will pick up a call right away, when you're browsing, texting, and call-waiting is particularly good - a call will usually get through. No, it was only with this article that it occurred to me that the Bay Area cellphone networks were all jammed up.
The distressing thing is that there are news reports that landlines were also jammed despite being touted as being more robust in times of emergency. I seem to recall that because SMS texts are very small chunks or packets of data, they are easier to push across cell networks than calls are. This is a good thing when a lot of people are attempting to communicate, especially true for concerts, street parties, and, well, earthquakes. But, when I saw my friend try to text on his Sony cell phone last night it took him too long. Big contrast to the SMS features on the iPhone. His word find and unintelligent UI was distressing to see. What would he do in a bind?