Saturday, September 11, 2010

Smartphones

I finally took a flying leap into the 21st century and picked up a smartphone. This thing does everything. It's a cell phone! No it's a GPS! No it's a kindle! No it's a mini laptop! If it's electronic this thing can do it or keep tabs on it. I'm liking it a lot. So what does it have to do with survival?

Smart phones have a generous amount of storage space and they come with a slot for mini sd cards. Get one of those SD card adapters and you can plug them into just about any modern computer or laptop. I can also just plug mine directly into my computer and use it as a flash drive. Load your phone up with all of the survival .pdfs and maps that you've got on hand and you don't even need cell phone reception to have useful information handy. Having hard copies of important manuals, maps and papers is a great idea but that can get prohibitively expensive, they take up a lot of space and they're extremely bulky and heavy to take with you.

There's an app for that. These things can do everything from scanning barcodes to make sure that you're getting the best deal on a product to giving you the lowdown on a business just by taking a picture of it. Hit a button and it will tell you about all of the local businesses in the area. Hit another button and you've got a homebrewing calculator that will tell you exactly what you need to make the kind of beer you want. They make accessing anything on the internet extremely simple and easy no matter where you're at. I thought that my netbook was convenient until I got this smart phone. It still doesn't quite replace a real computer but it's close. There are a lot of things that a smart phone can do that a computer can't but there's just no replacing a large screen and a full size keyboard for some applications.

Anyone will tell you that it's a good idea to have a phone with you when you go out to the woods. Take one of these with you and not only do you have a phone but you also have maps, gps, compass and any other information that you had the foresight to load onto it before you left. The less you have to carry the better. Whether you're bugging out cross country or just going for an afternoon hike all of the information that you need to get you to where you need to go is wrapped up in this little package.

There are some cons. The screen is small and can be hard to read. The virtual keyboards are getting better but they can be a pain, too. The battery life is also very short. You can buy extended batteries (as long as you don't have an Iphone) but you're still only looking at a day or so of battery life. You can also get a solar charger. There are some good, compact ones out there. Obviously, if the big disaster ends up being an EMP then you're likely to be stuck with a paper weight. If anything else goes down, though, it will be very helpful as long as you've already got the information you need saved on it. There are a lot more disasters that could disrupt cell phone service and the internet so have the information you think you'll need on your phone beforehand.

Perhaps my biggest issue with smartphones is that they record and track your personal information, usage and habits. When I start hearing about people getting rounded up for political views, race or religion then it's going in the trash. For right now, though, I'm not that paranoid about what they're doing with my information. There are apps that will allow you to remotely delete all personal information in the event that you lose your phone or it's stolen. The privacy issue really is my biggest concern but what can you do about that? If you do anything on the internet you're being tracked. If the government really wants to come after you they can already tap into your cell phone and listen to you even if you turn your phone off. There are complicated ways to get around this (or you can just stop using a cell phone or the internet) but for most of us they can find out what websites you visit, your buying habits who your friends are and even where you live without much trouble. If SHTF I'd rather have this extremely useful, compact, powerful tool with me. Until then it's quickly becoming my favorite item for day to day use.

5 comments:

fallout_shelter_six said...

i really have been lured into purchasing the multitalented phones/smartphones since they do everything as you mentioned. one thing im sure they can also do is keep track of their owners for those who desire that (usually agencies with three letter acronyms)track us with GPS and even listen in on our lives,and 10 years ago it cost an arm and a leg and not every person owned one now they give them away!,hmmm

liam gibson

The Urban Survivalist said...

Like I said in the post...that is certainly a concern of mine. A) I'm prepared to drop everything and build a basic cabin in the woods to get by in and B) I can't imagine that anything I do (besides writing a blog about preparing in case the United States Government implodes and we have to fend for ourselves) would show up on anyone's radar. Officially, it's just private companies who are tracking everything. Do I really believe that? No. Do I worry about the dirt that the government can dig up on me? No. I'm just a regular dude who doesn't put much faith in them. There are a lot of guys like me out there these days.

Anonymous said...

My wife has an iphone and it seems to have lots of capability but of course at an added cost. The ONLY thing I want my phone to do is to make calls in case of emergency. I leave it off unless I am actually using it. My friends and relatives have finally figured out not to call me because I sometime don't turn it on for days or weeks. I hate it when my phone rings and usually just shut it off if it rings. I didn't buy it to be it's slave. The good news is I have discovered I rarely need to charge it. My wife charges her phone every night and I charge mine every other month or so. She is a slave to her phone and it is a tool for me.

KevinH said...

If you really have a need, there are battery backups for the iPhone. Mine is a protective case that will deliver a full charge to the phone when needed. Very handy for someone like me who uses the phone for entertaiment everyday.

The Dark Order of the New Revolution said...

I have a Droid X and I have that bugger loaded up with all sorts of docs and information. I only use the GPS on the phone as I have to (which is rarely because all my vehicles have their own GPS units). I find if I don't use the phone for entertainment purposes, I can get 2 days out of a charge. Further stripped down, almost 3 days.

For those worried about tracked cell phones (and internet) and big brother listening in, there are ways around that. If you are doing something illegal, then you have to worry about that stuff. If you are simply someone who doesn't buy into everything the media and government is telling you - well, you are ok. Our Constitution gave us that freedom.