U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > North Carolina > Charlotte
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 06-05-2013, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Matthews, NC
14,693 posts, read 23,071,063 times
Reputation: 14332

Advertisements

We might get a repeat of this weekend's rain. Hope the power doesn't go out again.

Weather Guy: Tropical system could bring flood threat
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-05-2013, 05:34 PM
 
34 posts, read 51,428 times
Reputation: 49
Hopefully I don't get water in my basement again. :-(
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-05-2013, 07:17 PM
 
5,150 posts, read 6,638,593 times
Reputation: 1438
Note: This is wordy but I also cover Wireless Emergency Alerts which may be news to some.

I wanted to give some tips on prepay cell phones and bad weather. It is always good to charge your phone before the possibility of an outage of home phone. I've thought about this more since getting U-Verse last week because the phone isn't powered by the telco. Instead, there is a battery backup that is suppose to last about 9 hours. This also means as the battery ages you have to replace it before it gives up the ghost.

I used to spend more than $1400 per month on phone service at my house and even though that was a pure copper setup I was stung by the phoneco not maintaining their own batteries in the neighborhood cabinet. So you basically can't trust anything except yourself and there is no such thing as magic dial tone just because you have a landline. The idiots at the utils will blame YOU for using a cordless phone when there is no power even if you aren't and come up with all sorts of ways it isn't their fault. But as we use more and more feature phones many of us rely on AC for the phones which is why you should keep a cheap $10 plain handset around for emergencies too.

On to the main topic. During my quest on switching my business number to Google Voice and then going residential at home, I had to bridge it with a cell phone and prepay was the easy way. In fact I was able to port twice in two days.

I decided that keeping a pre-pay phone is a good idea for backup but which was the best way to go?

What I decided on, is for an emergency use only (well not only because all cell phones can do 911 even unactivated) that T-Mobile was the best way to go. This is because they have a $2 per day plan that includes all the minutes and text you want. They only charge on days you use it. This even includes web access but not really high speed broadband. But you can even have that on the $3 per day plan. So if you had a smartphone you could use GPS with data applications.

AT&T also has a $2 per day plan through their GoPhone division. The difference is that GoPhone doesn't include any data AND the big one for me is the funds you add to GoPhone are only good for 30 days while T-Mobile is good for 90 days. This means you can put $10 PER QUARTER on the account and I'm pretty sure as long as you keep going without a lapse the funds will build. That means $40 per year for a backup cell phone.

For my experiment I went with the cheapest feature phones I could find. One has Wireless Emergency Alerts which startled me this weekend when a flood warning was issued. The phone squawked like it was an actual NOAA weather radio where my smartphone just beeps. (More info on the service here: Wireless Emergency Alerts : Weather warnings on the go).

So even though I'm not going to keep my GoPhone funded, it was only ~$20 and the alert system worked without funds on the phone. I went with Alcatel 871A GoPhone - Prepaid cell phone from AT&T which has WEA and even an FM radio but I have no idea how good that is because you need headphones. Talk time 4.4 and standby 427. And what I really like about it is it uses the same micro USB for charging that my smartphone, Kindle, and others use so I don't need a new car charger. Check the usual discount places for possibly better price. WalMart tends to be higher online for some reason at least it was for the T-Mobile phone I used.

The T-Mobile phone I bought was Samsung t139 | No Annual Contract | Reviews, Accessories | T-Mobile which was only $20 at Walmart or Best Buy as of last week. The T-Mobile price as they say, is not good. This is even more basic because I was looking for cheap for porting. It does not have a USB port for charging which stinks if you need to have it in the car so I'm going to look at higher end models for my next foray. There simply isn't a comparison between the phones and it does not have the alert feature.

OK that's what I did and here's what I might do. First, I'm going to keep the Alcatel charged for Wireless Emergency Alerts but not fund it. I am considering this phone: T-Mobile Aspect - No Annual Contract | Prepaid Phone Details | T-Mobile but not from that website. QVC has the same phone with case and car charger (which I don't need) for $50. That phone like the Alcatel is 3G and can handle setting up your e-mail to work on it if needed. I don't know if it has Wireless Emergency Alerts but I'm going to try to find out. It takes it up a notch with a micro SD slot. There's a GoPhone version here: AT&T Z431 GoPhone - Prepaid and I imagine you could move them back and forth if they were unlocked for about $15.

Another thing to keep in mind is what network you are relying on for your main service. Mine is Verizon. Having one of the above services on top just gives redundancy in case something happens to one of the services but not the other. If you already have AT&T or a service that runs on their towers you won't have this added benefit but it's still worth looking at.

Verizon also has daily plans but they do not have the variety of phones, are more expensive and require a $35 activation fee. They also charge per message for texts though cheap at 2c each. Still that activation fee makes me wonder who would want them or if they are serious about the market.

The other prepay carriers do not offer daily plans. If I left someone off please let me know.

Prepaid Cell Phone Plans, No Annual Contract | Monthly 4G | T-Mobile
https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/pl...paidplans.html

Wireless Emergency Alerts & Smart Phones

Finally, if you have a smartphone, especially an Android of newer vintage, you may have Wireless Emergency Alerts though not as obnoxious as the Alcatel. Though I'm sure there's an app for that.

Now is a good time to see what you have if you didn't know you had it and turn it on if it's off.

On my Jellybean phone I hit Apps and then Emergency Alerts. It's that simple.

More on WEA:

Wireless Emergency Alerts | FEMA.gov
Wireless Emergency Alerts FAQs | Verizon Wireless
Wireless Emergency Alerts - AT&T Point of Sale Notification
Sprint Community: Space: Wireless Emergency Alerts - CMAS
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2013, 05:40 AM
 
Location: Matthews, NC
14,693 posts, read 23,071,063 times
Reputation: 14332
Quote:
Originally Posted by MatildaLjungberg View Post
Hopefully I don't get water in my basement again. :-(
I got some in mine on Sunday after that deluge. I don't get puddles but some water seeps in through the wall in the corner and a little under the door. Simple fixes, I just haven't gotten them done yet.

I like the information about the weather alerts. I've been keeping my phone charged lately since we lost power on Sunday for several hours (and last night) and it really comes in handy.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2013, 06:58 AM
 
2,717 posts, read 1,752,876 times
Reputation: 3313
Goal Zero has some pretty good solar products for emergencies. They do road shows at Costco every now and then and sell the products for a lot less than you pay on their website.

They will be at the Matthews Costco Jul 26-Aug 4. Here is the link:

Store Finder - Find Portable Solar Battery Chargers Near You |Goal Zero

The schedule is on the left side. We bought a couple of flashlights that have solar panels and a crank on them and just leave them by the window so they're always charged. We also bought a small solar generator, just big enough to charge cell phones and iPods. The Costco deal is that they come with a light they sell that hooks up to the generator and is actually quite bright. You can also daisy chain a few of them. The generator was $250 with the light and it comes with two solar panels to charge it or you can plug it in and charge it.

I found that the solar panel took a couple of days to charge, longer than I expected, but once charged, it works great.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2013, 12:11 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
21,856 posts, read 27,128,289 times
Reputation: 8928
Quote:
Originally Posted by bs13690 View Post
I got some in mine on Sunday after that deluge. I don't get puddles but some water seeps in through the wall in the corner and a little under the door. Simple fixes, I just haven't gotten them done yet.

I like the information about the weather alerts. I've been keeping my phone charged lately since we lost power on Sunday for several hours (and last night) and it really comes in handy.
Kings Mountain has started an alert system & will call, text, or email residents with weather alerts. Maybe other towns will start the same thing.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2013, 01:26 PM
 
1,056 posts, read 1,745,903 times
Reputation: 999
My sister just called me from Naples, FL where she is trapped in her car in a parking lot from the floodwaters (3pm June 6). It is coming down in buckets there. She said she is fine and could get out and swim if necessary. The scary part for us, is that all this rain has yet to hit the Charlotte area. It's on it's way........be careful everyone!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2013, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Matthews, NC
14,693 posts, read 23,071,063 times
Reputation: 14332
I don't think the really heavy stuff is gonna come down for quite some time now.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:



Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > North Carolina > Charlotte
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:46 PM.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top