Takeaway from the EAS

The Department of Fear’s (no, not that one) Emergency Alert System test today confirmed a few things:

– no matter how much planning goes into it, government employees will do the absolute least amount of work possible. What do I mean? Easy: that audio recording was crap. Couldn’t they at least put together something that people could clearly understand that didn’t have the digital signal overlay along with ambient background noise, and the terrible echo of the audio itself? Was that intentional?

– what’s the benefit of having a nationwide alert of anything? No, really — when was the last time there was a nationwide disaster where the whole populace had to be notified instantaneously that there was something horrendously bad happening? Do people not understand the scope of emergencies? Usually they’re isolated, regional issues. Hurricanes, tornado warnings, “we just had an earthquake” — that kind of thing. The whole country doesn’t need to know. Sure, I could envision a couple of scenarios where that would be helpful, but the odds of those (asteroid strike, a very laughable global EMP strike, a literal zombie apocalypse or very rapid disease outbreak, destruction of the nation’s framework as we know it) are astoundingly remote. Okay, that last one gives me pause.

– why even bother? I mean, none of this stuff is really automated anyway; any station can choose to simply not retransmit it. If you really wanted to get the attention of the populace, do a series of blast SMS messages to every single mobile phone. That, though, wouldn’t work very well either because you 1) don’t know what language to put it in so the recipient actually understands the message, 2) the people who don’t have a clue how to read an SMS message on their phones are probably the ones who would benefit most from the message itself, 3) it’ll piss people off.

Humor me: What, exactly, is the purpose of this? How might one of our all-knowing government drones envision using such a thing?

We’re waiting.

Feel free to challenge the EMP remark in the comments.

Last Chance! Buy Now!

I think the marketing department for dead-tree magazines needs to go back and think carefully about their sales model.

I used to have a subscription to a certain magazine that focused on Pacific Coast/Mountain lifestyle and modern architecture. I didn’t renew. So they poured on the marketing to try getting me to resubscribe. I keep getting these stupid-assed “Last chance to renew!” “You’ll never get another!” letters, postcards, and emails.
Really? Last chance? Never get another? I don’t think those phrases mean what you think those phrases mean.
What’s to stop me from picking up another copy from a newsstand, taking out one of the four hundred little post-paid subscription cards, and filling it out to get another 24 months for ten bucks?
Oh, right: my loss of interest in your magazine.