Tech Talk Tuesday: iPhone users get new government update

Updated: Tuesday, August 13 2013, 11:32 AM MDT
Tech Talk Tuesday: iPhone users get new government update story image

By Lonnie Valencia

Today’s Tech Talk Tuesday is about a secret society of iPhone users that are wielding great power.  How the government is responsible for creating these technological advanced people and most of all, why the President can say, “What’s up!” to them whenever he wants.

Living on the borderland we deal with some unique situations.  As far as technology is concerned, people in the Southwest, not counting Ft. Bliss or Government agency, are never first to try out something new.  In fact, most of the time we are last on the list to get any type of upgraded service or new device.  These technological advancements are first tested on either the east or west coast then pushed out to the rest of us.  For the most part, I think we as a community, have come to except nothing less.  So, you have to forgive me when I found out that there are people in our community that are part of this secret society..  Who are they? What are they doing? What great power do they have?

I’ll tell you!  How do I know? I found out that I’m one of them!

In truth, it hit me and my wife late one night as our iPhones made a noise that we had never heard before and the screen lit up with a message.  What it said was, “With great power, comes great responsibility!”  Ha!  Ok it never said that, but that would have been cool right?  It really said “Severe weather alert for your area....”  Sticking with the Spiderman theme, it was like we had “spidey senses,” because right after that message, no joke, thunder struck and rain started to fall.  I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.  The novelty wore off the very next day, though,  as we got two alerts back to back late at night.  One for severe weather and the other for an Amber alert.  My wife immediately turned off the alerts in her settings.  As annoyed as I was, I couldn’t bring myself to do the same.  I felt as if I was missing something if I did.  What if the alerts came at a time that I could do something about it or avoid the area of severe weather.  That is information I would want to know.  Living in El Paso, I don’t see a lot of these types of messages coming our way, but in areas like Oklahoma where all you might have on you is your phone and a tornado is coming, they could be a life saver.

It used to be alerts like these only came to us if we were watching live television or listening to the radio.  You know the ones from the emergency broadcast system.  I think I've heard more tests than actual live emergencies.  These days, with more and more people watching DVRs, Netflix, listening to iPods, and Pandora, there needed to be a better way to get people's attention.  What better way than through the one device we have with us all the time... our cell phones.  It makes a lot of sense.

These alerts were part of a federal law that was passed in 2012.  AT&T is first to roll it out to iPhone 5 and 4s customers.  There are three types of alerts: AMBER, Emergency, and Presidential.  As far as what all falls under the emergency or the Presidential alerts I don’t have a clue, but I can say President Obama isn’t going to buzz you just to say, “Hi.”  The AMBER and Emergency alerts are removable, but the Presidential alert is not optional.  Verizon, T Mobile, and other carriers are coming online soon.  New phones are being added as we speak.

Let me know what you think about the new alerts.  Do you like them? Are they helpful?  Should the government even be on your cell phone? Also, let me know if you have a phone other then iPhone and have gotten any alerts.

That does it for this episode of Tech Talk Tuesday.  As always we would love your feedback/suggestions for this or our next edition, so feel free to send your comments to our resident Tech Guy Lonnie Valencia..

Tech Talk Tuesday: iPhone users get new government update
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