Sunday, January 27, 2008

What happens in Utah when the president of the Church dies

President Hinkley died at 7:00. We were finishing the first round of a game of Mag Blast at the cousin dinner Rachel was hosting when one of Laura's friends texted her with the news. That killed the game of Mag Blast, and pretty much the whole phone system in Utah. It's 8:40 now and Rachel still can't get through to call her sister.

Our younger, hipper guests were all texting instead. Texting uses several orders of magnitude less bandwidth than voice so that was going through fine. Some people experienced this after 9/11, too; if you're ever in an infrastructure crisis and need something to get through, send a text even if you're an old fart.

(This is why US companies have a real racket going charging extra for texting privileges. In fact, I've heard that in the Philippines texting was free until the government started taxing it. The cost to the carrier of texts is so small that this is actually plausible, and it does appear to have at least some basis in fact; I found an article online referring to free texting in the 90s, but I can't find anything authoritative about what changed.)

No comments: