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Re: [local-calling-guide] My first Internet Access in 2 weeks

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  • Raymond Burke
    Mark; Just wanted to say that I m glad you are OK. We have been nervously waiting a reply from you, and it is good to know that you are fine. But we did
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 13, 2005
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      Just wanted to say that I'm glad you are OK. We have
      been nervously waiting a reply from you, and it is
      good to know that you are fine.

      But we did figure that you did not have internet
      access anyway.

      You're right that Metro Atlanta is huge. This was
      once the largest toll free calling area in the world,
      and may still be, depending on what is the case in
      other places. In the 60's and 70's, this term
      applied. Then in the 1990's, they made it even

      Did you notice there are even two exchanges in Alabama
      that are part of the Metro dialling area? Actually,
      these are "virtual exchanges" that are served from
      central offices in Georgia. Fruithurst, AL is served
      from the Tallapoosa, GA c/o, and the Ranburne, AL
      exchange is served out of Bowdon, GA.

      Back in the 70's and early 80's, Metro Atlanta was
      literally a "playground" for playing with the
      telephones. There was step by step (#1 and 355-A),
      crossbar, ESS, and later digital. Of course, today it
      is about like everywhere else (just about all
      digital). But there are still the old c/o buildings
      that are still being used, and the 51 Ivy building
      downtown, with the
      A T & T microwave tower.

      You should not have a problem at all with your
      Cingular phone in Atlanta - you are on the first Bell
      South Mobility network that was built! I forget what
      the system ID number is, but it is very low.

      Take care, and keep us up to date - our prayers are
      with you!

      Raymond Burke

      --- "Mark J. Cuccia" <markjcuccia@...> wrote:

      > Thanks to all for your concern.
      > Today (this evening), Monday 12 September 2005 is my
      > first actual attempt
      > at Internet access in 2 weeks.
      > If I don't personally reply to everyone who emailed
      > me directly, forgive
      > me,
      > since I have 150+ msgs in my inbox that I am working
      > my way thru.
      > I was "high and dry" throughout the entire storm (on
      > Monday 29 August) and
      > the aftermath. I also had MORE than enuff
      > food/water/liquid, either what
      > was
      > stocked up, or what was delivered by police and
      > other good samaratans.
      > I suffered no water nor wind damage to my apartment,
      > not even a broken
      > window, altough some apartments had broken windows
      > and some other misc.
      > damage. But debris is all over the place -- broken
      > branches, leaves,
      > shingles from the roof, etc. A pine tree did go into
      > the roof of the apt
      > building, but across the courtyard from me. The
      > building is a 2-story apt
      > complex.
      > I did lose utility service....
      > Electric power went out almost immediately, which is
      > just about always the
      > case with any kind of tropical storm or hurricane or
      > just heavy rains.
      > But as the brunt of the storm was finishing up, I
      > noticed that I couldn't
      > get a dialtone. This too isn't all uncommon -- I
      > simply thought that there
      > was just heavy traffic thru the central office. I
      > did have "battery" and
      > "sidetone" at the time... i.e., I could "hear"
      > myself talking into the
      > telephone thru the handset, but I simply couldn't
      > get a dialtone.
      > But I also couldn't get a signal on my Cingular
      > telephone.
      > Cable TV obviously went out, but I don't know when
      > that happened, since
      > when electricity went out, that meant the end of TV
      > viewing. I simply
      > listened to WWL-870 (50Kw) on a battery powered
      > pocket radio the whole
      > time. (not 24/7, but when I felt like listening -- I
      > wanted to save the
      > batteries as much as possible).
      > I had a close to full charge on my cellphone
      > battery, but I kept the
      > cellphone turned off to save that battery for when I
      > would eventually get
      > a cellphone tower signal.
      > The entire week and a half after the storm -- I had
      > MORE than enuff food
      > and
      > water... Several of us at the apt complex who stayed
      > had stocked up on
      > supplies, but the police also told us that it was
      > okay to get NECESSARY
      > supplies from stores that had been -- "opened up".
      > And the police and other
      > good samaratan type neighbors were passing by and
      > dropping off cases of
      > water, juice, food (including military MREs, Meals
      > Ready to Eat), etc.
      > Running water stopped on the Wednesday after the
      > storm, but we could get
      > "flush water" from using a bucket to scoop water
      > that was standing water in
      > the middle of the streets just outside of the apt
      > buildings.
      > The main highway that runs alongside the apts was
      > why we didn't flood.
      > But the streets behind the building did have some
      > standing water.
      > And the subdivisions behind the building did flood
      > in varying degrees.
      > So, from Monday 29 August until Wednesday 7
      > September, that's mostly how
      > things were -- just day to day living. It was mostly
      > sunny, with some
      > occasional rain. But either hot and humid, or later
      > on hot but DRY.
      > On Wednesday 7 September in the early morning hours,
      > I began to notice a
      > slight signal on my Cingular phone. It turns out
      > that the cell phone
      > carriers were putting up backup temporary cell
      > sites.
      > When I realized that I had a signal strong enuff to
      > place a call, I first
      > started calling relatives to let them know I was
      > okay... and also some of
      > you who I am always in telephone/email contact with.
      > I also realized that
      > by Wed-7-Sept, there was a good "window of
      > opportunity" to finally leave.
      > I was NOT going to leave from there earlier with all
      > of the other problems
      > associated with New Orleans and Katrina.
      > I had already packed up to bags or boxes of things
      > to take with me if I was
      > going to flee. But that is only scratching the
      > surface of what I still have
      > left behind.
      > I took those things and went 1/2 mile down the
      > highway to another major
      > intersection where I was told the National Guard
      > would be picking up people
      > who wanted to be evacuated.
      > I was taken in the back of an open miliary truck
      > through New Orleans to the
      > Convention Center where there was processing outside
      > of that building.
      > I saw firsthand how much of New Orleans metro looked
      > either "bombed out" or
      > flooded out. I did have a chance to see some of this
      > earlier on a battery
      > powered BW TV set that the lady who manages the
      > apartments was watching.
      > But she had to leave the apartments rather early
      > after the storm to get
      > some
      > more heart medication. But the TV coverage was
      > nothing compared to seeing
      > it up front. The National Guard truck was trying to
      > rescue as many people
      > as possible to fit into the back of the truck to
      > evacuate.
      > The MPs outside of the convention center went thru
      > all of our belonging to
      > make sure that there was no contraband. We thought
      > we might be on military
      > busses or military helicpoters. Instead we were
      > taken on charter "tour"
      > busses from the convention center over to the
      > Airport. There were two
      > options available to us on Wednesday afternoon -- a
      > bus to Baton Rouge LA
      > or a plane flight out to "where ever". I first
      > wanted to go to BR LA to get
      > closer to relatives in Lafayette or Baton Rouge.
      > I was using my cellular phone the entire time,
      > noticing how the battery was
      > beginning to run down.
      > At the airport (located in the Kenner-Briarwood
      > DMS-100 central office,
      > 504-46x), I was able to get dialtone on the "super
      > payphones" installed
      > there (coin slot, LCD readout, card-swipe,
      > touch-a-carrier-buttons, etc).
      > The "super payphones" were of course, "COCOT" type
      > phones, not Central
      > Office Switch controlled... but they were "GTE-AE"
      > type housings that were
      > fitted with these other appliques. By GTE-AE type, I
      > mean that the coin
      > slot and coin-return slot were on the
      > right-hand-side, and the cord for
      > the handset was on the left hand side of the phone
      > itself, not the
      > left-hand-side of the front-of-the-phone. I used the
      > 800 type dial-ups for
      > AT&T, and for my MCI-prepaid, to make card type
      > calls.
      > Later on that afternoon, we were told that there
      > would be no more busses to
      > Baton Rouge LA (it turns out that the Red Cross
      > couldn't process any more
      > evacuees in Baton Rouge), and that the only option
      > on Wednesday evening was
      === message truncated ===

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