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Failures Mark First National Test of Emergency Alert System

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the did-not-interrupt-youtube-either dept.

Communications 451

An anonymous reader writes "The first full-scale test of the National Emergency Alert System failed on Tuesday at 2 PM. Some radio and television networks did not air any alert, while the performance of others was inconsistent. 'Some DirectTV customers reported hearing Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" play during the test. Some Comcast subscribers saw their cable boxes turn to QVC before the alert, while Time Warner Cable customers in New York did not see any alert at all.'" If you were tuned to any American broadcaster at the time, did the alert system reach you?

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451 comments

Government failure? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015236)

Those words never go together. I am shocked.

Re:Government failure? (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015370)

Each failure is an opportunity to learn and improve.

The real failure would be to not identify failures and not improve - then we'd have to be blasted about it by the sensationalist media, trumpeting how inept government is.

Re:Government failure? (0, Troll)

rwven (663186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015424)

This is intended to be satirical and sarcastic, right?

Damn straight! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015586)

We should leave emergency notifications to the free markets! You want to know about disasters and what to do? Well, just subscribe to a disaster notification service. I'm AT&T or your cable companies will provide that service as part of a package of some sort. And we all know what superior service cable companies have over pathetic government!

Re:Government failure? (5, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015710)

Those words never go together. I am shocked.

Yeah... except it was the private broadcast companies that failed to properly show the alert not the goverment.

Um... That is why it is called a "TEST" (5, Insightful)

cwgmpls (853876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015248)

Tests are supposed to fine failures. That's what they are for.

Re:Um... That is why it is called a "TEST" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015302)

yes and no....It is so posed to work but does not (Which is good because it is a test). What if something bad happened and it could not reach you or me?

Re:Um... That is why it is called a "TEST" (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015630)

you'd have heard it on tweets and on cnn. seriously. "omg nukes incoming!!"

Re:Um... That is why it is called a "TEST" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015744)

Under what circumstance would everyone in the nation need to be informed instantly? To warn you the nuclear weapon that's been pointed in your general direction since birth actually launched? That the hurricane we've been watching for over a week is finally going to make landfall? That the [insert party not running the warning button] is holding up some piece of legislation? That someone flew planes into buildings in downtown Manhattan?

Pretty sure we can live without the national wide warning system for another decade or 100. News of 9/11 spread very rapidly just from word of mouth, flaky internet access and even before everyone older than age 1 had a cellphone. Not to mention the local emergency responders reacted without it as well as the local citizens who were away from ground zero didn't have a panic trample everything in their path reaction.

Re:Um... That is why it is called a "TEST" (2)

MichaelKristopeit353 (1968162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015450)

the test was successful... in showing the failures.

i use charter digital cable on a tivo HDXL with a cablecard... i got the alert right on time while i was watching other recorded content. it didn't last a full 30 seconds... i was on a work conference call at the time and everyone else said they got the alert too... one on radio and the other on broadcast tv.

Re:Um... That is why it is called a "TEST" (5, Funny)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015456)

Because there's a fiscal penalty for failure when it's found!

All I saw during the test was... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015276)

goatse.cx

Spotty (5, Informative)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015278)

I was in the car listening to NPR for this. The NPR (WGBH) station did a nice little lead in story and switched smoothly to the test. As soon as it did I started jamming presets and none of the other station I had programmed got the test. Local Alt Rock station, local R&B station, and the other NPR station all failed to broadcast the test as far as I can tell.

Re:Spotty (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015388)

No, the government is just being selective about who they save in the event of a catastrophe. Apparently, they believe that we will need NPR listeners in the post-apocalyptic world. Alt Rock and R&B listeners, they think they can do without.

Re:Spotty (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015654)

Okay, then. That sounds entirely reasonable.

Re:Spotty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015732)

Most of those in the House must still be waiting for that memo...

Re:Spotty (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015774)

Why yes, what would we do in a world without whiners. And Bluegrass players.

Re:Spotty (3, Interesting)

jmcharry (608079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015672)

The alert is sent to a primary station in each area and daisy chained to others. WHQR is, I think, third in a chain. The alert hit there at 2:00:39. It got the start and stop "duck farts", but not the message itself. The scuttlebutt is that FEMA messed up the head end audio.

Comcast (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015284)

I'm a long time Comcast subscriber and my box has always turned to QVC or HSN for a few seconds around the EBN alerts but we still get the alerts themselves. So it's not as much a failure as a bit of goofiness before and after the alert.

Re:Comcast (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015338)

Emergencies are hard, let's go shopping!

Cox Communications (5, Informative)

ClayJar (126217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015658)

I was watching the test on a friend's Cox Communications cable service, and they also switch to a shopping channel (cable channel 8) for emergency alert activations. Their cable system apparently is incapable of showing the alert on all the (digital?) channels, so they simply show it over analog shopping channel 8 and have a system in place to switch everyone to that channel automatically whenever an alert is triggered. It's a bit annoying if a test is scheduled during, say, an important football game... er... episode of Mythbusters... whatever. On the other hand, it is even more jarring than the alert tones, so you'll certainly know something's afoot.

If you have one of their Motorola digital cable boxes, when it goes into emergency alert mode and auto-switches to analog shopping channel 8 for the message, the front clock display changes to "EAS" as well. If you're suddenly watching the shopping channel and "EAS" is displayed on the cable box *and* you have the wonderfully annoying (and intentionally so) alert tones, you *should* be able to figure out that now's the time to read or listen. At least, that seems to be the general idea.

I did notice that I didn't get the alert over cable until after I'd finished watching it on OTA TV (and chatting about it afterward), so chalk up a minute or two of additional latency to the cable company.

Re:Cox Communications (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015750)

"important football game"

Best oxymoron today.

Failures, what a surprise... (4, Interesting)

dstyle5 (702493) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015286)

... because that is exactly what you would expect in a test of such a large system. The real surprise is if it would have worked without any issues on the first go round.

Re:Failures, what a surprise... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015506)

Can someone explain the "Why?" behind this system, as more and more people are doing away with any sort of cable, satellite or OTA viewing? This is the first time in many years that I've lived in a house with one of those options, and I had completely forgotten about emergency broadcasting system tests among the many annoyances of having cable rather than sticking with internet-based viewing. Six months of cable has taught me that the only value in cable is that a few networks are dragging their feet on making things available on the internet -- and most of those networks aren't worth any particular effort to watch (see: Bravo).

Re:Failures, what a surprise... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015638)

Because there's still enough people who listen to the radio and watch TV that it's still worthwhile. If they can conveniently reach even a third of the population in one go that's way too many people to ignore because the other 2/3 of the people don't see the message. In a case like that it would mean that they would want to add other attempts on top of those attempts.

Also, the chances are good of being able to reach enough people in urban areas to have word start to spread from many sources via word of mouth. Not ideal, but the more people that have access to accurate information.

As for the rural folks, lets be honest, they're less likely to need the information immediately if it's not already obvious that there's a zombie apocalypse on the way.

Re:Failures, what a surprise... (4, Interesting)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015542)

They didn't use the last system on 9/11, which was the largest emergency in most of our lives, so who cares?

Re:Failures, what a surprise... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015596)

Probably because 9/11 in all actuality was only a threat to a ludicrously, miniscule number of people compared to say... the rest of the country. I wouldn't be surprised if 98% of the country wasn't even slightly, remotely affected by it (ignoring the after side-effects of the shredding of the constitution and soforth).

Re:Failures, what a surprise... (1)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015650)

Wait, walk me through the logic there. Why doesn't such a system matter in the future if a previous system wasn't used in the past?

Re:Failures, what a surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015760)

You have a system designed for particular kinds of national emergencies. You have the PRECISE type of national emergency that the system is designed to be used for, but you don't use it.

Why build a new higher-tech system, for the exact same purposes, if it's not going to be used?

Re:Failures, what a surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015660)

I don't know, I can certainly imagine things much worse than 9/11 to deal with which the president might want to address the nation.

Doing it wrong (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015294)

National Journal's Marc Ambinder tweets: FEMA official concedes "glitch"; says that it appears (maybe) to be related to how satellite and cable providers prepped their equipment.

If your emergency broadcast system requires all cable and satellite providers to "prep" their equipment beforehand, you are doing something fundamentally wrong.

Re:Doing it wrong (1)

MichaelKristopeit355 (1968164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015482)

yeah, the equipment should just update itself and anticipate which signals should trigger an alert, and what the format of that alert should be.

you're an idiot.

Oblig (5, Funny)

2names (531755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015298)

I did not hear a test, but I did see a black cat walk by, then the same cat walked by again.

Re:Oblig (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015386)

I did see a black cat walk by, then the same cat walked by again.

Not me, man, I took that blue pill.

Re:Oblig (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015452)

You should have replaced cat 2 with a cat 6, if you have one.

FiOS in DC worked without any issues. (3, Interesting)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015304)

and from what I heard, FiOS all over the place worked without a hitch. It might have to do with the fact that Verizon's infrastructure was built inside the last decade.

failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015316)

I saw "crawlers" before and after the scheduled test warning me that the test was not an actual emergency. Of course, I did not see any actual test message. It's a good thing they are testing this because it certainly does not work.

Lost Channels (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015320)

The local cable broadcaster here lost approx 10 channels after the test, including CNN, FOX, and DISCOVERY. They all switched to the NAT GEO channel without audio for upwards of an hour after the test ran.

In addition, the test video was jumpy, kept blacking out, audio kept dropping out, etc.

All in all, if it had been a real emergency, losing the 2 major news channels would have been real motivation to start loading ammo and supplies and gassing up the bug out mobile. ;)

Re:Lost Channels (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015704)

All in all, if it had been a real emergency, losing the 2 major news channels would have been real motivation to start loading ammo and supplies and gassing up the bug out mobile. ;)

If your mags aren't already loaded and your bug-out-buggy isn't gassed up, you're already doomed.

Seriously? (4, Interesting)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015332)

So Time Warner NY failed to implement the national emergency system that we use in the event of an *inbound ICBM attack*? When it had been announced for weeks in advance?

Curse their sudden but inevitable betrayal.

Re:Seriously? (4, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015648)

ICBM attack

Seriously: If that happens, you're better off not knowing anyway. At least you won't spend your last few minutes of life scared out of your mind because you know you're going to die in a nuclear firestorm.

Re:Seriously? (5, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015702)

Fool! Without that alert, how on earth are you going to talk the closest girl to you into impending disaster sex?

Don't watch TV (1)

sstamps (39313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015336)

So I would never see/hear an alert anyway. Likely would hear about it on /. or elsewhere online after the fact.

I guess I should plan to get one of those weather-alert radios sometime just to make sure I am not completely out of the loop. :P

Re:Don't watch TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015422)

You don't own a radio?

Re:Don't watch TV (1)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015510)

Radi..what?

Re:Don't watch TV (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015544)

I don't (I used to have one in my car but it does not work anymore). I do use TuneIn Radio to listen to my favorite stations though, not sure if I would have received the emergency broadcasts.

Re:Don't watch TV (2)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015734)

That's kind of what I was thinking when I heard about this test.

I consume less and less broadcast media - be it television or radio - every day.

Unless I just happened to be driving somewhere in a car at the time of the emergency, I simply wouldn't hear the warning.

I never heard it on my satellite provider... (1)

ToiletBomber (2269914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015344)

I happened to have a weather radio handy, and "listened" to it on that... or at least tried to anyways. It sounded like three seperate alerts were all playing at once, overlapping by about 10 seconds... so throughout the entire test I could hear alert tones mixed in with speech, and it made the whole bloody thing incomprehensible.

Re:I never heard it on my satellite provider... (1)

wrathpwn (1995376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015686)

I heard something like that listening to it on a car radio tuned to an NPR station. Sounded like a delayed feedback loop of the alert with amplified noise.

Maybe he meant marred? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015354)

Subby should learn to speak english before posting on english forums.

Total gibberish locally... (1)

jaskelling (1927116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015358)

Our local radio station group (and local Comcast cable TV as well) in parts of Colorado had the test run transmitted to us in almost complete gibberish. It sounded like someone had an open mic and it was recursive on itself, echoing and repeating in delay to the point of being unintelligible. Not surprised actually - most stations in my experience screw up the local/regional EAS test and have to redo it each month. Why should the national one be any different?

Complete waste (4, Insightful)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015366)

Like probably 99.99% of america, I was neither watching TV or listening to the radio at 2pm on a weekday afternoon.

I do have a cell phone on me all the time, and received no alerts on it.

I can tell you from experience however, that if it were an Amber Alert, I would have been aware of it immediately.

CONCLUSION: EAS is another complete misguided federal program.

Your conclusion does not fit the facts. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015666)

1. Millions heard it.
2. Using all communication methods to broadcast a message of national urgency is hardly misguided. It's a common sense idea.
3. They'll add other methods soon enough.

Re:Complete waste (4, Insightful)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015682)

Because any system with a test intentionally scheduled at a time of low disruption is necessarily misguided. I'll let the IT guys know the restore test they were planning for 2am is pointless because I won't be around to notice it.

Re:Complete waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015706)

Apparently you don't understand the testing methodology.

The purpose was not so that *you* see the test, it was to test if the system is working. 2PM on a weekday is ideal because there will be a good amount of people watching tv or listening to the radio that they can get feedback and not disturb the drooling masses during prime time TV.

Oh and with unemployment hanging around 9%, I think your 99.99% estimate is a bit off. ;-)

Re:Complete waste (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015720)

Like probably 99.99% of america, I was neither watching TV or listening to the radio at 2pm on a weekday afternoon.

I would be absolutely shocked to hear that 99.99% of America wasn't watching TV at that time.

There's soap operas, Oprah, kids shows, and who knows what else.

Hell, I doubt there's ever a time when 99.99% of America isn't watching TV. Hell, I'd be surprised if there was ever less than 5% of the populace watching TV ... quite possibly even more.

AntiTrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015372)

They should watch the movie AntiTrust and figure out how to develop Synapse.

I rarely encounter broadcast media. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015380)

DTV, Cable, Satellite, and Radio; I only see/hear these for tiny fractions occasionally in public places. Almost all my media is consumed on-demand or downloaded via the internet. I may be in the minority, but a minority that is growing.

Exactly what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015384)

would constitute and "national emergency" that would require the government to alert everyone in this manner? Or is this more department of fear BS.

Re:Exactly what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015514)

so edgy

Re:Exactly what (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015616)

A nationwide broadcast of Lady Gaga? I can't think of anything worse at the moment.

Oregon (2)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015400)

My wife was watching her soap, and it didn't happen. I heard almost none of the Western States got the alert.

I don't understand the purpose (2)

iriemon (231781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015404)

What kind of conceivable emergency would effect the entire country? Nuclear war?

Re:I don't understand the purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015464)

You seemed to have answered you own question. Unless you think nuclear war somehow doesn't affect the entire country.

Re:I don't understand the purpose (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015524)

You seemed to have answered you own question. Unless you think nuclear war somehow doesn't affect the entire country.

You think a massive nuclear war (with whom?) is just suddenly going to happen without any prior warning? About the only possibility I could see would be some kind of computer failure that launched all Russia's remaining nukes, then you'll see it on TV just in time to realise that you're going to die.

Re:I don't understand the purpose (4, Informative)

0racle (667029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015474)

It is also capable of being used locally, NWS uses it like this. This test was simply the first top to bottom national test of the system, this does not mean national alerting is the only function of the system.

Re:I don't understand the purpose (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015592)

Media blackout.

Re:I don't understand the purpose (2)

zigmeister (1281432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015742)

The purpose is security theater. When something bad happens they activate the theater (or it doesn't need to be activated, as in a passive system or something that by its very nature is an always on system) and then they point at it and say "see we did something so you can't blame us." Instead of you know, actually improving security.

Honestly, the best thing for 99% individual normal citizens to do in the event of a threat to the nation, or attack on our borders, cities, military installations, what have you is don't call the police, don't speed, don't get into a car accident, don't rob a bank, don't murder your cheating spouse etc. In other words stay out of the hair of the people actually dealing with security till they sort it out. All this system would do in the event of an attack on NYC or LA is induce massive panic creating more damage...

DirecTV (1)

Jordan (jman) (212384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015406)

I was eating lunch at the local Hooters when the test aired. All the TV's in the place went to the same test screen, when they were on different sports channels before. So it worked for DirecTV at least.

Take My Breath Away (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015408)

Some DirectTV customers reported hearing Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" play during the test.

Are you sure it wasn't "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin? (Proof [youtube.com] )

Re:Take My Breath Away (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015538)

I've never heard Paparazzi and thought it was Take My Breath Away. Some people are hateful about Lady Gaga, and I don't get why. Yeah, she's not a good singer, she's a lousy dancer, and her songs aren't all great. She's a pop star; that's the schtick. She brings the circus to it in a way nobody else has, though, which dare I say it actually makes it art.

and yet the weather alert systems works better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015432)

then this!

Re:and yet the weather alert systems works better (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015566)

That's because it's a whole different system that's been tested frequently for 50 years.

This one is designed to be triggered from a single location, not a number of regional offices, and to ensure that all channels of communication get involved, using minimalist additional infrastructure, as modern budgets don't look like cold-war "do it all the way or we're speaking rooskie in a week" budgets.

Streamed It! (1)

MikeyC01 (231948) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015434)

I was streaming my favorite AM station from back home using iheartradio on my phone and they carried the test - New EAS data bursts, then the good old "the Russians are coming" EBS tone, then a recording with horrible background noise, echoes, and looping of some dude spieling the EAS spiel

Lady Gaga (1)

fortapocalypse (1231686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015438)

That wasn't a mistake, that was just a targetted emergency call- part of some A/B testing.

What would Chuck do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015488)

We're Comcast too but we got Chuck Norris instead. We just thought it was part of the response instructions: Times will be hard. You're going to have to ask yourself "What would Chuck do?"

Why Not Just (2)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015500)

Why not just use whatever variety of pipes they used to shout about the upcoming test?
I heard about the upcoming test from at least a dozen different sources, but was completely unaware of it when it actually happened.

Sirius XM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015512)

The first 2 seconds played, then silence on all XM stations.

My answer would be NO, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015518)

Because I was sitting at my computer, not in front of a television set.

I also didn't hear any physical alerts such as our local storm siren or other means.

Didn't hear it here (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015522)

I spent all day in the library where there are no TVs or radios.

Also, I'm not in the US at the moment.

Re:Didn't hear it here (1)

cruff (171569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015578)

I'm sorry to hear that. I'm sure, if you like, you could request a take over of your country by the US military and/or corporate overlords, which ever you desire. After that point, you too could share in the EAS goodness.

What alert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015528)

I was underground in my hardened bunker yesterday afternoon!

Re:What alert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015646)

I hate to disappoint you: there's still no zombie outbreak. You can come back up.

DirectTV did turn to Lady GaGa during emergency te (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015550)

On my DirectTV satellite connection we got a blue screen of text and stuff together with about 75% of the song papparazzi. It seemed an odd choice for national emergency...

test? what test? (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015558)

I was aware of the upcoming test but haven't followed it much being at work which means not watching TV and not listening to radio. Our 2-ways at our facility are not Part 73 broadcast, and I don't think Part 90 business or public safety radio services were part of this (wasn't scanning at the time except media 2-ways that were chasing story of a downed airplane in SF bay but it turns out it was a unmanned large balloon). I don't know of any amateur radio groups were involved (I don't think so, wasn't listening to the N6NFI 9 AM Talk Net). And never got any emails or cellphone text (thankfully).

But lotsa debate here on slashdot! I'll throw in my opinion is this test was useful as actual demonstration of nationwide "simulcast" which exercised the feeds to the broadcasters. You can model it but at some point you gotta do some kind of real world test. Now, purpose of EAS is debatable..... disaster is either self alerting ( flood, earthquake, nuclear bomb denotation), there are already other means of alerts i.e. NWS tornado warnings, hurricane evacuations. Or local flashflood alerts but leave that to local authorities as they know (or should) have better knowledge how to get word to flood areas. There is no earthquake warning system except p-wave (or s-wave?) sensors. Inbound ICBM attack is very 20th century and not useful (WTF are you going to do with 15 min warning?).

Re:test? what test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015698)

Bone the neighbor's wife.

Re:test? what test? (1)

Ambvai (1106941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015740)

Hop in your car, floor it out of town, get on the interstate, sit in traffic for 13 minutes. Alternatively, call up the SO, head towards the point of impact and attempt to join the Billion Particle club?

I saw... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015572)

I saw the end of freedom. I saw a vision of constantly growing and encroaching government finally taking direct control of the media.

I saw the horror of 1984 laid out in plain view, and I saw no-one protest.

I saw all that, and didn't even need a television. I wonder how long it will be before I am in a black hood, being brutalized by thugs in jackboots?

Silence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015580)

Listening to a syndicated radio show on AM radio.

Start tones, silence, end tones. Not very informative.

Comcast Cable Box (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015584)

Was watching Travel Channel when it was supposed to air the alert but I didn't get one until about 1:05 and after it finally aired my cable box restarted and the quality of my TV is now that of 240p and calling Comcast hasn't helped.

Comcast/TIVO (1)

WebSorcerer (889656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015600)

I am a Comcast subscriber using a TIVO box. At the appointed time, it switched to a movie in Spanish for about a minute and then displayed a text message about it being a test.

Re:Comcast/TIVO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015776)

Mine switched to QVC then a cascading warning of "error: failed at interrupt 0x20 on device eth0", then switched back to QVC.

Dentist (3, Funny)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015602)

I was at the Dentists and one of my fillings started broardcasting the alert.

Yes, I heard it... (1)

jesseck (942036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015606)

and it interrupted a badass song. I was pissed. And, on top of that, the quality was crap. I heard about 3 different announces speaking through static at once.

TiVo completely overridden (2)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015612)

I have a HD TiVo, and it was completely and totally on override during the test. Wouldn't respond to any of the buttons at all, not even the TiVo button itself. Somewhat unsettling.

Propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015628)

This test is brought to you by the letter P. Why test now during civil unrest when the system went unused during 9/11, Katrina, etc.

I felt it was a decent test though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015640)

I am amazed that after 9/11 they hadn't tried to do such a thing sooner not 10 years later. I'm just gonna sit in my bunker with my tin hat.

Cox CNBC Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015670)

Cox Cable in San Diego knocked CNBC (business channel) off the air for over 30 minutes. I saw a nice black screen instead of an alert. I think they should waive everyone's cable modem data cap for the month...

Is the internet planned to be involved someday? (1)

mrshermanoaks (921067) | more than 2 years ago | (#38015714)

I was browsing Google News when I happened to hear the tone from next door. For some (unexplained) reason, I kind of expected to see a notification on there.

Considering I sit in my office all day with no radio and no TV, it would be nice to get that kind of alert webified.

People still watch TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38015778)

People still watch TV?

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