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T-Mobile Offers Relief for Hurricane Victims

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 9 years ago | from the good-samaritan-or-just-good-publicity dept.

Wireless Networking 299

lilrowdy18 writes "Eweek reports that T-Mobile is offering free Wi-Fi to areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. This relief will be free until Sept 2 and an evaluation will be done to see if it will continue after that. The hot spots are only available to residents of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi and does not include phone service. The article also includes a link to a map of T-Mobile hotspots. At least we can use some form of communication to get in touch with loved ones."

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Location list and personal note... (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447160)

I had a friend, located in Biloxi, MS contact me via SMS this morning to let me know that he and his family were all ok. Their house and their cars were flooded out. He had to turn off the mobile after a couple messages to conserve energy.

Now, I saw this story ahead of time (and t-mobile's site was already snail slow) but I got to the page for Mississippi. My SMS to him:

t-mobile is offering free wifi to hurricane victims: Flowood (Borders),
Kinkos (Hattiesburg & Jackson), and Starbucks (Ridgeland & Southaven)

Now, after I sent it, I thought about it. In the entire state of MS they have *5* wifi hotspots? Are these locations operational? Will they offer some electric draw for those that need it?

I really think it's great that t-mobile is offering this to those people affected by the storm but so few locations and many w/o power? What good can it really do? Skype, where are you?

Most of these people would probably prefer telephone service over Internet access. Luckily this guy was able to e-mail via SMS and get in touch w/those that care about him.

I'm just glad that one of the people I know from the area is ok and I wish all those affected by the storm the best of luck for a speedy and safe recovery.

I have put up a mirror of locations [] in text format. Hopefully this will be easier to disseminate.

Re:Location list and personal note... (1)

bogado (25959) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447557)

I really think it's great that t-mobile is offering this to those people affected by the storm but so few locations and many w/o power? What good can it really do? Skype, where are you?

Exactly what I thougth, making a bad quote "what good is a free wireless when you have no power".

Re:Location list and personal note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447610)

Fricking Starbucks already has free T-mobile wireless hotspots in many places. Talk about shameless product placement. Unless they are providing generators to keep those sites running, it's useless anyway.

Re:Location list and personal note... (1)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447661)

T-Mobile hotspots aren't free. You have to subscribe to some service T-Mobile offers. The news is that they're making their hotspots in MS, LA, and AL free.

At least that's what I'm getting out of the story.

Re:Location list and personal note... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447682)

Wrong, fucktard, maybe you haven't learned to read yet in your 7 years of elementary public school education. No child left behind whizzed right past you as you were being mercilessly brow-beaten by the stupid stick while you were sitting on the stupid stump in Stupidville. Nothing is free at Starbucks. Using the T-Mobile hot spots will cost you dearly. Not as dearly as your retarded ass will cost our society, though, so not to worry.

Hello From Atlanta Georgai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447660)

We are already running out of Gasoline. Gas prices today jump 20 cents.

The afternoon news said that a pipeline to Atlanta,(we are a big refinery here) has been shut down.

It is being estimated that starting sometime tomorrow that all of Atlanta will be with out Gas.


Only 3 days?? (5, Insightful)

TurdTapper (608491) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447161)

This relief will be free until Sept 2

That doesn't make any sense. Why would you only do it for 3 days and then "evaluate" whether you'll charge or not. Why in the world wouldn't you offer it for at least a week or two before evaluating? So if you are stuck in the disaster area and want to get a hold of someone that way, you've only got until Friday. After that you are out of luck or you might have to pay.

I think it's good they are helping out, but that's almost a cheap way to get some good press.

If you are a company like that and you really want to help, then go in whole-heartedly.

Re:Only 3 days?? (5, Insightful)

Trusty Penfold (615679) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447193)

Exactly - if they want to help then they'll help. If their PR department wants something to do then they'll do this.

Re:Only 3 days?? (1)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447416)

Perhaps they are afraid of a mad rush of people clamboring to their wi-fi spots - which are businesses that may or may not be able to handle it.

Re:Only 3 days?? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447434)

Is 3 days really insufficient to *contact* someone? Your post looks like a troll to me: "for any x, complain that it's not >x".

Re:Only 3 days?? (4, Interesting)

stienman (51024) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447466)

Why would you only do it for 3 days and then "evaluate" whether you'll charge or not.

One word: Spammers. Or, more generally, idiots who *will* abuse the system. It's not like a food line where you can pretty easily evenly distribute scarce resources and prevent people from poisoning the stew.

After three days they'll have a pretty good idea of patterns of usage and optimize the service to weed out the abusers. They will also likely tweak the caches so that most frequently used resources will be readily available without tying up the backbones so much.

Chances are good it was sold to higher management as a good publicity stunt, but managment is afraid that it'll either become very costly, or they'll destroy the service for users who actually pay for it. So the 3-day completely free is a good compromise. They can gauge complaints and usage, and then make a longer term decision.


Re:Only 3 days?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447537)

This doesn't make any sense for another reason. What good is a wireless hotspot when you don't have any fricken electrical power???

Re:Only 3 days?? (2, Insightful)

vought (160908) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447573)

How big of them.

Why don't they offer free service to their customers in afffected ZIP codes for a month?

Why don' they donate some time andd money to the Red Cross?

For fuck's sake, most people who survived this don't have power, and may have gotten away with a laptop.

Thanks, Slashdot, for amplifying T-Mobile's limp-wristed PR move. Maybe they'll breate a breath for New Orleanians next!

Re:Only 3 days?? (3, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447605)

That doesn't make any sense. Why would you only do it for 3 days and then "evaluate" whether you'll charge or not. Why in the world wouldn't you offer it for at least a week or two before evaluating?

Why don't you think it makes sense to evaluate it after 3 days? That doesn't mean they'll turn it off or start charging money, it means they'll look at it to see what's going on - are people actually using the free service? If not, why not? If so, are they using it to communicate with loved ones, or downloading porn?

Hopefully their review in 3 days will show that people are using the service the way it was intended, and they'll decide to continue the program.

As others have pointed out, people need food and water... but T-Mobile doesn't have food and water on hand. They have this, so they're giving this.

troll offers relief from fristage (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447171)

postage.. now you don't have to do it.

I'm a nice guy.

Re:troll offers relief from fristage (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447273)

So are you saying you're going to pay for everyone to mail letters!? You are a nice guy.

Whew! (3, Insightful)

Geekenstein (199041) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447181)

Well that's good. What people without electricity, food, drinking water, and a roof over their heads really need is internet access!

So, exactly how does someone without power get a computer working? Are they really that hard up for porn?

Hey T-mo! Stop pushing your products and instead give something that could really help. Like phone service so people can call loved ones, or cold hard cash to help bring relief.

This is what t-mobile has (5, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447375)

T-mobile does not have electricity, food, drinking water, or building materials. They could possibly buy such things, but it isn't what they have on hand. What they have is wireless communication services. They are a cell phone company. They are giving what they have.

I'll agree that perhaps this isn't going to be the most realistically useful thing ever. But at least they are doing something.

Yes, free cell phone service would have possibly been something that t-mobile has which would be even more useful, but there are practical barriers there. That is, most people don't have cell phones which you can just reassign to a different cell phone carrier at will, and even with phones with such features most people don't know how to use them. It seems likely either you're an existing t-mobile customer and can already use their network, or you're not easily going to be getting on their cell network anyway. Wifi may have a more limited utility than cell service, but there's fewer logistics involved in letting people use it.

In the meantime, if you or anyone else reading this is really concerned with being productive, something easy to do to help would maybe be instead of complaining on slashdot, take the time in the next couple of days to donate blood []

Re:This is what t-mobile has (-1, Flamebait)

matth (22742) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447405)

Unfortunately I will not support the Red Cross in anyway. This includes giving blood. The Red Cross is one of the most poorly managed organizations in the country. They have horrible financial management and I will not in any way support them.

Which brings me to another thought. Does anyone know of any other organization or way to donate blood other then through the American Red Cross?

Re:This is what t-mobile has (1)

karmatic (776420) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447646)

Depending on where you live, United Blood Services [] may be an option.

Re:This is what t-mobile has (2, Insightful)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447424)

Donate blood? Isn't that we were all encouraged to do after 9/11 and then something like 80% of it got dumped because there really wasn't a need for a sudden influx of 28 gazillion units of whole blood?

If you really want to help, contact your local Red Cross or Salvation Army about how you can best make a donation.

Oh, and you should donate blood every 56 days, all year round - not just when there is some major catastrophe.

Re:This is what t-mobile has (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447603)

What about phone cards? T-Mobile's a phone company, they can give away phone card numbers to people so they can get ahold of loved ones, even if it's just 20 minutes; long enough to say "Hi Mom, I'm still alive, I love you." Besides, phone service is much more ubiquitous than Internet service, and phone cards are cheap.

It really feels like a promotion instead of general charity. I mean come on, WiFi? How many people would even be able to use this service verses general telephony, or even handing out "disposable cellphones" (those prepaid things you can find at any gas station)?

Lastly, giving blood is something you should be doing anyways, if you can. Disasters shouldn't make you wake up and realize the need for blood, and I really wish services like the Red Cross would get that message out.

Re:This is what t-mobile has (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447615)

They don't need Blood, they need money, food, water, and places for shelter. Donate THAT via Red Cross, your church, Salvation Army, and here at work our company is using the charity matching benefit to double what we give.

Even if they had wi-fi access, how long will your battery last w/o some way to recharge it via the wall charger or your car chargeer. Cell phones can work on different carriers networks, they have to for 911 calls. It would take a little reprogramming and some co-operation among the companies but I sure don't see that happening.

From another list I am on, I know a guy whose brother is in charge of all the cellular infrastructure in MS, he says it is ALL gone South of Hattiesburg. They are going to try to bring in COWs (Cell towers On Wheels) and then those with phones can use them. Of course all landlines are out so cells (and radios) are the only way to communicate.

Re:Whew! (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447408)

From CNN, I believe they are providing this service to try to help find loved ones; earlier I was listening in, and it sounds like tonnes of E-mail services, and website forums are being flooded by people looking for their families online.

If T-Mobile set up a centralized "find-me" server, drove around with some laptops and actually tried to lend a helping hand, I'd love to support them, but yeah, at this point, it does look like a PR move.

Re:Whew! (1)

Brento (26177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447421)

Are they really that hard up for porn?

Is that a trick question?

Re:Whew! (1)

kogus (855114) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447555)

It is ridiculous to criticize T-Mobile for giving away this service. They didn't *have* to offer anything at all, and no one is forced to use the service.

Woo Hoo! (5, Funny)

maccroz (126399) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447183)

We may not have a house, a vehicle, or any earthly posessions for that matter, but at least we have free WiFi with our frappuccino!

Re:Woo Hoo! (1)

varmittang (849469) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447591)

Yep, because that is the one thing everyone grabbed, or has, is their laptop before hitting the road. I bet half the people that have one forgot it all together on that mad dash out of town.

Re:Woo Hoo! (2, Funny)

terpri (853344) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447595)

Frappucino? Wouldn't a nice double tall looté go much better with the free Wifi? (-:

gee thanks (1)

tont0r (868535) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447192)

people need food, shelter, power, etc and you give a month of free wifi. Well, the people who do have a laptop, despite they have no home, they still have their inet porn!! woo!

oh wait... (1)

tont0r (868535) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447257)

oh wait.. did i say a month? im dumb. i meant 2-3 days. THANKS A BUNCH!

Great, Free WIFI! (2, Insightful)

_DangerousDwarf (210835) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447196)

This is just great, this is just what these people need. Free WIFI for a couple of days

Actually this is a clever PR stunt by T-Mobile, it is not like anyone actually has electricity to use these hotspots.

These victims need water, food, clothing and shelter. And of course money to rebuild, why not donate a couple days of revenue instead of free WIFI?

Uhmm... (2, Informative)

SpaFF (18764) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447202)

T-mobile does realize that there's no power, right?

If they want to help, they can get more manpower working on the phone system. I evacuated from New Orleans to north Alabama, and my t-mobile phone service has been spotty at best. I haven't been able to make outgoing calls for the last 3 days and I've only been able to get a few incoming calls.

Good thing I opted for the 8-cell battery... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447210)

...on my new laptop!

Surf urchin site is dead-ish (0, Offtopic)

agoodm (856768) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447219)

Surf urchin site is nearly dead :-(

Ham radio (3, Interesting)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447231)

Another option is to go meet your friendly neighbor ham radio op. I'm sure there is an emergency net operating right now.

Re:Ham radio (2, Informative)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447423)

Adding to my post... Go here [] to search for ham radio operators in your area.

Re:Ham radio (1)

Arthemys (754977) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447607)

Interesting bit to add considering what T-Mobile is doing with their hotspots; a smarter idea would be to set up essentially a tent with a long range 'net connection and a generator with several computers (read, laptop-style). Or if you're really starved for internet and you're a Ham op. Packet-Radio [] Working for Nextel, I know what the costs are that are associated with putting up towers. However, having a background in ham radios, I know that setting up temporary cellular repeaters isn't a tough task. Especailly, with it being a large company such as T-Mobile, the costs of arranging a tempory repeater could easily be re-couped with the sales post-event. That's even thinking selflessly. To add another tidbit, you can also place phone calls over Ham radio into the existing PSTN network if you wanted to contact loved ones, even if they were without a ham license.

Re:Ham radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447619)

As soon as I saw this article on the front of /., I knew there'd be a HAM post. I guess I'm psychic.

Here's hoping they're able to make their usual invaluable contributions to this disaster relief effort.

That's assuming the HAM has a power source.

In related news... (5, Funny)

scovetta (632629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447233)

Krispy Kreme is offering residents whose homes were destroyed a chance to win a free dozen donuts.

Similarly, Pizza Hut is offering a Buy-1-Get-1-Free offer for anyone who lives in New Orleans (good until tomorrow morning).

Re:In related news... (1)

briancurtin (901109) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447397)

i have that here in PA and its only slightly raining. not a bad deal.

Re:In related news... (1)

Epistax (544591) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447659)

I'm planning on offering discounted lawn care services.

Great.. VOIP (2, Interesting)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447234)

I'm sure this will help many people deal with the emergency by using the net to communicate.. an interesting side effect, since phone service isn't provided, is people will probably use more VOIP programs such as Skype, which are an alternative to T-Mobile's regular service..

Aw man, weak! (-1, Flamebait)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447238)

I wish a hurricane would destroy MY town!

Sounds like it might be a problem (0, Redundant)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447248)

New Orleans is only 80% under water. The people might be able to use it if they can get their laptops and cell phones to dry out. That is, assuming that they can find them. Besides that, Louisiana is under marshal law. What gives T-mobile the authority to offer anything?

Re:Sounds like it might be a problem (1)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447324)

Well not all of Louisian is under martial law. Just New Orleans.

Louisiana can't be placed under martial law (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447480)

Louisiana's state constitution does not allow for martial law. A state of emergency has been declared for the areas most impacted by Hurricane Katrina, but that is a far cry from a state of martial law.

T-Moblie Sucks. Period. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447250)

T-Mobile totally sucks. Their service sucks, their support reps suck, and their phones suck. The fact they are offering such little help just goes to show that they are just trying to get free pub out of the deal, which oh look they did on /. no less. The sad thing is that here in california tmobile uses the cingular network so cingular sucks too, but they have some cool phones though.

Savage Negroes Pillage and Loot New Orleans (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447254)

found at: Philadelphia Inquirer []

Looters Around The City Cleaning Out Stores

At first it just seemed that the Wal-Mart in New Orleans' Lower Garden District was doing a very brisk post-hurricane business yesterday: The parking lot was full, people were leaving with brimming baskets, and city police and firefighters were there as if to oversee it all.

But people weren't going through the front door. They were squeezing between boards meant to protect the now-shattered glass from Hurricane Katrina's winds. One man was packing his van so full of computers, televisions and DVD players that he had trouble closing the rear doors. One woman was carrying three jugs of laundry detergent in a city with no power to run a washer.

As in so many past disasters elsewhere when crisis and chaos have replaced order and normalcy, a beleaguered New Orleans was beset by looters.

The widespread plundering started before Katrina had finished its onslaught Monday. That afternoon, looters broke into an emptied sporting-goods warehouse in Mid-City, a grocery in Treme, and the hardware center Uptown. In one instance, witnesses said, police were called but did nothing until one man shot another.

People said they had heard Wal-Mart had opened its doors to provide supplies for law-enforcement agencies sheltering the 10,000- plus people in the Louisiana Superdome. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Sharon Weber, said law enforcement, emergency-management teams, and relief agencies had "unwritten permission" to help themselves to whatever they need from Wal-Mart stores in times of crisis, but that standard procedure was for the police or aid officials to "leave us a list of what they take so they can pay us later."

At the Lower Garden District Wal-Mart, among the items seen being loaded into police cars were dozens of T-shirts, DVDs, and dog food.

But when law-enforcement officials went to get their goods, others - people of all ages and races - followed.

"They just came and no one could stop them," said David Brown, 38, a Port of New Orleans employee.

Brown and a coworker were filling their vehicle with dozens and dozens of canned goods - stews and chilis and Spaghetti-O's. Brown said the food would be used to feed the port's police and its employees, many of whom, like him, had worked nonstop since Saturday.

They were only taking essentials, he said, though a copy of Queen Latifah's Beauty Shop movie had apparently made that list.

Brown said the work showed no sign of easing.

"It's pretty bad," he said. "They've been calling for body bags all day."

Most streets in New Orleans were empty yesterday except for the hub around the Wal-Mart, in a section of the city that remained dry. People were everywhere: in cars and trucks, pushing goods in carts and baby carriages, dragging full trash cans and laundry baskets. The steady stream of cars caused a traffic jam on the streets near the store - the type of traffic jam last seen here when people tried to evacuate.

"Is everything free?" asked a woman who pulled up in a red car. Hearing "yes," she started to chant: "TV! TV! TV!"

Inside, a teenage boy held up a pair of blue lacy panties and snickered, "I want to see somebody in these so bad," before tossing them in his basket.

Another man used a table to break into one of the last unscathed jewelry cases.

A rumor that the National Guard had arrived sent people running toward the store's exit, shouting: "Come on! Come on!" But no one put down any merchandise, and the Guard rumor turned out to be false.

Some shoppers were oddly selective. One woman said she was taking only facial-care products. Another was pushing a cart filled with silk roses and baby's breath. In the pharmacy aisle, she leaned over the handle, pushing it slowly as she read labels the way a paying customer would.

But the overwhelming feeling was one of chaos - angry shouting, carts ramming, fast grabbing. When a teenage girl passed out face down between the baby clothes and a women's-sock display, people pushed past or stepped on her.

Joseph LoCascio of Picayune, Miss., stopped to try to help the girl. He rolled her over, and she vomited pink liquid all over her face and hair. He then rolled her back.

"People just walking around like they don't care," he said.

He and his friend Sandi Nolan, 21, of Baton Rouge, tried to revive the girl by pouring water, Gatorade and soda over her face and neck. It only left her shirt and hair soaked.

LoCascio tried to get a man in a firefighter T-shirt to treat the girl, but the man hesitated, saying: "She's breathing. If I took her, where would I take her?"

About 15 minutes later, a firefighter medic arrived and began checking the girl. Still, LoCascio and Nolan were furious at their fellow looters.

Both have infants being treated at Children's Hospital, New Orleans, and had come to get baby food and supplies.

"I've never seen people like this. I have drinks and chips, things I need," Nolan said. "They're getting chain saws and fishing poles, anything they can get for free."

As she and LoCascio left, she noticed he had at least a dozen DVDs in his basket, as well as baby formula and baby food. She laughed and pointed it out to him.

"They're for the kids, so they can watch them," he said. "Things like Finding Nemo."

Nolan laughed. "Don't worry," she said. "I got a few too."

Wow, thanks T-Mobil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447258)

Thanks T-Mobil, for 3 free days of Wi-Fi access to a city that's been destroyed! Come on. I can see where Wi-Fi COULD be useful for the people who have dry, operating cell phones which have not run out of batteries yet (which they cannot recharge) and they aren't busy clinging to their roof for dear life...oh wait, no. I can't see where that would be useful. And even if it WAS...only THREE DAYS?!

Bush Taking Extra Week Of Vacation (0, Offtopic)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447264)

To deal with this tragedy and to count the money he's made off of oil price increases. Impeach Bush Now.

Foreign Aid To USA (0, Troll)

putko (753330) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447266)

It is great that Germany is chipping in to help out the disaster victims. I hear Hugo Chavez is helping out with oil from Venezuela.

I remember hearing that the citizens of the USA (not the govt.) are extremely generous, and help out when others have problems. Our government doesn't help out much (it allows the citizens to decide how the money gets spent, if it gets spent at all) -- but the citizens of the USA are insanely generous. At the drop of a hat, they send teddy bears and other useless feelgood items to disaster sites. I'm fixing to send a big stuffed dinosaur to Alabama, Missispi and Lousiana any minute now.

Anyway, I'm happy to see it isn't only a one way street, and that other coutries can be generous too. E.g. India, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Thailand will be sending us something -- e.g. maybe some of those made-in-China teddy bears we sent them.

Re:Foreign Aid To USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447352)

I'm not sure if you are being a jerk or not, but the US does way more, both publicly and privately, than just send teddy bears. When the tsunami hit SE asia, we were on the scene with food, water, and medicine almost immediately - the biggest problem being the local governments!

Besides, when you have nothing else and your kid is crying, sometimes a stuffed teddy bear makes all the difference in the world. Don't knock it.

Re:Foreign Aid To USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447359)

Ok, who forgot to flush?

Re:Foreign Aid To USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447509)

Please do us all a favor and...

1. Realize that the teddy bears were a SMALL FRACTION of the aid we sent.
2. Eat shit and die.

its like saying.. (2, Insightful)

dotpavan (829804) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447267)

Fantasy World is giving free lapdances at their nearest location.. do they really need it at that hour? they could set up some more towers or join other mobile operators and provide a blanket coverage all over these states for greater accessibility (free roaming or so)

OT: Good news (3, Informative)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447270)

Re:OT: Good news (2, Informative)

tazanator (681948) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447330)

12:11 P.M. - Army Corps: Water has become level with the Lake in the city so no more water should flow into the city, except at high tide. okay it's seems better the way you said it...

Re:OT: Good news (3, Insightful)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447362)

> Water has become level with the Lake
> in the city so no more water should flow
> into the city, except at high tide.

Yup, but looks like that's only because the water levels have equalized, not because the levee breaks have been plugged. Argh.

Re:OT: Good news (4, Insightful)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447479)

But it eases the rebuilding of the levees, which is a prerequisite to pumping water out of the city.

Building a barrier in standing water is a lot easier than building one in rushing water.

GREAT! (0, Redundant)

ericdano (113424) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447280)

Great, no fresh water, gas, electricity.......but I have WiFi for free. Woohoo!

Oh, I forgot, I have to go fill up on $3+ a gallon gas.....cause the oil companies used their record profits to update their infrastructure.....NOT!

Good Corporate Citizen (1)

RagingChipmunk (646664) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447284)

What great guys they are at T-Mobile! Reaching out with free wifi. I'm touched. Its a great marketing move, and during the next catastrophe they can plan ahead and hand out free 6oz bottles of water with a "T-Mobile" label.

At really big emergencies, they can give out free "T-Mobile" blankets

For the next terrorist attack, they can hand out bandages with "T-Mobile" subtly stitched in.

Re:Good Corporate Citizen (1)

sdsichero (859332) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447623)

Or they can do absolutely nothing.

I sure hope whoever is complaining is doing a lot more than just posting snarky messages to bulletin boards.

Nextel (2, Informative)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447290)

A coworker told me that he has been using Nextel to communicate with people in the area without any problems whatsoever. Not free, but he said it works.

That's a surefire prescription for healing. (3, Interesting)

BYC(VCU.EDU) (831956) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447294)

It's better than going to Six Flags. Free Admission to KATRINA Evacuees Over Labor Day Weekend /Katrina.html [] Hey! House under water? Everything you own destroyed? Come eat overpriced food, spend your last $80 and watch other people have fun!

Re:That's a surefire prescription for healing. (1)

jmilne (121521) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447455)

You joke about it, but honestly, as a parent of a young child, something like this would be very nice. Try spending the past few days with kids cramped inside your car because you can't find any open hotels, with several more days to look forward to. You'll be glad for the opportunity to give them something to do.

Re:That's a surefire prescription for healing. (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447654)

Yup, that was the hardest part about not having power for a few weeks after 2 'canes here in Fl. last year.

Imagine, if you can, my sweet little 4 year old looking up at me and saying "Daddy, I want to watch Nemo..."

Now imagine daddy (me) looking down at her with sad eyes and saying "I wish you could watch Nemo too sweetie...."

Re:That's a surefire prescription for healing. (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447638)

If you were evacuating from a hurricane would you move:

A. Inland

B. Along the coast
Might as well be Graceland. Memphis is about as close to the heart of the damaged areas as Houston....


Now I can use.... (1)

greythax (880837) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447309)

...this laptop I just looted!

Sorry, bad joke, but I couldn't help it.

Re:Now I can use.... (1)

briancurtin (901109) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447485)

but does it run linux?

More Helpful... (1)

RUFFyamahaRYDER (887557) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447316)

What would be more helpful is if T-mobile brought over generators and created computer kiosks in shelters and surrounding areas with free Internet access (and phones!) so people can contact their loved ones and let them know, "Hey I made it out safely!"

Otherwise I agree with what people have already said... This is PR bull-caca!

How about providing some real communications (3, Insightful)

major.morgan (696734) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447367)

While others are donating real money out of their personal pockets, T-Mobile is donating a couple of hundred dollars worth of Wi-Fi. How about handing out some of the cheap pre-paid phones with service. Or better yet, some communications centers with computers and phones that people can come and try to get a message out to their families.

A couple of trucks with personnel, generators, multiple GPRS data connections, computers and a dozen cell phones - might cost $50-60,000 (being generous). Far less than one television ad with what's-her-name, and would actually be of some use to those in Louisiana.

Oh yeah, bring some bottled water with you.

Re:How about providing some real communications (1)

Brento (26177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447458)

How about handing out some of the cheap pre-paid phones with service.

Because most cell towers were wiped out in the hurricane. T-Mobile didn't have that strong of a signal down here as it is, and now it's nonexistent. Any gifts of cell phones would have no value for weeks, if not months, and people need communications now.

Same with your suggestion about trucks with GPRS data connections. The trucks won't have signal - end of story. You need satellite phones for most areas right now, and that's not something T-Mobile can offer.

Re:How about providing some real communications (1)

major.morgan (696734) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447637)

While the damage was great, it was not complete. One of the lead posts refers to someone who is sending/receiving SMS messages down there - so at least one tower is still operational. I would also believe that some of the telco CO's are still standing & operating.

If T-Mobile wanted to set up shop down there -- they could make it work.

Gee, let's see... (1)

connah0047 (850585) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447369)

Let's see here. We are looking for someone in New Orleans who fits the following description: 1) Has a dry cell phone 2) Has a charged cell phone 3) Has T Mobile service 4) Who knows T Mobile is offering this service I'll bet that's approximately no one. T Mobile should get off their arrogant butts from offering free Wi Fi access for THREE DAYS to a destroyed city and offer some real help.

Power? (1)

matth (22742) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447370)

And where exactly do I get the power for my laptop?

assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447374)

these assholes dont care about us. I was hit by the hurricane and a tree fell on my house. this is some crap marketing ploy. its immoral and wrong.
how am i supposed to use my computer if there is no electricity.
i have none of that, water, and iwas trapped on my street for two days while we cut our way out with chainsaws.
im typing from my brothers dorm room in Baton Rouge.
i cant believe these assholes.

Re:assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447521)

how am i supposed to use my computer if there is no electricity.
im typing from my brothers dorm room in Baton Rouge.
No further comment.

That's nice of them. (1, Troll)

doppleganger871 (303020) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447388)

Hope they brought power to charge stuff with.

The long term help for the entire country would be to fix the energy supply.

Need more oil wells. Yea, if there are more places actually producing oil, then each amount of downtime would impact all of us less. We'd be able to live better, not having to spend more and more of our income on fuel costs to drive to work, heat our homes, run our computers (power plants have to run on something, even if it's nuclear), and keep reasearchers powered working on other fuel methods.

Really, we need more refineries. They're not pretty, but having 6-12 more of them would really help smooth things out. Think of the extra effort that can go into maintenance now that they don't HAVE to run 24x7x365 days a year. Again, downtime at one refinery won't hurt prices of energy keeping those researchers looking for alternative energy sources. They can even work in the winter, because they'll be able to afford the heating bills.

Reduce the number of gasoline types in the country. Have one federal standard. That's all. Make everyone use it. Right now there are so many gasoline blends, that the fuel companies are struggling to produce them all. Find a compromise between all of them that is a mix of quality, and cost. Generally change the fuel in the long term to make it burn cleaner, and for our children's sake, put and end to MTBE.

Quit complaining (1)

Brento (26177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447394)

and an evaluation will be done to see if it will continue after that.

Relax, complainers. It's not that T-Mobile is deciding whether or not they WANT to continue it. They just don't know whether their network will hold up after a few days. And this has nothing to do with the hurricane, just business as usual at T-Mobile. When I use their Starbucks hotspots, I'm lucky to have one workday without a service interruption, let alone a few days.

Wow (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447422)

It's nice to know that someone can get reception with T-Mobile. ;)

(Yeah, I'm jaded. Hey T-Mobile, another tower in the higher elevations of 34689 would make me the happiest man alive)

Telcos... (1)

torrents (827493) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447440)

I read about people using craigslist to try and post info about missing loved ones... It would be helpful if the free hotspots would redirect people to a missing persons / general information page where they could get an idea of what services are available and what their best bet is for locating people or letting others know where they are.

Let me be the first to say: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447454)

Fuck T-Mobile. What kind of bait and switch is this crap?

We'll give it away for three days and then decide to charge.

Way to help out.

it says.. (1)

dotpavan (829804) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447489)

From TFA: T-Mobile service locations include Borders, FedEx/Kinko's, Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels, Red Roof Inn motels, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways. If I am staying at Hyatt or am near prominent office/location/outlet, do I need a Wifi?

Where's and (1)

IronChefMorimoto (691038) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447495)

Ya know -- we sit here and make jokes about hurricane victims not really needing WiFi services, but let's look at a more relevant "web community" issue... and jumped on the donation (Red Cross and other charities) bandwagon within a day or two of the tsunamis last December. I really admired them for doing that -- it spoke highly of their awareness of the powerful community of online customers/users that they could tap for donations to help the victims of the tsunamis.

I e-mailed them today asking where the dedicated homepages for Red Cross donations for hurricane relief. So many people visit their sites every day -- they have a real opportunity to stem the relief effort tide now rather than later. It's odd that a local American disaster hasn't registered as quickly, EVEN IF the loss of life is so much less.

Maybe I'm expecting too much for massive property damage (hurricane) vs. massive loss of life (tsunami). Maybe they've not had enough time to come up with something. I would definitely hold them in high esteem for getting something up -- such an opportunity there.

Meanwhile, if you want to donate to the Red Cross, be sure to use a localized website (e.g. [] ) if you're having trouble getting to the main Red Cross website. You'll get through to online donation forms, and you'll also have a better chance of earmarking donations for hurricane relief rather than general relief funds.


Re:Where's and (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447559)

Give it all time. I remember it took about a day before Apple's page was updated with the Tsunami information, I would suggest it might take a bit longer in this case as things are just now starting to get organized in the disaster relief front.

But, I'm glad others are donating as well. Well worth the hundred twenty bucks left at the bottom of the bank account.

Re:Where's and (2, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447625)

Thanks for the informative and insightful post.

But, "[ and] have a real opportunity to stem the relief effort tide now rather than later.

If they don't stop the relief efforts now, no one will!

Wow, I didn't think it could be done... (0, Flamebait)

HalfOfOne (738150) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447513)

You know, I have T-mobile. Just about the only thing worse than having all of your worldly possessions ripped away from you in an instant would be the ability to call someone you love and say

"Hey Mom...I just wanted to say... ..HELLO? ARE YOU THERE?

Followed by the call to T-mo customer service:

"Hello, here's my info,
umm, no I can't call you from a land line.
Yes, I'll hold.
Hello, here's my information.
No, I don't have anything but this phone.
Yes, I'll hold.

Congrats, they just found a way to make it worse.

Yay! (1)

Tengoo (446300) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447543)

This'll go great with the laptop I just looted!

Cingular Opens Free Calling Stations (5, Informative)

digid (259751) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447548)

Cingular Wireless has set up free emergency calling stations at its open company-owned retail stores across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to help the many individuals and families who are without power and phone service due to Hurricane Katrina.

Free phone calls to friends and family anywhere in the United States can be made at Cingular stores during normal store hours. The calling stations are available to anyone who simply needs to use a phone.

The company has also set up a free mobile calling station at the Cajundome in Lafayette where thousands of evacuees are being housed.

All Cingular stores will offer free calls as they open.

Re:Cingular Opens Free Calling Stations (2, Insightful)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447680)

Now THAT is disaster aid. Thank you Cingular, you're doing a great service to the community.

T-Mobile, take a look at Cingular; they're putting you to shame. All people want to do is to tell their loved ones that they are alright. The Internet may have that capacity (if they can find their loved ones), but is a terrible medium in which to have to search, or email and hope. Phone calls will always be better in that respect.

I'm glad to hear my phone company's doing some good for a change. Money well spent I hope.

Gather round, chilin' (1)

connah0047 (850585) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447560)

Gather round the camp fire chilin'! Grandpa is going to regale us with stories of how T Mobile came to the rescue when the city was destroyed.

T Mobile will long be remembered for this, I'm sure.

Free until Sep 2nd? (1)

maxrate (886773) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447565)

I know they are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, but come on, they can do better than that! Until sept 2nd????? I bet there are thousands who lost their wallets and such, can't find there credit cards.

Relief my a$$..... (2, Insightful)

DangerTenor (104151) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447590)

Relief is what you get when someone takes over for you.
Relief is what you experience when you get something you badly needed.
Relief is what you feel when your pain is removed or reduced.
Getting free WIFI access in a few limited locations where there is no freaking power to charge a laptop (or probably even run the hotspot) is not relief, it is a PR move.

Useful corporate donations pouring in... (3, Interesting)

Humorously_Inept (777630) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447630)

Office Depot: $1m
BP: $1m cash + $/$ match of employee donations
Capital One: $1m cash
Anheuser-Busch: $250K cash + 875K cans of water
Eli Lilly: $1m cash + $/$ match of employee donations + $1m in insulin
Kellogg: $500k cash and food
Home Depot: $1.5m cash
Wal-Mart: $1m cash
Exxon Mobil: $2m cash
Amerada Hess: $1m cash + $/$ match of employee donations
Chevron: $5m cash
JP Morgan Chase: $1m cash + $/$ match of employee donations
DuPont: $1m cash
GM: $400k cash + vehicles
Culligan: 5 semi trailers of water
CVS: $250K cash + $254K in food and water

Re:Useful corporate donations pouring in... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447697)

"Anheuser-Busch: $250K cash + 875K cans of water"

The $250k is nice, but surely they could donate something other than 875k cans of their beer.

Oh wait, you mean REAL water.

MMORPG addicts be thankful (1)

Spectre (1685) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447632)

no house, no car, no food, no water, employer underwater, but dang it, I can still play my addictive MMORPG!

Some businesses are offering something more... (1)

Aspasia13 (700702) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447650)

Some other companies are donating some more useful things. Here is a link that describes what some different companies have donated or promised so far: -30.html []

From the page, it seems Cingular is offering something more practical:

Cingular Wireless: Cingular Wireless has created free emergency calling stations in its retail stores in affected states. When conditions allow, it will send out vans to offer the service on a mobile basis.

It's VERY likely we'll see free cell phone service (1)

twigstamc420 (235143) | more than 9 years ago | (#13447670)

Here in Pensacola we were nailed pretty hard by the eastern eye wall of Ivan last September. Nothing like these poor blokes but pretty bad.

Within a few days, virtually every cell phone provider in the area had brought in mobile cell towers on trailers and crates full of cell phones. Anyone who could make it to one of the many locations was allowed free, unlimited use of the phones from that location. This went on for SEVERAL days.

It's great PR and it was incredibly beneficial to the residents whose homes had been washed away.

My guess is that T-Mobile is offering this now because of the near impossibility of entering these areas. Be patient and rest assured that companies like Verizon and Alltel won't pass up the chance for good press, a positive brand impression on consumers in a given area and , let's hope, the opportunity to do some good for people who are in desperate need.

Too bad it's not as good as what Sprint's doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13447688)

Support teams
Cells on wheels
Walkie-talkies for rescue workers
Free calls from Sprint stores as they open
Matching all employee donations to the Red Cross []

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