Surviving power outages the smart way

I AM a nomad. If conditions at a particular place are not conducive to grafting, I go find somewhere else to work. However, that’s not always desirable — or even practical.

One situation that comes up frequently in Ha

rare during the rainy season (well, whatever season), is the loss of power. Now, depending on when the magetsi (power) goes and you have work to do, you can either call it a day and hit the pub, or suck it up and get to work. Yeah it’s possible to get work done in a power-cut — if you have the right stuff beforehand.

There are four basic requirements for spending the working day without AC power:

Some kind of phone, either a corded landline or cell, or both

A laptop (or many, if you’re a rich bugger) with spare batteries;

Some form of Internet connectivity; dial-up, CDMA or preferably broadband;

Non-perishable food you can get to without opening your fridge.

A phone seems like a given for a worker, but it’s especially important in a power-cut. Given how popular cordless phones are these days, you should always keep a hard-wired handset around; those default red PTC sets are perfect. Even if you’re landline free, make sure you have a mobile with either a fully charged battery or a spare.

A laptop is also a given for today’s workers. What may not be obvious is the need for extra batteries. Now, I know how hard it can be to get any thing out of the accounts for accessories (I once had to sweat bullets just for a USB mouse), but remember most laptops won’t last much more than a couple of hours on batteries. Extra batteries give you extra runtime in a power-cut.

Of course, a phone and laptop don’t mean jack if you have no way to get online. I have broadband using a USB modem, so my “net”works even with no power (the USB modem draws power from the laptop batteries). If you’re not so lucky, you have to settle for dialup speeds using an analogue modem.

You can replace a phone and laptop with a higher-end smart phone. They often include support for email and web browsing. While the form factor of these device can be awkward to deal with, in a pinch they frequently do the biz.

Finally, you need chow. It’s hard to get any work done under any conditions if your basic needs aren’t met. Make sure you have non-perishable food readily accessible; last thing you want to do is open the fridge, causing cold air to be let out (don’t want the perishables going bad).

Being able to work powerless is not for everyone. It’s not practical for some jobs or locations; neither is it cheap. However, with the resources and preparation, it can be done.

Right, where did I put my maputi?

Your Internet junkie,


Website of the week: — musical comedy, Zimbo style.

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