[conspire] power outage, emergencies, fast newsy information, etc.

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Jan 31 21:33:53 PST 2010

Quoting Michael Paoli (Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu):

> Good points made else-thread.
> Trying not to be too redundant, I'll add:


Er, you're sort of belabouring the obvious, in addition to repeating
things already covered.

> PG&E's web site and power outage status details?  Can't totally fault
> PG&E for that (it's much better than it was years ago). 

Well, why not?  I certainly can.

http://www.pge.com/myhome/customerservice/energystatus/outagemap/, the
PG&E Electric System Outage Map, professes to give detailed,
date-stamped information about service area outages.  It does -- and, in
the one case where I've been able to test the accuracy of that data
against observed reality, literally 100% of the data reported (about my
neighbourhood's outage) were totally wrong.

I infer that they're relying on the fact that people seldom _do_ check
that data's accuracy, and keep it running strictly to pacify members of
the public, rather than to inform them.  The map illustrates nicely the
difference between data and information:  It's chock-full of data to
pacify data geeks, but completely fails to inform.

I'm not _at all_ faulting PG&E for lacking complete, detailed
information.  I'm faulting them for claiming to have that data, and
showing a data display that _purports_ to be accurate, when obviously
they had no basis for those claims.

Nobody put a gun to their heads and made them say "Start Time of Outage:
01/19/2010 11:23:00 AM" for an outage that started around 1 AM:  They
could just as easily have said "Start Time of Outage: 01/19/2010 time

> Also, there are other very timely sources :-)

...and, if people _know_ that the PG&E Electric System Outage Map is a
worthless and misleading piece of shit, maybe those other sources will
get more reliance.  Thus my point.

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