Thankfully, my family fared well during Hurricane Irene. We lost power here in Hampton Roads (it's only just come back on after about 36 hours), my family in Richmond lost their power early Saturday, and it was hit or miss with my family in the DC region. A large tree missed my aunt's home by about one foot. And I found myself thinking about how our fore bearers existed in the time before electricity was commonplace (I got a lot of reading done). But one thing that really struck me during our lack of power was how the most reliable appliances in our house were the battery operated radios and battery operated lanterns.
Now, we have various other gadgets that should come in handy, but we noticed that many of them, though battery operated, required charging by electricity. Naturally, when the power goes out, that means that whatever gadget you have is only good for the length of the battery. So, I was limited to two hours on my computer, and about three hours for the television that provided important information and coverage of the storm. But once the batteries in those devices were expended, they were finished; they were no longer of any real use. Meanwhile, we pulled out the old school battery operated radios (one that we've had since the 1970s), and they worked beautifully.
That reality got me thinking. Perhaps those who design these great new gadgets that are meant to help us in our time of need could think about finding an alternative method for recharging batteries, especially in the case of power outages. Now, I have no idea about the intricacies of computer or portable television design, but I cannot imagine that it would be too difficult to come up with a way that those devices will not have to be solely dependent on electricity based rechargable batteries. Everyone likes innovation, but sometimes looking back at those so-called outdated devices can be a real help.