• 10/31/2012
    4:19 PM
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Hurricane Sandy Delivers Tricks, No Treats, to Tech Infrastructure

Superstorm Sandy and last year's nor'easter turned Halloween into fright nights for technology users. This year's storm downed 25% of cell towers on the East Coast, flooded data centers and knocked websites offline.

While Sandy took out individual data centers, it couldn't topple the Internet at large or keep major sites offline for extended periods. "You don't hear about big content providers going offline anymore," Akamai Technologies spokesman Jeffrey Young told Reuters. "We can route around issues that are occurring."

Nevertheless, damage to exchange centers in which U.S. telecommunications backbones connect with undersea cables connecting North America to Europe did slow access to some Internet sites, according to Internet performance monitor Renesys (whose Portsmouth, N.H., data center lost power, apparently without interrupting service).

If you haven't gotten enough information about the storm yet, Google has posted a special crisis map highlighting areas of damage from Hurricane Sandy, beginning in Savannah in the south and stretching as far north as Manchester, N.H.

The default view features lightning icons to mark areas where power was knocked out; clickable features add information on traffic conditions, places road work will make traffic even worse and weather radar to let viewers know if they'll be rained on even more while waiting in traffic jams.

The map goes social and scientific with additional layers to show cloud formations, potential areas and impact of storm surge, videos from webcams and YouTube, and public alerts urging Americans to keep warm and network socially in person (in the dark, cold and wet with no food) rather than online, where at least they can find storm-related humor to relieve the monotony.

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