Episode-672- Embracing Technology as a Modern Survivalist — 35 Comments

  1. Just this last weekend I was at the BOL with my family. As we were leaving, I took a look at my cellphone (I just traded the iPhone for an Android) and there was a notification. I looked at it and it was a severe weather notification for our area. I pulled up the weather radar app and took a look at significant weather in the area. I decided that it would be best if we headed home and rode out the storms there. The route home was clear. It also looked like there was indeed a storm headed toward the BOL.

    Long story short, my dad and I are going out to the BOL to clear some of the downed trees from the tornado that hit the hill just west of the cabin.

    Technology can most definitely aid the decisions if used properly.


    An app that streams and stores video footage immediately to the web even if the device you are shooting with is taken and the video is deleted or destroyed.

  3. Speaking of off-site data storage, here some reviews of free sites by Gizmo’s Freeware:

    What’s the Best Free Online Storage Service?

    Free online file storage services are proliferating but which is best? Our Hot Tips Editor Robert Schifreen feels that the extra storage offered by is a winning feature but some of our readers prefer the extra features offered by Dropbox and other services. Whatever your needs you find useful information here to help you decide what’s best for you.

  4. Super show today and right up my alley! I had to laugh, though, at the funny typo in your intro above about ‘riding a hose to work’. That would DEFINITELY be low-tech – and not terribly efficient. Could be funny, though. If our non-prepper neighbours think we’re crazy now, that would seal the deal… :o) I’m going to have another listen to this one – thank you again for your brilliant content.

  5. Without disagreeing with you at all on this, it also brings to mind other cases when we are deceived about modern technology being better.

    I brought my scythe to a friend’s farm and showed how much quicker the scythe was at cutting down 5 ft tall giant ragweed than either a weed wacker or lawn mower. They were impressed.

  6. Using iPOD touch, and iPAD which are not phones, I have found the SKYPE app to be VERY useful. Google Earth is always nice. JotNotPro is a “poor man’s” scanner, makes PDFs. MyRadar give current weather radar shots. Evernote and Dropbox I use equally, both have value for storing files and pictures. QuickOffice allows you to edit MicroSoft office files that you’ve stored on Dropbox, but it’s not free. WhatKnot for learning knots. Justin.TV allows your iPOD to become an instant Spy Cam to transmit to other computers. and of course, Army Survival – the FM 21-76 in digital APP format.

  7. Thanks for mentioning the LDS church and their resources. I noticed that you didn’t put the link to their preparedness site, so here it is so any other listeners can go there quick.

    Thank you also for the show.

  8. I use the Craigslist Notification app on the Android market and it is great. Put in what you are looking for in the area you want, put in a price that you can spend and bam it shows you the results and sends you a notification to your phone when new ones are posted to craigslist that meet your search criteria.

  9. Google maps mobile with traffic and latitude(friend location feature) on Android smartphone.
    There was a bad storm in Detroit yesterday, lots of flooding. I pulled up Google maps and saw that my wife was not going to make it to pick up my son before the daycare closed (I saw her location and every road between her and my son was red). I also saw the traffic was red on the interstate I usually take. I was able to use Google Maps to route back roads around the traffic, I also found a really cool way to go home with a scenic drive. I saved money on daycare extra charge, spent extra time with my son, and didn’t spend hours sitting in traffic on the interstate.

  10. If you have an Android device check out the Amazon Android App Store. They give away a different app every day for free.

    +1 on Google maps mobile. I’ve used it in conjunction with the Navigator feature to add another layer of redundancy to our Bug Out information packets. If we don’t have our GPS or our car we can still find our way to our rally points, a backup for our backup backup

  11. Jack, I think a lot of people from the prepper world are just plain frustrated with the staggering number of grasshoppers who have been seduced by the ease of technology, and who have subsequently bought into the delusion that technology will never let them down. So perhaps there’s a baby/bathwater thing going on there as far as the amount of (blind) resentment or dismissiveness that SOME preppers levy at technology. I’m not saying they are right nor even justified for such attitudes. I’m just saying that baby/bathwater syndrome is a very sneaky thing no matter what area of one’s life it infiltrates. And the only antidote to that scourge is a heightened ability to sort through things logically. So thank you for offering your own opinions on how we can all better sort through the technology conundrum when it comes to being a survivalist. I think being able to separate various issues in life is one of the most basic requirements of being a fully functioning and competant adult citizen –impacting how we shop, how we choose a spouse, how we vote for a candidate, how we serve and then deliberate on a jury, etc.

    Now I honestly don’t know how to say this without either sounding like a kiss-up or a crab-apple, but here goes:

    I daresay that easilly half the content of your podcasts involves your opinions on how to correctly separate issues one from another — what to priorotize and why. And you seem to be unusually gifted at that kind of separation, which is essentialy what makes your show such a cut above the majority of all the survivalist blogs and vlogs and podcasts and whatever other preeper media can be found out there. Maybe you just take it for granted that not everyone can engage in that level of incisive separation on so many areas of life.

  12. Jack, I think we prep for different levels of WTSHTF. Most natural disaster situations will not force us to use things like a bow drill to make fire, but even in Joplin we see that cell phones are not working and communications difficulties are causing problems with determining missing versus dead or living persons.

    In TEOTWAWKI, cell phones, their apps, GPS, and most other modern things will cease to exist. Perhaps part of the problem is the old apples versus oranges thing. I believe in using whatever is available in an emergency situation. I have been in situations where most were very uncomfortable because the things they normally relied upon such as credit cards, cell phones, etc. were not available.

    Great Podcast and it got the old brain cells stirring.

  13. I use the mapquest app. This is a free app which gives you voice directed turn by turn directions. I have AT&T so I can be talking on the phone and the app will still give me the voice directions without interrupting my telephone conversations.

    My other favorite apps are HULU and Netflix. I have subscriptions to both services for my home entertainment but they have turned out to be very useful when in the car with bored children. You simply start a tv program and hand them the phone. That is real survival!

  14. Hello,

    Here is the list of apps I have on my iPhone for prepping, etc, that I’ve found useful
    GardenTrackr – square foot gardening
    Mayo Clinic
    First Aid
    First Aid
    On the Grill
    Cook’s Illustrated
    Food Sub
    Betty Crocker Cookbook

  15. I ran across this app the other day for the iphone, ipad.Its called the leafsnap.
    Take a picture of a leaf that you don’t recognize and it will tell you what it is.
    Haven’t tried it yet but am kinda anxious. Of course I have an android and they haven’t put one out for those yet but i hear they are working on one. If anybody has used it, I would love to hear how it is.

  16. In fun — and please take it that way — here’s a new definition for the twenty-teens:

    App Clown: Someone who bumps into you or otherwise inconveniences or annoys you because they are moving through life fixated on their electronic gizmo instead using their natural senses to experience the great here and now.

  17. We use Google Sketchup for every building project we do. It’s free and extraordinarily powerful. You can even import slope data from google earth for your area. Absolutely crucial program for us.

  18. To download lots of files from a website I use a FF plugin called “DownThemAll”.

    Allows you to right click on a webpage and select what files to download, where to put them, etc. then it downloads them in the background. Very useful for places that have lots of PDF’s available.

  19. Gawd, I loathe high-tech anything due to a non-functional left brain, but you’re right, I need to get my Luddite arse in gear and catch up.

    Unrelated – Jack, you mentioned growing up in Pottsville and it dawned on me – you and Dick Marcinko (Rogue Warrior,Seal Team Six) grew up in virtually the same place & circumstances – he’s from Lansford. I hope that doesn’t mean you can eat peas through your nose.

  20. Encrypt your USB drive to protect any important docs you may have with Truecrypt .Its Free (as in beer) and compatable with Windows Mac and Linux. You can even create a hidden encrypted volume for super sensitive docs. If someone forces you to give up a password, you give them the non hidden volume password, that contains less sensitive documents, hiding the real documents you wish to protect.

    Also consider using GnuPG for file/email encryption and digital signatures.

    Be sure not to forget your passphrase or your won’t be able to unencrypt.

  21. I live in a lean-to and have a netbook with dual core processor and 700GB of storage and a pen drive with extra 4GB. I have thousands of ebooks, photos, videos, ISO images,and a place to dump camera photos and videos. If I had a solar charger I could live post SHTF (sans Internet, but maybe local networks)and have all the Ron Hood videos, survival ebooks, etc to reference.

    I hate anti technology sheeple weekend warrior “survivalists”. It usually boils down to finances and poverty for the reason they hate technology or they are hypocrites. One guy, for example, talked crap to me for bringing a netbook, wrist watch, compass (Good God, he has a compass!!!), maps, and even DMT diafold portable diamond sharpeners in the mountains forests. I found out he was at the end of unemployment and going to 200.00 a month in food stamps, had four clocks and one that told the time every half hour in the house, three computers, play station, addicted to World of Warcraft, and his crap talking was the jealousy of he could not afford it, so he got a small man complex.

    So, live by the beat of your own drum and F*&k the rest of the world!

  22. I use an app called spend to easily log my spending. Another awsome app is evernote. You can scann things in with it and save them to the cloud and then search the text its scanned in. Great for things like reciepts etc.

  23. My GPS Drive by MotionX review (alert Jack!):

    Apr 12, 2011
    Without the $2.99/30 days or $19.99/one-year live voice ‘guidance package’ the app is worthless. Nothing more than a glorilied Maps app. The catch is that the live guidance package doesn’t only apply to voice guidance, it also applies to turn-by-turn. They roped me in with thirty days free (in witch time I was going to write a good review) then shot me down with this whopper. I never would have purchased it if I knew that without the voice feature you can’t even get turn-by-turn without clicking the screen every five minutes and risking a potential accident (almost experienced this shortly alter the trial ended).
    Again don’t buy unless you plan on purchasing the monthly or yearly fees. Hope this is helpful for those searching.

  24. Imap Weather Radio

    Similar to the radios Jack spoke of in the podcast, this app will alert you in your sleep when impending weather is upon you. It was free in its first day’s launch but now it’s $9.99. It’s woke me up a few times about severe weather at my BOL.

  25. Jack mentioned the 5-0 Radio Pro iPhone app in this show. There is a free ‘Lite’ version that has all the same police/fire/ems feeds. The ‘Pro’ version is the only app I have purchased for the iPod Touch I have had for a year. I got it simply because it allows you to place the audio in a background mode and you can continue to use the rest of your apps (as long as you don’t need Safari) and still monitor the scanner.

    To tie into the money saving tips shows, many apps have free/lite versions that allow you to try something before you pay for the full featured app.

  26. Jack, I would like to hear more about your kindle books, what are some books you recommend?

  27. Jack love the podcast keep up the good work.

    Just want to make two comments the first being that if you worried an app on your smartphone will fail if the network goes down, try using it with your phone in airplane mode. If it doesn’t work then, you should count on it when the shtf.

    Second is that while the Kindle app is really cool and all, you can’t beat an actual Kindle when it comes to battery life and readability. Being able to grad your entire library in an 8 oz package doesn’t hurt either.

    My $.02, be well

  28. Last week during some pretty rough storms rolling through DFW we couldn’t get cellphone calls or texts in or out. The data network wasn’t working either. We hadn’t lost power in our area and I think only a few people in DFW were out of power. We ended up communicating with my mother-in-law via Facebook by using our wifi on our phones to let her know we were ok and vice versa. I was glad we had at least one avenue of communication. It made me think that I need to get off my butt and get a land line, as well as explore other options like ham and CB radio.

  29. I would have to agree with your comments about the importance of networking for finding a job and the resume being all but dead.

    You have made comments on other shows about how the amount of time you have been laid off from a job will affect your marketability.

    In 2009 I landed a job at what seemed to be a promising startup and was fired 6 months later for going to the hospital for the birth of my son. They even went to the point of trying to stop me from collecting unemployment after the fact.

    Because it was such a horrible parting I could not use them as a reference and almost kept them off my resume altogether.

    Before this job, I had been laid off from another company that went under during the fall of 2008 when the economy took a bath. Before that I had been working for myself for 6 years making a decent living as a web/multimedia designer until the economy imploded and my clients were all going out of business or not spending money anymore. My input began to increase exponentially and I was actually making less money even though I was working 3x harder.

    Because of having worked for myself for so long and having 2 full time jobs where I was let go, after my son was born it took me almost a YEAR to find a new job.

    This company was looking for someone to fill my position for several months and I applied to the company through their web site and sent my resume TWICE and did not get a single response.

    One day a good friend of mine told me that this company was seeking to fill this position and I stated that I had applied TWICE and could not get them to even grant me an interview.

    My friend knows the people I now work with very well and forwarded my resume directly to the persons responsible for filling the position and I had a new job within ONE WEEK.

    Human Resources would not give me the time of day because of the “gaps” in my resume and the amount of time I had been completely unemployed. I found out this from the inside. However, when my resume was handed to the head of Marketing by my FRIEND, I was called in for an interview THAT DAY and hired a few days later.

    I can attest to the fact that this group I work with typically hires new employees out of the pool of people they know. The company policy is that HR forwards resumes to the department heads that THEY feel are worthy and the department heads are only allowed to pick from those candidates, but all the department heads pretty much ignore that rule, but as a result of that policy a large number of highly qualified candidates were DISCARDED because of a certain HR employee who did not like the resumes.

    That particular HR employee was discarded after a number of complaints about several of the best candidates for jobs not making it through her screening process.

    That is just one prime example of how important having a network of friends in your chosen profession is. I may be working at Burger King right now even though I have over 14 years of professional experience if it were not for my friends in the business.

    When I used to work for myself people would always ask me how I got new clients. My answer was usually “by going out drinking” which was actually the truth. I gained several clients by going to business networking events over the years.

    Just having a beer with someone and talking shop for a few minutes, or giving someone some suggestions they can put to practical use was enough to push my credentials to the top of their list when it was time to hire someone to handle their online marketing.

    Long post but I can’t overstate the importance of these things.

    I am having severe financial problems right now and have been so completely stressed out with a new baby, etc., that I have all but stopped networking and let a lot of my contact list go quite stale.

    I can assure those who read all of this that a great deal of my financial problems could be solved if I had kept up with networking even though I switched to going back into a “stable” full time job vs. working for myself.

  30. I’m running a little behind on the podcasts and as I listened to this one I realized the technology I was using that allowed me to listen and be productive. I have a high quality 900 MHz wireless stereo headphone. It has about a 250 foot range, and allows me to listen to podcasts and other audio on the computer while working in the garden, the shop, or other places around the homestead. By adding a good text to speech application you can also listen to non-audio sources. Since the podcasts run about an hour, it also forces me to take breaks every now & then, which in my case is a good thing.

  31. Greetings,

    I am a Severe Weather Spotter in Northeast Indiana and here are the Weather Apps that I use to monitor the weather.

    Weather Alert USA – by Softpeas LLC
    Currently $3.99 at the Itunes App Store
    Great App, uses NOAA Weather data and radar to alert you based on preferences. Also lets you monitor multiple locations and will alert you for all Weather related Watches and Warnings, as well as other public alerts, ie Child Abduction, Earthquake Warning, Excessive Heat, etc. Has acceptable Radar display to show Rain, Thunderstorm movement and has the capability to zoom , with loss of resolution. Also has the ability to play audio from the NOAA Weather Radio.
    I consider this App a must have for anyone with
    an Iphone. Well worth the money.

    For those of you that would like better radar imagery, purchase the Radarscope App by Base Velocity LLC. It is a little on the expensive side, currently $9.99 in the Itune App store,
    however I consider this to be well worth the money. This App provides NEXRAD Level 3 Radar Data from the NOAA. THere is a function for showing different Reflectivity and Velocity displays and allows you to change the radar site that you are receiving data from on the fly. All Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm and Flash Flood Warning are also displayed with the Radar Data.
    Zoom in and out with loss of resolution.

  32. Full Disclosure on my previous post. I have no affiliation with either of the apps that I have endorsed. Just wanted to share my experience. Thanks

  33. jack,

    The shop savvy app is nice, thank you. I am kind of an appaholic, but have one app I use almost everyday that is very good. Its called topo maps and I use it on my iphone. You can download maps, its accurate and you can transfer points to your computer. I highly recommend this one, check it out.

    Just starting to listen to the program and have really been enjoying it.