Survive and thrive

When disaster strikes, will you rise to the occasion? PC Perspective gives you this (questionably) insightful guide into surviving a snowed-in car, while still maintaining your ability to work or play with your gear.


PCPerspective is not responsible for people taking this Editorial too literally. This article is intended to be fun, informative, and not necessarily a definitive guide on how to survive in a snowed-in car. We leave that kind of training for the Scouts.

The following article uses PriceGrabber links so you can get an idea of how much these items cost currently. Linking to manufacturer’s MSRPs / product pages are sometimes not helpful in that respect.

It’s winter and you’re heading to school or work, suddenly you hit a patch of ice and your car ends up in ditch. Assuming you’re not dead or unconscious, here is how to stay productive while waiting for:

a)    The authorities to save you.
b)    Spring to arrive.
c)    The hungry bears to leave so you can flag down a passing car.

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Keep the Lights and Engine Running:
The key to enjoying your new found solitude is to keep yourself comfortable. This means keeping the engine running for heat, and the lights on so you can see what you’re doing. Keeping the lights on also makes it easier for rescuers to spot you. However, if your exhaust is blocked by ice or snow, you’d probably want to turn off the engine or risk poisoning yourself.

You can amuse yourself for a few minutes by flicking on and off the lights and pretend you’re at a Trance club – c’mon, you’ve always wanted to do this, but always too shy to do it in public.

Power your Gadgets:
Turning your car’s 12 volt AC into 110 volt DC house-hold current is key. This requires a simple power inverter available at most hardware and department stores. This Kensington inverter has both a single 3-prong outlet, as well as a USB port for your mobile device.

If you’re out of gas or your engine is dead, then the sun is your new best friend. Aside from being better for the environment, you can’t deny the green-geek factor in owning photovoltaic cells. If you’re looking to power just your handheld, then this iceTech i101 charger should be enough.

But if that’s too puny for your tastes, or would like something to run your laptop on as well, try the Voltaic line of products like the Voltaic Solar Charger backpack.

Boost your Connectivity

So you’re stuck in the woods and in your car, and suddenly see the ghost of that Verizon guy in the thicket mocking you ( “Can you hear me now? Good!”).  You check your phone, zero bars.  But don’t despair you’ve prepared yourself for this eventuality.

You yank out your Wi-Ex zBoost  car cell phone booster and whammo, you’re Tweeting your l33tness to all your buddies who didn’t have the guts to commute.

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If you have tethering on your phone, you’re ready to rock and roll with your laptop too! But in case you don’t, you can get a Wifi signal booster as well…

Assuming your adapter has a SMA connection (not many do, so get one now if you’re accident prone) you can get a D-Link ANT24 which helps increase your adapter’s ability to connect to weak signals.

Creature Comforts

Ever tried using your laptop while driving? That pesky steering wheel always gets in the way doesn’t it? Now that you’re in a ditch, you can use both hands to type, but that steering wheel is still in the way. Enter the Bracketron Universal Vehicle Laptop Mount. By putting the laptop on a tray, you’re free to use both hands for … work.

Soon you’re going to get hungry, so rather than cannibalize your left foot or go foraging for berries where equally hungry mammals live, you can bulk up with supplements instead.

Eventually gas and power is going to run out, and the sun will set – now how do you keep warm without the ambient heat from all your electronics? Sure Solar Blankets are economical, but where’s the fashion chic? Get yourself a Snuggie instead, or better yet, get the Street Fighter IV Snuggie and spend some quality time with Blanka and Balrog.

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Congratulations! You have either polished off that budget justification spreadsheet and sent it off to your CFO, or you’ve been attacked by a pack of wild coyotes drawn to you by the hypersonic sounds of the wifi antenna on your car roof.

Either way, you can laugh at all your detractors and critics because you finally put your geek car survival pack to good use … for a few hours anyway.

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