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OQO Model-02 Survives the Florida Fires – Well sort of…



Well it happened again. Leave it to me to get my hands on the newest and coolest toy and end up giving it an accidental “Rob” test. Today, while traveling to Tampa through North/Central Florida, the new OQO Model 02 got the “Eddie” test.


If those that are not aware, South Georgia and North/Central Florida have been hit by wildfires the likes of which have not been seen in many, many years. Now, I should have passed the the Model-02 on to Rob by now, but could not resist the urge to take my new favorite UMPC on my weekly Tampa trip. I was really curious how well the Sprint Mobile Broadband on this demo unit would compare to Verizon’s service while traveling. So, I fired up the OQO and the provided Sprint service and placed it securely in the passenger seat, nestled on my computer bag like I have done with many other systems. Mistake #1.

I was moving right along on US-301 South, the weather was great, traffic was light, the tunes were on and life was good. It was one of those beautiful mornings when you are really glad to be alive. Little did I know how true this would become. Now for any who know me, I lean towards the obsessive side when it comes to safety. Yes, I was about 5 MPH over the posted limit (65MPH+5), but there was no traffic, and driving conditions were absolutely ideal. So I thought. Mistake #2.

I came around sharp curve to find myself faced with what looked like a whisper of fog across the road. Mistake #3. It was not fog; it was smoke. And it got thick; quicker than my brain could tell my right foot to back off. Within a couple of seconds, I was standing on the brakes and praying that the gap between me and the tail end of a completely stopped 18 wheeler would not run out before I got my GMC Yukon halted. Luckily it did not. I had all of about 6 feet to spare. Whew! However, in just as many seconds, the smoke become so thick, our vehicles were completely engulfed. I literally could not see the centerline of the road just outside the drivers side window. To avoid being rear-ended by another vehicle, I quickly tucked myself between two 18 wheelers (one of which was the one I almost rear ended) and crept the next 2 miles for what seemed like an hour all but completely blind. Eventually the smoke cleared. Once I stopped at the next station, got my heart, stomach, and other body parts back in their proper orientation and location, I glanced down to find the OQO Model-02 in the floorboard. Actually, I had heard it hit (big thud) when I stood on the brakes. That was the least of my worries at the time and I forgot about it in the moment. I could not see if it survived because it was face down. Everything was still in one piece. The first thing I noticed was that the antenna was not extended. First thought; it broke during the crash to the floorboard. Mumbling a few words under my breath about how stupid it was for me to have it out, I reached down, picked it up, and was a bit concerned to find it was not powered up. Upon booting it, it came up like nothing ever happened. Now, I was not in a position to hear it “scream” when it fell, but my best guess is that it was asleep or powered off through the whole ordeal as there were no notifications once Vista booted. The antenna had somehow retracted safely back into the unit. Whew! The display, battery and unit were in proper order. Another close call.

Two “Whew’s” in one day is enough. The OQO survived a pretty good smack while powered down and by doing so, gave me a good bit more confidence in it’s ability to survive a drop (at least powered down) and I survived a potentially deadly accident. All in all, it ended up being a pretty darn good day. Note to Self: NO MORE “EDDIE” TESTS!

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