Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I am awake at 3:45 AM (Helsinki time) because the fire alarm went off in the hallway. (I'm in the Radisson SAS Seaside Hotel in Helsinki.) Then the TV turned on. (Yay! A message.) The TV started flashing "Fire Alarm" and blaring, "Please remain calm. We are investigating the cause." The volume steadily got louder until the TV was full blast. (I couldn't turn down the volume.) Then the TV suddenly turned off. The alarm in the hallway continued. Then turned off. Then turned on. And off... over and over for awhile. Finally the alarm stopped. Either the operator of the TV emergency notification system was burned alive or they had forgotten to tell us to "it was nothing." Finally, I called down to the front desk and they said, "oh, it was nothing." Doh. This is the second false hotel fire alarm in 6 months or so. What a drag. This is sort of like hotel spam. Well, not really, but it's really annoying.

My declaration to AKMA DID flash through my head though...

Update FYI:


Joi — don’t hurry, but I’m ready and waiting when the time comes.

The declaration did come with an appropriately sized endowment, right?

That TV-based method of "calming" guests doesn't seem very calming! That would freak me out.

AKMA, I thought we had agreed on $30 / year. I suppose I would be willing to pay you extra to deal with the comment spam. How about $35?

Consider the reverse: There's a real fire. The TV does not go off. The alarms do not blast. The guy at the front desk stays fast asleep and so do you--until flames blast through the floor. It seems to me that any alarm you can complain about is worth having.

Yes. Well, I surely would rather be annoyed than dead. But, they COULD have sent a message on the TV saying, "Please excuse the inconvenience. There is no fire and you may safely resume your evening." Or something.

Hey Joi, this hotel really sucks... don't you think ? It is ugly...

When my daughter was an infant, about fifteen years ago, I had a speaking gig at the hotel in the World Trade Center. It was on the 10th or 11th floor. The morning before my speaking gig, the smoke alarms went off before dawn.

The sign on the door said to pick up the telephone for directions. But the phone had a busy signal as soon as I picked it up. I grabbed my daughter and wrapped her in blankets. I was wearing a trenchcoat over my jammies and no socks. My wife and baby and I walked ten floors down the stairwell. We got out to the big plaza and the door clicked shut behind us. Dark. Raining. Nobody else in their jammies. No fire trucks. We pounded on the window of the ground-level restaurant and they let us in. Burned toast in the kitchen had set off the smoke alarms, and the hotel-wide switchboard freaked out. The next morning, the day I was scheduled to speak at 11 AM, the smoke alarms went off before dawn. The frightening part of the story is that we STAYED IN BED.

On 9/11, we thought about those stairwells.

That must of been really horrible!! but at least you knew the fire alarm works but i have to say how poor the staff were in not calming down the residents and leaving them to be running around in their jammies!

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