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December 01, 2005

Air Skyping

Like most people who travel a lot, I read USA Today on return flights.  The November 30th edition had an article by Kevin Maney about Air Skyping.  That's where you connect to the internet from 30,000 feet and then talk to people on the ground via Skype or some other VoIP soft phone.  He says El Al, SAS and Lufthansa will sell you a broadband connection for about $30 a flight, but they probably didn't foresee how they were enabling free phone calls to the ground when they set it up.  I agree with Kevin that there is great potential for air rage as passengers beat the guy who will not shut up the entire flight across the Atlantic.
In the Newark Airport today I heard a guy in the bathroom complaining loudly on a cell phone about his boss and how he is NEVER rewarded for doing anything right.  He's under constant pressure and is not appreciated AT ALL.  He sounded like he was about to blow a gasket and I wondered if he realized that everyone in the restroom couldn't help but hear his complaints.  Surely the person on the other end could hear the toilets flushing all around but he didn't seem to care.  I assumed that the guy was probably a sales person in a slump, or an IT guy who didn't get noticed unless something wasn't working.  Sad to say, he was wearing a TSA uniform.  I'd hate to be trapped next to him on a flight as he vented.
Kevin believes the cell phone ban on airliners has saved lives, not because of the potential to interfere with navigation equipment, but for the anger that it could provoke amongst the fellow passengers.  Kevin's blog is here.  He's a funny guy who really gets technology, despite the mean things he once said about speech recognition.  He's also the brother of Dave Maney, a successful Colorado entrepreneur, song writer and a good friend of mine who, as far as I know, has never said anything mean about speech recognition.

December 1, 2005 in Web/Tech | Permalink


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