Air Blog A Go GoAir Blog A Go Go
There are lots of things I've wanted to do aboard a flight. Blogging wasn't really on that list. But here I am, $12.95 lighter, 36,000 feet above the earth, American Airlines Flight 34, Thursday, Aug. 21, heading from L.A. to New York. Blogging. And that's not all!
August 21, 2008
There are lots of things I've wanted to do aboard a flight. Blogging wasn't really on that list. But here I am, $12.95 lighter, 36,000 feet above the earth, American Airlines Flight 34, Thursday, Aug. 21, heading from L.A. to New York. Blogging. And that's not all!So far, in the two hours I've been here in seat 7J, I've had video chats with my colleague, David Berlind (I know, I know, etiquette -- but to hell with that right now), twittered, skyped, watched YouTube videos, watched some of the videos on our own site, done e-mail, been on Facebook ...
My plan was to sleep (it was an early flight), work for three or four hours after reading the paper, and then head leisurely into the city for a nice dinner and a good night's sleep. But nooooooo. Once Gogo Inflight was dangled in front of me like business flyer crack ... I mean, come on, is that really fair? Here's the surprising part. It works, and it works well. The video chat worked flawlessly. I tried multiple times with multiple people. I even watched a video on our site while holding a video chat. A little extra buffering on the video, but after that it streamed perfectly. AOL video didn't work as well, and I didn't try it over YIM. Skype video started but kept disconnecting. I still have a couple hours of flying left, but only once did the service disconnect -- for about 3 minutes. I accessed Web sites, held instant message conversations, listened to Pandora without a flaw, and did e-mail. Update: I'm told that AOL makes a direct connection (meaning my traffic never has to leave the airplane), and the transmission should be good. In fact, with David and one other person, I had no trouble at all, and I believe this was using the iChat client over AIM. But with my colleague Art Wittmann, it didn't work at all. Update 2: This only works above 10,000 feet. As I add this update we are going down and it will literally shut off at 10,000 feet. Also, InformationWeek just filed this story. There were several of us using the service and I have no idea whether I impacted service -- I was tempted to upload some video, but David reprimanded me for just the thought of it! It's not clear if there's any attempt to throttle usage or do a bit of traffic shaping, but we're looking into it; you'd have to assume this would become necessary. Trust me, I'm not the guy who's going to conduct voice calls on a flight; nor watch porn (as far as you know); but the idea of having an instant office up in the sky is pretty appealing. Who needs the in-flight entertainment now? Just as long as my boss doesn't know.
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