Power to the people… or, Let my people surf.

Posted: May 10, 2012 in hardware, iphone, technology
Tags: , , , , ,

A rant; mostly.  You have been warned.
Mobile devices are great, as long as there is a power source nearby to recharge them since for the most part they suck the juice quickly.

This hit home for me as I was checking thru security at the airport in Thunder Bay with my electronic boarding pass and noticed my iPhone was about to die.  Panic set in as I saw my fight was delayed and I wondered if I’d have power long enough to show my boarding pass when I eventually was allowed to embark.
Thankfully a girl found me charming enough (don’t laugh, I can be charming when needed, it just may not be evident from my rants) to offer up one of the outlets on the only accessible 120v receptacle in the airport boarding area and also the seat next to her to plug in my power adapter.  For such a busy airport, you’d think they’d at least be as equipped as the smaller ones, but it would seem no.
We got to talking since we were both stuck waiting for the same delayed flight, and in true Canadian fashion I offered up my iPhone as a personal hotspot since, while she had power, the airport we were at was so backwoods as to not have free WiFi.  Seriously?  Even the tiny little airport in Sault Ste Marie has free WiFi, but not the supposed “Northern Hub” Thunder Bay.  Power and connectivity are two things we take for granted but also are two things we need in this always-on always-connected world.  So anyway, as it happens I have a fairly good data package and could easily turn on my personal hotspot feature on my iPhone to help out.  Quid pro quo.

As I write this I am sitting on the airplane, with airplane mode on, wondering why we can have power connections on a bus or train to charge devices but not on an airplane? At least not the small ones I get to frequent while flying around Ontario.  I’m not talking about running a hair dryer here, or an electric kettle, I’m talking about low draw portable devices like phones and tablets.  Most of the modern planes have switched to LED lighting so there is some spare power available now, especially since most people never use the reading lights on planes anymore what with the majority of reading being done on electronic devices.  Of the 11 people around me (my row and the one in front and in behind) 9 were using portable electronics.
Also, why is it that the stewardess can use a wireless credit card machine to make drink purchases for passengers but if I turn on my wireless signal the plane is going to crash?  Surely we can have power and WiFi or allow cellphone service on planes by now.  This isn’t the early days of cellphone technology, so why are we still being treated as such?  Is it actually a problem, or is it just a perceived problem like the “don’t use your cellphone while filling your gas tank?” (Mythbusters disproved that one a while back).
Look at it this way Mr Airline, there is a definite market for it, and you can use it as a justifiable reason for charging such ridiculous prices to fly.  Okay, so maybe it wouldn’t justify the prices, but it would ease the pain a little.



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