Thursday, June 01, 2006

Circling Chicago

I went to Santa Barbara over the Memorial Day weekend to see my mother.

The flight from Cleveland was uneventful--extremely and uncomfortably uneventful, since the connecting flight from Chicago to Los Angeles was delayed for six hours or so by bad weather between the two cities. An hour or so of the delay was even spent sitting on the runway at O'Hare, waiting for permission to take off.

The return flight was even more uneventful, since, because of thunder storms over Chigaco, I was some twelve hours late in getting back to Cleveland. I even had a four or five hour sleep, of sorts, in a chair at O'Hare, before I could get on a continuing flight to Cleveland.

Were that all, I do not think that I would comment on the trip.

There was, however, one happening that I find mildly interesting.

The thunder storms over Chicago lasted so long that the plane had to be diverted to Madison, Wisconsin for refueling--a process that took surprisinly little time. But then the plane just sat there while the pilot waited for the computer data that would tell him the weight of the fuel and where it was distributed in the plane and, I guess, other information that he needed before taking off again for Chicago.

Finally the rear door of the plane--a door that proclaimed that it was only to be opened in emergencies--opened and an agent came in carrying a large stack of computer print-outs, which was delivered to the captain up in the cockpit. And then the agent departed, again through the rear door, and, after a while, we took off again for Chicago.

I couldn't see whether the agent carrying the print-outs was wearing sneakers, but when I asked a flight attendant why they were using such a high-tech way of getting the data to the cockpit, she explained that there was way too much data to relay in any other fashion. So I guess that the good old sneaker net is still alive and well.

As the saying goes, "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway."


Blogger Seth Finkelstein said...

I doubt it's bandwidth which is the bottleneck.

It's probably more compatibility.

A stack of paper always works.

11:44 PM  

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