Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Communications Problems at the FAA

By Kelly Indrieri
Scary to think that the FAA does not have a quality backup system—but it looks like this might be the case. Yes, the FAA announced that, and I quote, "A failure in the agency’s flight plan processing system, called NADIN, took place around 1:25 p.m. Eastern Time today."

NADIN handles the flight plans filed by airlines before the aircraft take off. The plans contain information like the departure and arrival points, the type of aircraft, the route, the name of the pilot and the number of people on board, etc.

When the FAA went to switch to their backup system, which apparently was not running in real time, many of the flight plans had to be refiled and passengers were left waiting.

In a day and age when small mom and pop grocery chains are running zero downtime disaster recovery and backup systems and the FAA is not, one has to ask—should we be worried? I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

8 Miles High—and Online

By Julie Tangen
It's really happening—American Airlines is now offering internet access on flights. As someone who used to live in New York City and a frequent flyer between JFK and SFO, I always dreaded the flights because of the long periods of downtime. Although its nice to 'unplug' and essentially hide out from the world for a time, 6-8 hours is far too long to be away from email—especially when you work in high tech. As a famous person once said, "we cannot allow ourselves to commit the sin of turning our backs on time." Companies can be bought and sold, new products launched, editors are on deadline looking for quotes...all happening while I’m 35,000 feet in the air (and may as well be on the moon, as far as internet access is concerned). Eight hours in high tech can seem like an eternity.

I'd absolutely pay the $12.95 for internet access on a flight—in fact I'd probably pay a lot more. But since I live in California now and rarely do cross country flights, I suppose its a moot point :-).

I’m curious to hear what everyone else thinks about internet access on flights—let me know!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Not as "Cuil" as Google

By Julie Tangen
I've been testing out Cuil...If only its product worked as well as its marketing! With weird search results, a strange service architecture, misplaced images, and the name itself working against it (I heard a guy on the radio pronounce it as "Quill"), Cuil’s launch was less than stellar.

While I love the idea of a newer, hungrier search engine, my workload became increasingly difficult using Cuil because I couldn't find accurate references to the things I need to do my job. In fact, most of my searches resulted in nothing useful at all. Also, the style of content layout (with thumbnail inclusion) is not to my liking. Call me old fashioned, but I've grown accustomed to Google's simplicity. And it works so well that some of us probably take it for granted. If you want to rekindle your ‘Google Love’ I suggest trying Cuil for a day (or even just 5 minutes). You’ll coming running back!

I’d love to hear from others who have checked out Cuil—what was your experience?