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August 13, 2006


Greg White

Whether or not you can carry on a laptop now, it seems clear that you soon will not be able to. Too much energy in the batteries. Checking a laptop is a problem, more because of the hassle than anything else.

It's interesting to consider how this will change business travel. At least until we are at a point where which computer you are using is irrelevant, it means that traveling is going to be a much larger hassle than it is now, and that means less business travel.

Another question to ask is this: assuming you have to check you laptop or, more likely still, travel without a battery at all, what effect would this have on your yearly travel budget?

Now scale that out.

Teleconferencing just got *MUCH* more interesting, and airline stocks that much less so.


http://www.britishairways.com/travel/flightops/public/en_gb :
Passengers are advised that ALL electrical or battery powered items including laptops, mobile phones, portable music players, remote controls etc cannot be carried in the cabin and must be checked in as hold baggage."

As a laptop is a basic working-tool, if you can't take it on board with you, you'd better not travel at all for business.


PS: Disruption with virtual bombs:
Heathrow is nearly shut down today. All BA flights are cancelled.

James Bowery

The solution for business travelers is pretty obvious:

Leave your storge on the net.

That's one reason I've been working on Web-based Client/SOA via TIBET(tm). Your mass storage is the net.

This could become a profit center for the airlines. All they need to do is rent their own web thin clients to passengers, which download their desktop software prior to leaving the gate and then incrementally update during flight.

At that point the market for portable thin clients at the hotels takes off.


I have a feeling this will be a temporary meassure. Business travellers are about the only customer base the airlines can continue to count on for regular travel.

While I rarely use my laptop much in flight, the thought of three or four hour flights without even a iPod to help pass the time makes me even less enthusiatic about air travel than I am now.

As for putting my laptop in checked bags. Ouch! My bags have taken a great deal of abuse over the years, plus the occasional pilfering of some of their contents. Not something I'd do willingly.

Steve Kimbrough

Take the batteries out, put them in your checked luggage, and bring the computer or other device on the plane. Not a big deal. It just means that everyone will have to have checked luggage, unless you're willing to travel without batteries, which is entirely feasible, often. Remember that thing that plugs in the wall and recharges your batteries? You can run your computer from it, too.


James Bowery: Storage on the net may be a solution, but a lot of business data is classified (marketing strategy, fares, business offers, contracts, accounts ...) and the idea of giving it to airlines makes me feel ill at ease. Plus, what about all the softwares that I like to use, and are tools of productivity, and that I surely won't find on portable thin clients ?

James Bowery

Vince, it is, of course, necessary that the cache be wiped prior to deplaning so that other users, not just the airline, will not have unauthorized access to data. Compact flash can be used for removable storage. They're running around $25/GB these days. If the airline's computers themselves can't be trusted then all bets are off, however for the vast majority of users the security measures required of airlines coupled with bonded providers of the thin clients should suffice for their purposes. The only option is for people to remove their batteries, as suggested by a prior respondant. If you can provide AC standard power to the seats then it might work. However even that doesn't really solve the problem since the remaining mass of the laptop can easily conceal devices capable of bringing down a jet (everyone has "wireless" these days). Remember, we've been very busy creating a technically educated population of potential sabateurs by opening the West's universities and removing trade restrictions. I don't think that's viable really.

As for productivity suites: The big problem was getting the specification for those tools correct. There is no reason they can't be implemented in very small packages dowloaded to web desktops if the code is factored properly. I'm talking gains of over a factor of 100 here. Concise code is also more maintainable and secure. Microsoft is collapsing under the weight of H-1b programmers. The strategy of throwing programmers at problems is rapidly being exposed for the virulent disease that it is.

John Robb


Personally, I won't check my laptop. Not going to happen.


As for the issue with all laptop,bateries etc... we can apply a little imagination and effort can't we? Afterall that is what our 4GW enemies are doing aren't they? We are warriors on a global battlefield. We are still wanting this increasingly obvious fact to be somebody elses problem! Time to wake up! Let's just accept that. The sooner we do this the sooner we can start thinking like our enemies do - with imagination and passion for what they belive in. We believe in our way of life so why aren't we hearing more voices out here directly challenging these "inconveniences" with new ways of achieving our goals; overcoming the obstacles our enemies have placed in front of us and stop whining and outsourcing our war!?

As for the laptop, batteries etc...
We start by only allowing approved individuals( backround cks, corporate sponsorship/membership for "airline workstation", only allow plug-in laptops and only make part of the plane"plug ins" ready or make
"business flights"
where all passengers are part of a prescreened environment.... just a thought and possibly a start.....

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