As I’m writing this I’m watching the clouds over the mountains between the east and west of Norway from above. On this DY 1354 flight to Edinburgh with Norwegian Air Shuttle I was promised Internet connectivity, but technical errors occurred and I had to write this blog post in my OpenOffice editor instead of in the WordPress back-end. I got a bit disappointed, but now writing and having a cup of coffee I’m satisfied. Internet aboard airplanes is not a habitual necessity, and my hope for a connection was related to curiousness and not from withdrawal. I hope you already have understood that this post is not a complaint, it’s the opposite: a positive feedback on the new frontier of the ever more ubiquitous Internet.
This Boeing 737-800W has an altitude of 30.000 feet, and a speed of 820 kilometres per hour and still it should be connected to the cloud*. I don’t know what kind of connectivity the plane has, but I would suppose a terrestrial solution at a lower frequency e.g. the 450 MHz formerly used by the pre-GSM Nordic mobile network, now by companies such as ICE. Two years ago I attended a broadband conference at the airport that I just left and here I heard about the fantastic technology serving high-speed transportation vehicles with connectivity. At this conference the example was a Japanese high-speed train, but I would guess the technology also goes for aircrafts.
I wanted connectivity to get the latest reports from Steve Jobs presentation held at the Apple Developer Conference simultaneously with this flight. At this presentation quite firm rumours were telling that a new cloud service named iCloud would be presented. According to MacRumours iCloud is a new service to share content between different devices through the cloud. I didn’t get cloud connectivity on this flight, and I didn’t get to follow the Apple CEO’s presentation, however, I find it quite poetical and technical interesting that the metaphorical and the denotational cloud have been unified. I hope that I on my next flight will have the opportunity to try Internet at its margin: the cloud in the sky.
* At this point I should introduce the cloud as a metaphor. If you know what I mean with my usage of the word you can continue reading the main post. Perhaps you have heard expressions such as “cloud computing” or “connected to the cloud” before. It has for a long time been a tradition depicting Internet as a cloud on networks schematics. This has its practical reasons as the Internet is quite complex and we can abstract its underlying structure by just displaying it as a cloud.
Picture is taken by Edward Kim and uploaded on Flickr under a Creative Commons licence. Refer to the Flickr page for more information.