Virgin and AA to Launch Wi-Fi Broadband Inflight

I spotted via Boing Boing that American Airlines (AA) are about to test out wireless Internet onboard planes, with the finished product aimed to be available in six months time. Virgin also have plans in the pipeline, which aim to be brought in shortly afterwards.

Browsing inflight

Both airlines will be using Aircell’s ‘Gogo‘ technology, which will allow passengers to connect to the Internet whilst flying. This won’t be limited to simply laptops, all applications will be able to connect. So whether you want to check the weather on your iPhone or play PSP Socom online, the options are there.

The service begins testing tomorrow in the US and once launched, is expected to cost between $10 and $13 to use on long flights. This runs in sync with Ryan-air’s recently announced service to allow texting, GRPS and voice calls via OnAir‘s satellite technology.

I always just assumed the reason we hadn’t seen these kind of services commercially was because it was too dangerous and may interfere with flight controls, but I guess not. I think that it could quite radically change how boring flights usually are. For too long I’ve had to think ahead and make sure my laptop is packed with enough decent material to keep me occupied in the air. Soon I won’t have to bother, I can just browse and download at leisure. Naturally though, cost is going to paramount to its success.

World’s Biggest Drawing

I’m not too sure about this one; is this even possible? Erik Nordenankar created a self-portrait across the entire globe by sending a GPS tracking system through the skies, with a little help from DHL.

The World's Biggest Drawing by Erik Nordenankar

How was it done? By using a GPS tracking system with bespoke software that traced its own movements onto a map. This GPS was then sent around the world, in a briefcase, via DHL’s transport systems to create the image.

The briefcase became my pen and the world became my paper

Nordenankar modestly noted. I can imagine something like this takes an immense amount of planning and an unimaginable amount of co-operation with DHL, which is what makes me suspicious. Nonetheless, the video on the world’s biggest drawing website makes it that much more believable.

There’s even a list of all the directions for DHL to make the drawing possible. It’s all pretty amazing. More here:

Update: This has indeed now been confirmed as a hoax. Erik Nordenankar has been confirmed as a hoaxer after DHL revealed no such partnership took place and Nordenankar’s filming was allowed on the understanding that it would be for a college project on Stockholm warehouses. I still think it’s amazing to have the idea and to execute the hoax so incredibly. Well done Erik Nordenankar, I say.