Technology Travel


Salt Lake City has a nice airport — good view of the mountains, nice places to sit and relax. I had a three hour break there between flights and had a chance to get a sandwich and a beer. When I finished, I realized it was only 10 in the morning, and followed the meal with a large cup of coffee. It was a confusing morning.

As we lined up for our 1:00 pm flight to St. Louis, we noticed a flurry of mechanics around the plane we were taking — one of those small Canadair craft that only seats 70. The Delta folks then announced that the maintenance crew wouldn’t release the plane until 1:30.

We watched through the window anxiously as the crew stuck things into slots in the plane and scanned readings on various hand held devices. I remarked to a couple of folk standing next to me that the duct tape holding the plane together was probably out of date. I also received a voice call from Orbitz warning me that my flight was delayed.

At 1:45 we were getting increasingly concerned that our flight would be canceled — especially when one of the maintenance crew left to get a manual and a group then poured over its pages. I asked the person at the desk what Delta would do if the flight was canceled and he, flustered, said that the plane was full and the only other flight that night was also full — the maintenance crew would just have to fix the plane.

Eventually, I can’t remember when exactly, they came on and said the plane had been cleared. I watched them pull instruments out and then noticed one take a piece of silver duct tape and stick it on the side, just below where the co-pilot sits. We had a nervous laugh at that.

I have one picture of them working on the plane, but I left my USB cable at my mother’s and until it arrives, no pictures. I only took one photo, though, as every time I would take a picture in the airport, security people would magically appear and just sort of ‘hang around’.

When our cramped overcrowded flight full of Very Tall People landed at St. Louis, I went to pick up my bag but it was missing. Oh, no, how could it possibly had missed the flight–I was there three hours early. I went to the office to report it and there it was: it had been sent out on an earlier flight. Another person whose bag was also sent early mentioned to the Delta attendant that this is against the law, because people’s baggage must travel with them. I didn’t care, because I just wanted to go home. When I got home though and opened it, there was a card on top saying that my bag had been opened and searched. Luckily my underwear was clean and safely packed in little snuggy bags.

As for the problem with the plane, just before we took off, the pilot said that an inboard data computer had failed during the incoming flight and that it had to be replaced and a complete diagnostic run to ensure everything was okay. This relieved all of us greatly, and I remarked to the person sitting next to me that it was too bad that this information couldn’t have been given out while we were waiting. Yes, he said, because in the absence of all information, people will make up their own interpretations of what’s happening–an interpretation usually worse than the reality.

Which, since I can’t find a human to connect with at Google about my gmail account, means that I will make up my own interpretation and it is that gmail was cracked recently and somebody deliberately deleted over a month’s worth of emails: from October 9th until new emails started coming in on the 16th of November. As such, I will no longer be using my gmail account for anything but throw-a-way communication. If you want to reach me, use No, I don’t obfuscate my email addresses as this is tantamount to putting a finger into a broken levee to hold back a raging river; it doesn’t stop the problem and only gets your finger very, very dirty.

Anyway, as to gmail: so much for Web 2.0, centralization, and the ‘power’ of applications that are always in beta.

Bingo. gmail was cracked November 17th.

Update: Cracked a few days before, but Google didn’t announce the fact.

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