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Subject: [IP] more on In-flight cellphone proposal hits static [the real issue!]

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To: Ip ip <>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 07:53:15 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: June 16, 2005 10:29:56 PM EDT
To:, 'Ip ip' <>
Cc: Hiawatha Bray <>
Subject: RE: [IP] In-flight cellphone proposal hits static [the real issue!]

While on my last &quot;flight&quot; (sitting on the taxiway) I quickly wrote some
additional comments which I meant to send while in the air. Since I couldn't
get an EV-DO connection I finally sent it though marked it &quot;hold&quot; so I can
write some more coherent comments.

Taxiing for two hours does make one mull about an industry that lines up
planes like little ducklings guzzling fuel vying for their turn. Even a
simple idea like assigning them positions and having them get on the runway
without waiting behind 27 other planes would help. The pilot was sure
excited when jumped from position 11 to 4 and then suddenly we were cleared
to take off to wait above Massachusetts.

I caught up on some podcasts using one of my cell phones with GSM and
Bluetooth. I realized that I'd missed the real point -- the whole idea of
thinking of this a cell phone issues and concentrating on loud people misses
the point that these are communications devices stereotyped by the orifices.

The cell phone is my digital agent. It can communicate with other devices on
the plane or allow me to listen to podcasts or stream them over the net.
Disallowing cell phones is about much more than whether I can be loud and
obnoxious -- it's about denying me the ability to connect to the larger
infrastructure just because people have not only stereotyped the users but
they have mistaken one minor application for something far more important.

It's like confusing the Internet with a television channel or a telephone
and missing the point of the whole thing.

Denying me cell phones in the plane is dangerous and short-sighted. UA is
right in saying that Wi-Fi is more important. I don't need a cell phone if
I've got Wi-Fi and can Skype and it does work even over Greenland! But UA is
stupid in banning them as if they had to make a choice.

Fatherland security wants to ban cell phones because terrorist might
communicate? Well, why do they allow people to assemble at all? We better
revoke the constitutional right to assemble because we are now defined by
terrorism. How clueless are these people -- it's like IBM's slogan Freedom
from Choice. But then, if we're on a crusade. Sorry, I can't seem to help
these asides but these are the clueless people who are trying to &quot;educate&quot;
people in their mold. They can still buy other kinds of devices and who's
going to notice phones being used anyway? If these people are trying to keep
us safe we're fucked (another reason for banning that word)!

EVDO is same technology and you can't ban one without banning the other.
Whether I can get good connectivity in the air is a separate issue and it
isn't the right architecture for going forward.

The crucial issue is the banning of technology for reasons that are no more
rational than wanting the value of pi to be 3. The absurdity should also be
obvious lacking the ability to come up with a rational way to describe good
and bad devices the airlines say that any electronic device with an on/off
switch should be turned off.

Is this anyway to run an airline? Well, if we're still treating planes as
hot rods jockeying to be the first to take off ...

After writing this I&#x2019;m find that the old idea of being more conservative as
one grows older maybe made sense in a rational world but as ideas that are
so obviously dangerous become accepted as wisdom it's only the naivet&#xE9; of
youth that allows complacency.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
David Farber
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2005 20:20
To: Ip ip
Subject: [IP] In-flight cellphone proposal hits static [rewritten]

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: June 16, 2005 5:16:42 PM EDT
To: Dave Farber <>
Subject: In-flight cellphone proposal hits static [rewritten]

Personally the cell phone ban in itself is not a pressing issue because my orifice (Verizon) forwards my cell calls to the plan and also gives me discounted usage. What&#x2019;s important is that the FCC is admitting (even if with some comments about needing research) that the ban on cell phones was based on hunches and superstition. Not only that, it compounded the myth to the point that I sometimes am told I must shut off my camera because it is digital

Notice who this attract &#x201C;add-on&#x201D; social policy because &#x201C;we all know&#x201D;
that cell phone users are obnoxious..

 From the story: Gayle James doesn't want the Federal Communications
Commission to lift its in-flight ban on cellphones in airplanes, and
here's why:

''I was seated next to a very loud man who was explaining his next
porn movie on his cellphone,&quot; wrote James, of Shelton, Wash.
''Everyone on that plane was subjected to his explicit blabbering.
Should cell use during flight be allowed, we had all better be
prepared for a whole lot of air rage going on.&quot;

Maybe the real reason for keeping the ban is that they can&#x2019;t afford
to remove all those &#x201C;No PED&#x201D; (personal electronic devices) that they
installed because everyone knows that cell phones make planes crash.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing &#x2013; a lot of superstition and
stereotyping is even worse.

I&#x2019;ve been though this before when trying to give my wife directions
to a family gathering. I was told that I was one of those obnoxious
people who showed off by using cell phones. When the clueless rule
those with a clue are heretics who must be punished.

Even though the plane isn&#x2019;t necessarily a &#x201C;first amendment&#x201D; zone,
this is yet another reminder of how easy it is use a &#x201C;just so&#x201D; story
as a cover for acting on ones fear and use it as an excuse for
imposing them on others.


The following appeared on

Headline: In-flight cellphone proposal hits static

Date:     June 16, 2005

&quot;Gayle James doesn't want the Federal Communications Commission to

lift its in-flight ban on cellphones in airplanes, and here's why:&quot;


To see this recommendation, click on the link below or cut and paste it

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