Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 1st Dec 2012 09:05 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes I was on vacation to the US last week, and a few technology-related things stood out to me. One, the in-flight entertainment things aboard international Delta flights are absolutely terrible. Worst software I've ever used, and many of them were plain broken. iPads/Android tablets please, Delta. Second, there were more employees than customers in the Las Vegas Apple Store. Since there were a reasonable amount of customers, there were even more employees. It looked ridiculous. Are they all like that? Three, using a Windows Phone 8 device to mooch off an Apple Store's wifi is strangely satisfying. Four, there are a lot of technology commercials on US TV, and they are all corny as hell. Two iPads playing piano? Children holding a PowerPoint presentation to convince their parents to switch mobile plans? Seriously? Is this what this industry has come to? Five, it's pretty clear iPads and iPhones are way, way, way more popular in the US than in The Netherlands. You see them everywhere, and people display them so openly. It was jarring. In The Netherlands, I always feel as if people are ashamed to take devices out of their pockets in the first place. No wonder US-based writers like Gruber and Arment think Apple dominates everything - if you rarely leave the US, it seems as if they do! Six, and this is not technology related at all but I want to get it off my chest because us Europeans could learn a thing or two from it: Americans are the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with. I knew this from my existing American friends and from my previous trip to the US (Texas, ten years ago), but it bears repeating. Open, interested, kind, helpful, considerate, and nice. Not exactly qualities I'd ascribe to most of my fellow countrymen. Alright, as you were!
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Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sat 1st Dec 2012 17:40 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

1) Those crappy media players the airlines use are cheap cost-wise. Considering most people fool around on their cell phone, laptop, or tablet, there's no good reason for an airline to dump a bunch of investment into ipads for in-flight entertainment.

2) I've never heard anyone complain about there being too many employees ready to serve customers. That's a new one, and it's pretty crazy that anyone would _not_ see it as a good thing.

4) I don't know that there are many more technology commercials here than in any other modern country, but I do agree most of them are stupid and that's certainly not exclusive to the US. Most commercials are dumb no matter where in the world they come from.

5) It's no secret Apple products are popular here. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. No ground-breaking story there. People don't really display their mobile devices, it's more that they use them a lot of the time without courtesy or consideration of others, or in plain idiocy. Within the last year I've seen:

- people using both hands to text, eyes looking down at their cell phone, while driving (one woman was doing this at 65+mph on the freeway)

- a number of people texting while they walk right into other pedestrians, inanimate objects, and even oncoming traffic

- people holding up lines at the grocery store, coffee shop, etc. because they're too busy talking or texting on their cell phone to finish their transaction so the next person in line can be served

- countless cell phone rings, text message alerts, and bright cell phone screens lit up during movies at the theater. (thankfully most of them stopped when confronted, or were kicked out)

This list could go on forever... Cell phones, and especially texting, has brought out some of the worst behavior I've ever seen in people. It's not limited to obnoxious teenagers either. If anything I would say adults are easily worse. Generally speaking people here are nice, helpful, etc. It's typically just when cell phones or douche-bag driving are in the picture that things get really ugly.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by David on Sat 1st Dec 2012 18:46 in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

The in flight entertainment systems were not inexpensive. In fact, they were inordinately expensive for the airlines to buy. The reason they are bad is because they aren't mass-market devices, and they're made by specialty manufacturers for a very small market (a few airlines), so they must be produced on the cheap but cost a lot, which is a bad combo, because when they have glitches or break outright, the airline is loath to pay for the kinds of upgrades they really need.

That's why I predict that in flight entertainment is going to diverge into two paths: economy passengers will have simple satellite TV-based entertainment, while premium cabin passengers will be given fully-stocked iPads. Some of the newer and more cutting-edge airlines such as Virgin are already doing the iPad thing, and JetBlue has a pretty foolproof DirecTV-based system.

It's possible that some day the economy cabin will have an actual iPad mini embedded in the seatback (not a handheld one though, because it would be too hard to keep track of them). Now that advanced entertainment software and hardware is being produced at mass-market volumes, the specialty equipment is a dinosaur.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by terrakotta on Sat 1st Dec 2012 19:07 in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
terrakotta Member since:
2010-04-21

Why not just have a decent datanetwork (considering the current consoles need one too, I suppose it is already in place) and have a usb port (or more) available at all the seats. That way they can allow the use of electronic devices (the current media systems are electronic devices too, so why the use of other devices is prohibited is kind of weird) during flights, they can offer multimedia they have stored on a disk somewhere in the plane (they need to have it stored right now as well). Using standard components it would be cheap for them to allow their passengers to use multimedia, without them having to buy expensive cheap stuff that's already outdated the moment the plane is bought. It's a win win really, using open standard they can offer video on demand and all that jazz and even get some money out of it all.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sun 2nd Dec 2012 02:51 in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

The in flight entertainment systems were not inexpensive. In fact, they were inordinately expensive for the airlines to buy. The reason they are bad is because they aren't mass-market devices, and they're made by specialty manufacturers for a very small market (a few airlines), so they must be produced on the cheap but cost a lot, which is a bad combo, because when they have glitches or break outright, the airline is loath to pay for the kinds of upgrades they really need.

I heard the complete opposite regarding cost. That they (Alaska Airlines anyways) went with the system they use because it was cheap for them to do so. That came from a friend of the family who is a mechanic for Alaska Airlines after I asked him what the deal was with their crappy rental entertainment tablets. Granted he works on the engines but he's definitely in the know about their aircraft in general.

I don't see airlines, especially with domestic or regional service only, making huge investments into stuff like that. It just doesn't make sense.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Soulbender on Sun 2nd Dec 2012 03:54 in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Some of the newer and more cutting-edge airlines such as Virgin are already doing the iPad thing, and JetBlue has a pretty foolproof DirecTV-based system.


I'm sure someone will find this interesting: the last time I flew KLM (Manila->Stockholm) they had a Linux-based in-flight entertainment system in every seat.
Sure beat the one Thai had; no personal entertainment system and almost everything was in Thai. Cost a shitload more than KLM too. Bastards.

Edit: Economy class both times

Edited 2012-12-02 03:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by Soulbender on Sun 2nd Dec 2012 03:50 in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I've never heard anyone complain about there being too many employees ready to serve customers.


It's often the same here (Manila) and it does annoy me a little. Why? Because there's always someone bothering you and trying to sell you something, even if all you're doing is looking around.
Also, if there where a more sensible employee to customer ratio you could pay the employees more.

Edited 2012-12-02 03:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 07:22 in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

I've never heard anyone complain about there being too many employees ready to serve customers.

It's often the same here (Manila) and it does annoy me a little. Why? Because there's always someone bothering you and trying to sell you something, even if all you're doing is looking around.
Also, if there where a more sensible employee to customer ratio you could pay the employees more.

I personally would rather have someone available if I need them than to have to roam a store searching for help. Btw, if an employee is bothering/asking you if you need help, just tell them "no thanks, I'm fine". That's what I do and it has worked 100% of the time.

Reply Parent Score: 2