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12 Days of ‘Staircase Wit’ for 2013 (Day 7)

Rather than end the year with a ‘best of’ list or predictions for 2014, I’ll be delivering 12 days of holiday gifts to you in the form of treppenwitz: all the afterthoughts I had all year.

Treppenwitz or perhaps more correctly ‘l’esprit de l’escalier’ is the expression for when you think of the perfect thing to say, but long after the moment you should have said it. In this series of blogs I given myself a second chance to comment or correct topics I’ve covered this year.


SMS Killed the Telegram Star

In July I mourned the passing of India’s telegram service, which had been (finally) displaced by the rise of SMS. Amazing to think in 2002, many industry watchers were predicting the displacement of SMS by MMS, when in fact SMS still (for now) rules the roost. Unrelatedly, a mere week later, SAP (disclosure: my employer) announced that India’s Department of Posts had ‘chosen SAP solutions to strengthen responsiveness and reliability across more than 155,000 post offices.’

Accessing the Cloud from the Clouds

The month after I bemoaned the lack of WiFi on UK airlines, I was in Edinburgh (for the festival), and I noticed that the buses from city centre to airport all had free WiFi. So in Scotland, there is at least a partial solution.

Thankfully, both the US and Europe have finally approved the use of electronic devices on take-off and landing.

Though, sadly, UK airlines are still deciding if they will enable you to actually use your mobile. For the foreseeable future, I’ll continue to be able use my Kindle as Virgin America flights land at an airport in the US, but on my homeward-bound Virgin Atlantic flight, I'll need to until the seatbelt light comes off - even though we took off on the very same runway. *Sigh*

Or, as Toby Ziegler from The West Wing put it:

Flight Attendant: Sir, I'm going to have to ask that you turn off your cellular phone.

Toby: We're flying in a Lockheed Eagle Series L-1011. Came off the line twenty months ago. Carries a Sim-5 transponder tracking system. And you're telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?

And while I’m at it, I’d also prefer to use my personal earphones rather than the airline-supplied ones – but doing this is still also forbidden for landings and take-off.

Just in: BA are the first to announce you can use your tech on take-off / landing. Which is great news. Not so much for those few seconds on take-off, but more for the (sometimes) long wait on the ground and taxi to the runway. Time best filled with a good read.

And something I should clarify, I don't including voice calls as something I want to use on a plane. I can think of nothing worse than spending a flight sat next to someone talking on their mobile for the duration. Very glad to see that Delta agree with me.


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