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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wireless Electricity? It's Coming!

Coming home to San Jose was a welcome change after the drizzly cold depressing world known as Microsoft... uh, er, I mean Redmond, Washington . Having grown up in San Francisco, California and living without sunshine the majority of the year, I revel in the sunshine that we have in San Jose, California. This weekend the temperatures topped out around 90° and we had a slight breeze-perfect weather! When the weather drops below 70° we whine an moan about the cold. Yes, we Californians are a spoiled lot!

Things were little too hot in many areas of the country as American Airlines grounded some 3,000 flights last week. I was lucky. I was on code share flight with Alaska Airline. Of course, my Alaska Airline flight didn't take off on time (out of the last 10 round-trip flights Alaska Airlines, my flights have been delayed 8 times - they are a pretty mellow bunch). But hey, I was just happy that the plane took off within a couple of hours of the scheduled departure time and I didn't have to put up with the nasty stench of burning wires on the flight.

On Friday evening, I received an e-mail from Dan Garton, American Airlines' Executive Vice President of Marketing. Dan referred to me as "one of our most valued customers" in his apologetic e-mail addressing the grounding of the DC 80 planes. Considering that I have now almost reached my 3,000,000 mile mark with American Airlines, it's a miracle that I didn't have an AA flight schedule for last week. It sure seemed strange to me that the e-mail apology was sent from American Airlines VP of marketing. Don't you think it would been better to send the e-mail from the CEO, Gerard Arpey? Hmmm...

"The work being done now centers on a need to change the way in which American complied with the Airworthiness Directive (AD) regarding such items as the spacing of the ties on the wiring bundles and the direction of the retention clips and lacing cords. We are highly confident that this is not a safety of flight issue because the wire bundle is secure. It is a matter of how the work was done, not whether aircraft were protected from the threat of wire exposure and chafing that could cause fire."

Perhaps this whole world of a wired technology is passé. Maybe it's time to take a look over at MIT and check out the "WiTricity" project ( These folks have it right. Wireless electricity! Take a bit further and imagine having roaming wireless electricity. As you cruise through the airport, your laptop would connect to various wireless electricity taps in charge itself to 100%. Considering the number of times I've plugged my computer into a power strip and then forgot to turn on th power strip - this could be very handy technology! Another plus would be the removal of the dreaded "power cord to the podium" that I've tripped over numerous times... the comedic fall that I've taken so many times would be missing from my presentations, but it's the price we pay for keeping up with technology.

So, back to the Redmond trip. On June 9, the week of TechEd, I'll be able to explain why I've been spending time in Redmond. I'll be arriving at the TechEd conference on a red-eye flight from Redmond that gets me into Orlando around 6:30 a.m. on June 10th. Mark Penaroza, the Security Track Manager, was nice enough to book me in afternoon sessions that Tuesday. As long as American Airlines doesn't ground their fleet that week, I should get there in plenty of time to present. (Crossing my fingers and wires!)

Now back to working on the Wireshark University certification test... we're almost there!