Sunday, July 26, 2009

Self Check-in

As many other airlines, Swiss has announced that Economy passengers will have to use the self check-in machines in the future and will not be allowed to use the check-in counters anymore. Now you should read the comments everywhere :-) "was always terrible", "the service got worse and worse and now it's below zero", "just ignore Swiss and use other airlines, they are MUUUUCH better", "they will go down the drain" etc.
A couple of years ago the people probably said the same, when banks said that only ATM machines would be available to withdraw money. Did they go down the drain? Well, yes actually some did, but not because of that...
However, the above statements are probably made by people who fly 1 flight every 4 years. They book Z├╝rich - New York for 550 US Dollars and have the arrogance to think that the airline should unroll them the red carpet. Fact is: either aviation is an exclusive product, then it will be pricy and the service level will be high. Or it's cheap but then flying Economy class is like taking a bus. And I honestly can't remember taking a bus anywhere, where a Stewerdess asks me if I wanted a Newspaper and serving me a drink of my choice. And in the first and business classes where flying is still more expensive, one can't really complain about the service. It may not be as it was 20 years ago, but I have to say that the seats are way better than 20 years ago. And to me that is what counts in the end. Because if I want a good meal, I either cook it myself or I go to a good restaurant.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Something about traffic

Maybe you have heard of the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland. I mean the Gotthard Road Tunnel not the one for the railway. It is the third longest road tunnel of the world (16.9 kilometers, roughly 10 statute miles). It was built between 1970 and 1980 and it is one of the three major transit axis through the alps and part of the shortest motorway link between Hamburg an Sicily. So you can imagine that everybody who thinks it's not to be topped to spend summer holidays together with 2 Million other intellectually challenged at a beach in Italy has to pass that tunnel (and back). That's nothing special except that the tunnel back then was built with one lane per direction only. The motorway leading to the tunnel has 2 lanes each direction. What does that mean? Right, traffic jams. Now, since 1980 this is pretty much predictable: you don't wanna go there southbound at the beginning of the easter weekend, the ascension day weekend and the pentecote weekend and you don't wanna go northbound at the end of those weekends. Furthermore you don't wanna go anywhere near that tunnel during the summer school holidays, neither south- nor northbound. So far so good. Now if you listen to traffic reports you hear about traffic jams of 4, 5, 9 and sometimes 15 kilometers in front of both portals. 5 kilometers means roughly two (TWO) hours of waiting time... Now here is what I don't understand: What exactly do those people think? Something like "you will see, there was ALWAYS a queue on this weekend for the last 29 years! This year they will all go on Friday and we will go on Saturday and it will be FREEEEE" ? Or what? Fact is it doesn't matter what day you go, IT'S ALWAYS BLOCKED! So my conclusion is those people just don't care and don't mind sitting in their cars on a motorway for 4 hours in the heat with the kids in the backseat moaning. But when I think about it now, it probably doesn't male a difference: Those guys just spend 4 hours on the motorway together with the same 2 million of idiots they will see again at the beach in Rimini or Jesolo.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How many social networks does one need?

Interesting... I mean my main communication platform is iChat. It has the best video quality that I have ever seen on any platform and it is a native mac software. Furthermore I can videoconference with 4 people with the same quality. Then of course I use skype quite extensively. It is useful to make calls to landlines or have my family call me in skypeIn when I am on the road. MSN messenger? Hardly ever. Yahoo Messenger? Used to use it to contact a friend of mine in Hong Kong. Other wise there is Facebook that is quite popular. But there is Myspace, Twitter and I dontknowwwhat and I get invitations to join the hi5, low5, letsbe5 network every other day. I don't get it. Do people use 20 different platforms to chat with the same friends or what? Or with different friends? Do they have a life at all?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

GPS accuracy

The GPS system has an accuracy of ±15m guaranteed when using no augmentation like SBAS (WAAS in the USA). Often it performs better than that or maybe I should say in most cases it performs better than that. So when you set your system on your boat on autopilot and the route you entered were coordinates of waterway markers, then it would be a good idea not to go under deck to make a sandwich or even worse to play around with your girlfriend. Because you may encounter some nasty surprises. The navigation system might perform better than you think...