New device detected: Boeing 747


Once again, airplane manufacturers have been giving serious consideration to offering Internet access in the skies. Back in 1994, Boeing considered equipping each seat with a serial modem. Laptop users could hook up to the modem and dial out. (Dial-up was the primary means of connecting to the Internet back in those days.)

We chuckled at the though of attaching the serial cable and getting a Plug-and-Play pop-up message:

New device detected: Boeing 747

Comments (29)
  1. AC says:

    Not trolling, but would it take 20 seconds of zero CPU usage and zero disk usage for it to become available?

    I hate when I plug in something and the driver manager or whatever is responsible seems to do a lot of sleep(1000)s and pop up lots of meagninless info ballons.

    But the most irritating thing is that if I plug in something to USB port #1, unplug it, and plug it again, it is available inmediately. But if I plug it on port #2, it seems it’s installed again for that port?!? :'(

  2. Ilya Birman says:

    Sure, Boeing 747 is a Plug-and-Play device :-)

  3. Stevo says:

    You may laugh, but I was at hospital on an ambulatory EEG; where they attach a logging device to your head for a couple of days

    At the end, upload time, the thing wasnt working. So I had to take over, bring up device manager and diagnose that the USB device wasnt being recognised. Battery a bit too flat was my suggestion.

    that was when it came to me: This was the first time I was using device manager to diagnose a peripheral wired directly into my own brain. XP gets to more places than you think..

  4. CornedBee says:

    New device detected: Stevo’s Brain

    :)

  5. Walter says:

    Stevo:

    That reminds me of the time when my sister was in hospital delivering a baby (I was there… long story). They had some probes stuck in her body attached to a laptop. It bluescreened, upon which they quickly closed the lid and wheeled it away.

    The birth went okay. I never told her though.

  6. avidgator says:

    Along the lines of Stevo’s comment, while the connection message may be amusing, the possibilities for error messages are just downright scary. Something ala "An unknown error has occurred in the device Boeing 747…" might cause a few flight-attendant call-lights to be pressed…

  7. A. Skrobov says:

    Typo: "chuckled at the though" -> chuckled at the thought"

  8. Tim Smith says:

    If you think that error message is bad, what about the "disk in use" error.

    "The Boeing 747 device is still in use. Disconnecting from the device can cause data loss and damage to the device. Do you wish to continue?"

  9. So would the Boeing 747 be classified as a high-speed USB device?

  10. Inferis says:

    Probably… But not if it goes full speed.

  11. Norman Diamond says:

    Monday, October 24, 2005 3:19 PM by Tim Smith

    > If you think that error message is bad, what

    > about the "disk in use" error.

    >

    > "The Boeing 747 device is still in use.

    > Disconnecting from the device can cause data

    > loss and damage to the device. Do you wish

    > to continue?"

    Or the absence of a "disk in use" error:

    "The Boeing 747 device can now be removed safely"

    but when you remove it the result is data loss and damage because Windows lied. Confirmed in Windows XP SP2 two whole days ago, and Windows 2003 a few weeks or months ago. When it comes to Windows and external devices, Windows is still Windows.

    Though I’m not sure if the situation in Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2003 is directly related to being externally connected. The corruption starts in the NTFS structures. Vista beta 1 made an identical diagnosis of NTFS corruption on its C drive. The Vista installation is in a Virtual PC 2004 virtual machine and the virtual C drive is an ordinary file on the real machine, and the real machine isn’t reporting any bad blocks, so at least in Vista’s case the NTFS drivers don’t care if the device is external or not.

  12. Ian Argent says:

    In the Firefly episode "Trash" – there is a scene where the intrepid heroes have to hack into an "intelligent" dumpster to reroute it (so they can loot it’s contents in peace). In at least one shot of the hacking process, there is a Windows 2000 "Found New Hardware Wizard" showing… As the spaceship they’re using has just been plugged into it, I can only imagine that it says "Windows has detected your firefly-class spaceship, would you like to automatically locate the appropriate drivers?"

  13. kbiel says:

    Ben: So would the Boeing 747 be classified as a high-speed USB device?

    Nah, considering any electron will travel thousands of times faster than a 747, it could be an "Ultra-low speed" USB device.

    Oops, according to the USB Implementation Forum we can’t have disparaging descriptors so they would have to tag it "Quick-speed" to distguish it from "Full-speed" and "Hi-Speed". Oh, and of course it is USB 2.0 just like *all* USB devices.

  14. Mike Edwards says:

    More incredible than the episode of ‘Firefly’ was the British program "Hustle". In one episode in Series Two, one of the con-men has only a short time to grab some data off the victims laptop while he visits the toilet. In that short time, the con-man manages to boot the laptop, insert a USB memory-disk, grab some data, and shut it all down again, without so much as a "Windows has detected new hardware" message. Makes "Superman II" look realistic.

  15. JamesW says:

    @kbiel

    > Nah, considering any electron will travel

    > thousands of times faster than a 747, it

    > could be an "Ultra-low speed" USB device.

    Electrons in a circuit aren’t travelling as fast as you think. For AC they’re not going anywhere – just sloshing about backwards and forwards as the current alternates. Even in DC they’re only travelling at about a millimetre per second through a typical wire. They get faster as the cross section decreases so they ought to start shifting in an IC but they’ll be lagging about at the relatively thick connectors at the USB port.

  16. Tony Lezard says:

    Nah, considering any electron will travel

    > thousands of times faster than a 747, it

    > could be an "Ultra-low speed" USB device.

    Perhaps, but the bandwidth is to die for!

  17. Mihai says:

    Just arrived yesterday from Europe.

    The Lufthansa flight (San Francisco – Munich) offered wireless access to internet.

  18. barrkel says:

    JamesW: re electrons

    Yes, but the holes (i.e. positive current) move a whole lot faster, >75% c in copper, IIRC.

  19. kbiel says:

    JamesW: Electrons in a circuit aren’t travelling as fast as you think. For AC they’re not going anywhere

    So were going to smart about this, eh? Perhaps you can actually tell me where to find an electron and how fast it is traveling? How do you prevent it from tunneling through what you thought was an insulator when you aren’t looking?

    It was a joke. Take a moment to relax, ignore the exagerations and technicalities and enjoy yourself for once.

  20. JamesW says:

    @barrkel

    > Yes, but the holes (i.e. positive current) move a whole lot faster, >75%

    > c in copper, IIRC.

    Sure about that? I thought holes were a semi-conductor thing. Regardless, the speed of the electrons in unimportant in your typical large scale circuit. It is the signal speed that matters if you want that light bulb to turn on ‘instantaneously’ – and that is quite nippy.

  21. kbiel says:

    JamesW: Hmmm, ~1mm/s to >600mph is quite an exageration! I was just pointing out that in the land of macro circuits electrons are surprsingly lazy.

    Well, not so much lazy as being distracted by all those pretty protons. Fly them in a vacuum (OK, a near vacuum) and they move near the speed of light. Entangle a couple of them and watch the information pass between them instantaneously regardless of distance.

    It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you move the information though, the USB Implementation Forum will still tag it as USB 2.0 and tag it with a moniker that makes it hard for the layman to compare speeds.

    I can’t wait to see what they name full USB 3.0 implementation (if and when it occurs) since they already have "full-speed" and "hi-speed". I guess they’ll use "ludicrous-speed" or "plaid".

  22. JamesW says:

    @kbiel

    >>JamesW: Electrons in a circuit aren’t travelling as fast as you think.

    >> For AC they’re not going anywhere

    > So were going to smart about this, eh? Perhaps you can actually tell

    > me where to find an electron and how fast it is traveling? How do you > prevent it from tunneling through what you thought was an insulator

    > when you aren’t looking?

    > It was a joke. Take a moment to relax, ignore the exagerations and

    > technicalities and enjoy yourself for once.’

    Hmmm, ~1mm/s to >600mph is quite an exageration! I was just pointing out that in the land of macro circuits electrons are surprsingly lazy. It surprised me the first time I learnt exactly how slow they were through a wire…

    I did hedge my bets on the scale of an IC – all bets are *on* once quantum theory gets into the equation :). I was hedging those bets because it is many years since I last read up seriously on that subject!

    I am enjoying myself, thanks. It would just be neat if someone out there is as surprised as I was the first time I realised how damn slow those electrons were moving in a wire. CRT screens is where it’s at for fast moving electrons in the home.

  23. gnobal says:

    That’s silly, it wouldn’t say:

    "New device detected: Boeing 747"

    It would say:

    "New device detected: Mass Aeronautical Transportation Device"

    as device manufacturers usually only implement the basic device class functionality

    :P

  24. Bryan says:

    kbiel — protons, or photons? ;-)

  25. kbiel says:

    Well, I get distracted by photons, electrons tend to just get pushed around by them according to Einstein. Then again….oh…look something shiney!

  26. Kristian Dupont says:

    Just for the record, I flew with internet access a few days ago. It was on an Airbus though..

  27. Lufthansa gives you broadband Internet on fly! Via

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