Aircraft IT Operations – October / November 2015

Aircraft IT Operations – October / November 2015 Cover


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Column: The World according to IT and me.. Pithy Bites

Author: Paul Saunders, Solution Manager, Flatirons Solutions

The World according to IT & Me!

Pithy Bites

What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas

There have been many deserved plaudits for the actions of the crew of the BA B777 which suffered an engine fire at Las Vegas back in early September. While mainstream media was focused on praising the textbook actions of the crew and ground crew, which have been credited with ensuring a “miraculous avoidance of serious injury”, the first thing I noticed about the images on the news feeds was the number of evacuating passengers who found time to retrieve their carry-on luggage.

All of my social feeds lit up with apoplectic cabin crew, pilots and frequent flyers making the same observation. As a regular occupier of the window seat on BA’s B777 fleet, to paraphrase a friend of mine, if the numpties in seats B and C try reaching for the overhead bins during an evacuation on my flight, they’d be in as much danger of my size 11s warming their behind as they would be from the flames. Fair warning!

More New Apple Stuff
I probably wasn’t the only person to be underwhelmed by the Apple Special Event on 9th September, which saw the release of a plethora of new updates and iterations on Apple’s range of hardware. But a couple of demonstrations and releases caught my eye. The less said about the introduction of a stylus and a cover which doubles up as a keyboard the better, but the new iPad Pro and 3D Touch for the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are worth a quick mention. In terms of form factor, screen size, capabilities and peripherals, the 12.7” iPad Pro is an obvious reaction to Microsoft’s Surface. It’s clearly designed with designers and illustrators in mind, but it’s an interesting device that may play a role in Flight Operations. With its additional 78 percent screen real estate, processor power and options for input devices, it’s an additional candidate for EFB devices, though my gut feel is that it’s a little on the large size. What it does offer is a glimpse of things to come in terms of graphics capability and multitasking.

Tapping, swiping and pinching are relatively new user interface multi-touch gestures that have become such a natural part of technology interactions that it’s hard to remember a time before they existed. With 3D Touch on new generation iPhones, Apple has introduced something new to the grammar of user interactions. Software popover screens that are activated through pressing lightly on the screen provide common shortcuts menus to applications from the phone’s home screen, whilst pressing harder allows for preview of objects and elements within an application. The device is now able to detect how hard users press or tap the screen and respond accordingly. Clearly there is an entirely new lexicon of user input that software developers can explore and experiment with going forward. I expect to see this technology commonplace on next generation iPads and competitor devices in the near future.

Or at least that’s how it seems in the world according to IT… & Me!

Contributor’s Details

Paul Saunders

Paul is a technology specialist who has been working in aviation IT since 1998 with expertise in software design and mobility, having worked on apps used by pilots and engineers. In the adoption of emerging technology in aerospace, particularly mobility, Paul is a visionary and geek. He joined the TechSight/X team in 2013 where he serves as a global product manager spearheading flight operations, engineering services and mobile solutions.

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