Shallow Thoughts

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Sat, 17 Jan 2009

Please wait, we're rebooting the plane

I'm in Tasmania! I still love the sound of that -- it sounds so exotic.

But this is just a short entry, partly to make sure my feed is working for the LCA 2009 planet, and partly to write about an experience on the outbound flight.

Planes never seem to leave the gate on time. There's always something. This time, the problem was that some of the reading lights in First and Business classes weren't working properly. So they fiddled with them for a while. Dave joked "They'll probably have to reboot the Windows computer that's running the lighting system." "Ha ha," I laughed.

Then came the next announcement:

Uh, ladies and gentlemen, we've determined that it's not the lights themselves that are causing the problem. It seems to be a software problem with the computer running the system. So we're going to shut down for about two minutes and see if that fixes the problem.

How do you reboot a lighting controller on a plane? It turns out, what you do is -- shut down the entire plane. Shut the engines off, cutting all power to the entire plane -- no lights, no fan, even the emergency lights went out after a few seconds.

They stayed off for about three and a half minutes (not two) and then took a bit over half a minute to come back up, bit by bit.

And indeed, that fixed the problem. Dave commented afterward, "That's like rebooting your PC by cutting the main breaker to the entire house."

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[ 21:54 Jan 17, 2009    More conferences/lca2009 | permalink to this entry ]