Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nationwide Airline Delays Caused By Bad Weather? Try a Bad Router Card

Thursday Morning, airports from Atlanta to Los Angeles reported delays for more than four hours. Was this because of rain? Snow? Wind? Geese? It was because of a single router card in a computer that processes flight plans for the F.A.A. When this went down, they had to create these flight plans by hand. It didn't just cause people to have to wait longer on lines at airports. The U.S. Military couldn't see this info that they track so much more carefully since 9/11.

As more and more of our daily lives are taken over by computer systems, their fragility needs to be looked at more. This system that the F.A.A. uses is antiquated. Is there something they can learn from Amazon or Google at how to better manage things?

I'm always amazed at how we allow our imagination to carry us through a film with outrageous plots. We often see villains in movies control large systems with silly little apple laptops. Hearing that you can take down a nationwide system by the failure of a single router card makes those movies seem a bit more real now. Hans Gruber is smiling somewhere.

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