Boing Boing tv Update: Virgin WiFi, Obfuscated Code, Comment Poetry, Downfall Housing Remix

In this week's Boing Boing TV update:

* VIRGIN AMERICA LAUNCHES IN-FLIGHT WIRELESS: Our wireless tech reporter pal Glenn Fleishman was on the first Virgin America flight with airborne WiFi service. BBtv caught up with him over video chat from a Virgin America Airbus A320 aircraft (named "My Other Ride Is A Spaceship") 35,000 feet above San Francisco. Also joining us: Jack Blumenstein, the CEO of Aircell, the company providing the "GoGo" air/ground 3G connectivity. The bottom line: no content filtering on Virgin, so you can visit any blogs you like, and they will not block streaming content or video. But, voice over IP will be blocked because the general consensus among airlines and travelers in the US seems to be that nobody wants other people on the plane to be talking on the phone when you're all confined to close quarters. Disclaimer: we really like Virgin America, in part because they carry Boing Boing tv in their in-flight entertainment system.

* BB COMMENT THREAD POETRY CONTEST: Teresa Nielsen Hayden, aka She Who Disemvowels, announced a fun game/contest recently -- write some poetry inside the comment threads using "natively BoingBoing" themes. We can has a winner.

* OBFUSCATED CODE CONTEST: here's Joel's blog entry announcing the Safari Books / Boing Boing contest. The idea: write a string of "obfuscated code" that generates the words "Boing Boing." Here's the winner, and here's another example we thought was rad.

* DALE DOUGHERTY IS GUEST BLOGGING: He's been checking in from Banff, and I've particularly enjoyed his posts from there about snow, glaciers, and snowman newlyweds.

* DER UNTERGANG HOUSING BUBBLE REMIX: Mark spotted it last week, and lulz rang out throughout the land. One of many we dug.

Here's a downloadable MP4, and here is the BBtv blog post with instructions for subscribing to the Boing Boing tv podcast.

Special thanks to Q Burns Abstract Message for the track that appears in today's ep, UNCERTAIN T, courtesy Eighth Dimension Records.

Below: a snapshot from that Virgin America WiFi flight. I spy Brian Lam of Gizmodo, and Glenn Fleishman, and a few other familar blogging faces!

UPDATE: Hey, what kind of sites exactly was Gizporno's Brian Lam websurfing on that plane? Zoom in a little... wait.. there we go. AHA. Below, the reveal.


  1. i haven’t flown in a long time, and frankly reading this article had me surprised that this wasn’t already a feature at most airlines. Kudos to virgin, however, for getting on it. Hopefully more will follow suit.

  2. I flew Virgin America once back in the summer and I have to say, it was the best flying experience I’ve had in decades. They rock. I’ll always choose them whenever a choice is offered at roughly the same price. The employees were happy, the service was great, the flight was comfortable with everyone distracted by all the entertainment options. My kids flew with me, and they were entertained the whole flight. Virgin America really is different from the other airlines. I highly recommend them.

  3. The way Xeni’s blouse matches the color of the chair in that photo made me at first glance think she was wearing some sort of bad-ass Ming the Merciless huge-collared jacket. A look she could totally pull off.

  4. 3 of the 4 flights (2 round trip) ive taken with Virgin American were awful. they REALLY need to get their program working right before implementing new technology. This was pre-wifi, so i can only imagine the problems they have now. each time the menu’s were broken so we couldnt watch tv, or order food. when asked to “manually” order food by speaking with a stewardess, she told me they didnt have enough food for everyone so we’re gonna have to wait it out till we land. this was a 6 hour flight from NY to LA. Needless to say, I havent flown with them again.

  5. Virgin is the only way I’ll fly from DC to LAX. They’ve never run out of food for me. One time, the TV unit was not working in my row so I got a $50 voucher and the option of changing seats. You can pay a modest fee to get a bulkhead seat which comes in really handy with the kids. Looking forward to my next flight with them with WiFi.

  6. I’m pretty hard core into Jet Blue, but if they don’t get their internet turned on soon (they’re working on it) I’m going to start taking VA when I go to SF.

    1. Jesus, who knew you guys were such fashion bitches! Who are you aliased commenters, the demon spawn of Joan Rivers? All I can say is: SAVE SOME FOR JOEL JOHNSON.

  7. I have to agree, a Ming the Merciless collar in those colors (though perhaps with a more refined shape) would totally rock.

    Especially if it had TV-b-gone LEDs concealed in the points.

    Also, would be great if these video flash players would tell us how long the video was without requiring starting the video first.

    1. @codesuidae, we are working on getting a total runtime display in the player, it’s a feature we’ve requested from our provider. I agree!

  8. #2: “That looks pretty cramped fo an A320” This was a press flight set up as a charter, so we were free to be in the aisles. Everyone was practically dancing. Drinks were being served. Also, net-celebrities and two real ones (from 30 Rock). It was a mild party.

    #7: The photographer said, “everyone using Wi-Fi hold up your laptops!”

    #9: JetBlue purchased a slim 1 KHz of spectrum; Aircell got the 3 KHz prize. The spectrum is paired (0.5/0.5 or 1.5/1.5), so JetBlue won’t be able to offer real Internet access, but they’ll probably do cached Web, email, etc.

    #4, #10, #11, #13: Do not taunt happy funny chair.

  9. NEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDSSSSSSS! I’ve been wanting to fly Virgin but no Newark service screws me up.

  10. New photo of Brian Lam shows my scary scary eyes over his back. I’M YR SEAT NEYBOOR WATCHIN UR PRON, BRIAN.

  11. Here is a little montage of those classic MTV openers including the astronaut staking the electric flag. (Dedicated to all the lovely animators among us.)

  12. #14 Yeah I realized it was just a photo thing but thought it would be funny if that’s what was really going on. Especially since the guy in the second row looks really desperate to get online.

  13. Oh geez, is that you I was talking about? Sorry. My efforts to look not stupid have had the exact opposite effect.

  14. #20, #21: No worries! I had no idea my picture looking rather glum (I was just being intense, of course) would wind up worldwide! I woulda smiled at least.

  15. I once flew Virgin from NY to London, first class. About 4 hours into the flight we hit massive turbulence and the plane stalled, started hurtling uncontrollably towards the ocean, and finally split into several pieces killing all 258 people on board. Needless to say, I havent flown with them again.

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