Wireless in Alaska

by James Duncan Davidson

Once again, I've taken to the seas on Neil Bauman's latest Geek Cruise in Alaska: MacMania. There's lots of good stuff going on and lots of entertaining speakers like David Pogue of Missing Manual fame. With almost 200 geeks at sea, it's a fun time.

The focal point of the cruise has become the library on board where 802.11b has been set up complete with a satellite uplink. This gives us, on average, a 70k connection to the mainland. The only catch is that there is a 600ms latency which really plays havoc with ssh terminal connections. But for email and web browsing, it's great.

It's interesting watching how wireless affects the group dynamics. The last Geek Cruise I was on, we spent most of our evenings in the bars dancing to loud cheesy music. This cruise, we've been staying up late in the library talking with each other, sharing digital pictures, and even hacking a bit of code. As I right this blog, John de Lancie is playing scratch tracks of his work for a group of people, Jason Hunter is showing his Yosemite pictures, Sal Soghoian looks to be working on some AppleScript code, and Randal Schwartz is cracking jokes.

It's a good time. And the 2.4GHz wireless is only helping create an environment for the other socialization to happen.