Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wet laptops & reflective thoughts

(This post was originally started about nine days ago)

I just finished a five day sequence and am flying home on United in economy plus, fighting the urge to take a nap. I’m pleased because my new laptop isn’t dead after all. Last night in Syracuse, New York, I was trying to finish my schedule bid for June, talking to my Mother on the phone (Mother’s day you know) when I accidentally splashed water on this keyboard I’m typing on. Doh!

I dried it off immediately with towels but there were droplets in between the keys. Not thinking, and especially not googling, I dried the keyboard further using the hotel hair drier and my breath to blow the droplets away from the keyboard.

It worked, for a while. Soon the number 8 key starting ghosting and repeating, and after a lengthy, second hair drying, the 0 key did too, and many keys didn’t work at all. Panicked and anxious, I finished my schedule bid on the hotel computer, worried that I had ruined my laptop by blowing the water drops into the keys and driving moisture into the keyboard using the hair dryer.

After bidding, ‘google’ said in one entry to never use a hair dryer to dry off your keyboard, as it will drive moisture further into it, and the heat and static can cause electrical problems with a laptop as well. But there were many other sites which mistakenly, in my opinion, suggested using a hair drier. The advice I now trust after a liquid spill on a laptop is not to use a hair drier, but to turn your laptop off immediately, dry it off with towels, turn it upside down to let liquid drain, and put it in the sun or warm, dry air for a while, remove the battery, and leave it off for 24 hours. I removed the battery, let it air dry overnight, then put it out in the sun during all five of our flights today (with it off, lest you‘re thinking about that NW crew). The air is pretty dry in an airliner, and the sunlight coming through the flight deck windows can bring in a fair amount of warmth. That combination draws the moisture out of a laptop fairly well, because after finishing scheduled day of six hours of flying, it works again, and every key is fine.

We had a ‘nice’ 4:45 AM show time at the airport, so considering I had this secondary problem to contend with, in addition to the one of getting a good amount and good quality of rest, I slept for five hours relatively soundly. Giving your worries up to God in prayer does help, and I did the best I could doing that before lights out last night.

I am tired with a capital T at the end of this five day sequence of flying. Today we flew from Syracuse to Philadelphia to Detroit to Washington to Norfolk to Washington, and were on duty for nine hours and fifty minutes, from 4:45 AM till 2:35 PM. This was the fourth early showtime I’ve had this sequence, and the second one at 4:45 AM in a row. And the best part of it is it’s all legal per the FAA’s rest rules and our labor contract. But is it safe?  It could be even safter.

I don't want to scare you, but this is the reality that many flight crews face.  However, it's much easier on pilots than in the early air-mail and airline days, when airplanes were unreliable, the navigation technology and avionics were crude, weather forecasting was more like weather guessing, the working rules were scarce, and the accident record was reflected in all these shortcomings.  It is relatively safe, in that there are two pilots (better than one), our aircraft is highly automated (hand flying five legs would be exhausting), and our work is highly standardized and routine.  The US does have the safest transportation system in the world.

On another note, I haven’t posted for a while, and don’t have a concise and readily available reason as to why. I have a couple ideas I’m working on, and a new phone which will enable me to do better and more frequent twitter (I’m “crossky” on twitter) updates, with pictures, on the fly, so to speak (literally). Technology and social networking, a’la ‘community’ is a subject I’ve been pondering. Because of social networking, the way we have community with each other in this era is changing, and sometimes I wonder if it’s for the better or not. I’m still trying to correlate it to flying somehow, but it will come.

Community with God, and better community with each other, is one of the main reasons the Son of God came to earth in human form. I’m not the best at fostering and keeping community with others in a loving Christian manner (as Christ teaches), but I kind of think that concern has been on my heart and mind lately. There are other signs I’ve seen that God is still working in my life, and when I get to a quiet place to reflect on that, it feels good. God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good! Thanks again for reading the blog.


Pat said...

CM, I, too, am grateful that the PC is still good. Thanks for the phone call, BTW. Also, I am pondering the aerial at the top of your blog -- where is this?

Good post, Bro!

Craig said...

Thanks! That is part of the southern end of beautiful Lake Champlain, near Burlington, Vermont.