In-flight Wi-Fi, missing science and a survey

At first blush, it's another one of those, "Sure, it will happen ... eventually," type of situations. I mean does anyone envision a commercial air fleet without readily available Internet service 20 years down the runway?

That seems unlikely, yet efforts to get such service off the ground have produced spotty results, with one report saying 7% of U.S. passengers availed themselves of in-flight Wi-Fi last year, perhaps because it's still only available on 16% of airplanes.

"The 7% isn't too bad," said Amy Cravens, an analyst at In-Stat, in an interview with Computerworld. She noted that was up from 4% in 2010. "However, the service isn't profitable at these levels, so everyone is hoping it improves."

It will. But it's not as though the technology has just appeared; it's been around about a decade. So I'm thinking that there's more than just availability and high prices holding usage back.

Maybe more people than will admit it actually welcome a couple of hours of being disconnected.

Matchmaking sites short on the science? ... Get out.

A group of bitter, bitter researchers has chosen this generally joyous run-up to the holy day of romance to issue "a sweeping review of scientific studies" that allegedly shows dating sites such as Match.com and eHarmony fail to apply to their matchmaking the same scientific rigor normally associated with, say, astrology.

From an IDG News Service story: "Companies have not made their algorithms [for matching potential mates] available to the public, nor even to regulatory authorities. Nobody knows what the algorithms are," said Harry Reis, a professor at the University of Rochester. "It is certainly possible they have some magic formula no one has looked at that could in fact be effective. However, there is no evidence for that."

In other words, it's like the eTrade baby telling the guy who's building his retirement account using scratch tickets: "You realize that the odds of winning are the same as being mauled by a polar bear and a regular bear in the same day?"

Yes, I'm being overly harsh and these sites undoubtedly have saved many a lonely heart.

But perhaps my dismissal of online dating "science" has been overly influenced by a long-ago personal experience: As a young reporter in the early '80s, I was asked to write a first-person story about what was then called "computer dating."

In the interest of brevity, let's just say the match was utterly inexplicable .

Of course, the technology has no doubt gotten better since then. Well, probably. The point the researchers are making is that we just don't know.

Another study shows vendors think we're stupid

Time for a pop quiz. The press release reads: "A data center industry index, the result of a survey by (Vendor X) reveals that cost savings and scalability are prompting more data center owners and c-suite technology executives to consider (this type of) data center solutions. The first 'Mission Critical Annual Index' indicates that 85% of participants would consider (this type of) solution in building their next data center, with most of that group -- just over 75% -- citing cost and flexibility as key drivers in that decision."

Now what type of "solutions" do you suppose Vendor X sells? (I see all of you have your hands raised.)

Yes, of course, it's this type.

Alternative answers should be sent to buzz@nww.com.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

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