Will an efficient PED rebel army spell the demise of embedded IFE?


Last weekend, I went up to visit my alma mater and my old friends, and witness the rare sight of sunshine in Binghamton. I picked up a friend just outside a dormitory.

“Sorry,” I said as he climbed in and slammed the door shut, “I just have to retweet something quickly.”

So we sat there for five minutes.

Yes, for whatever reason, my poor little Samsung Galaxy S3 was lost whenever anyone typed faster than Shakespeare discovering typewriters might. Apologizing because my so-called smartphone was achieving below grade level and freezing up whenever I tried to tweet or do anything as wild as texting was never not annoying, especially since I’d so often touted Android’s superiority.

I bought the HTC Thunderbolt as soon as it arrived, that glittering powerhouse that promised a whole new world of 4G LTE. It served me well, until it started sending text messages to the wrong recipients in a vicious bid to ruin my social life. Gossiping had never been so dangerous.

I jumped ship to the iPhone 4S, excited by the promise of a phone that would not betray me. But, as anyone who has an Apple product knows, there’s an inherent claustrophobia to it. When I discovered two days later that I could not have Google Sky Map, I switched phones with my mother, and have been punished for my pettiness ever since. She is still pleased with her iPhone. I developed a deep seated, vitriolic hatred towards my Samsung.

At last, yesterday I caved and upgraded to an iPhone 5S. It has actually been an upgrade. Of course, I don’t have the freedom to set my ringtone to “Ride of the Valkyries” without purchasing a separate ringtone, but the fact that I tweeted last night without wanting to throw my phone against a wall and start a revolution more than makes up for it.

It is, on land, so easy to solve these problems. Shell out a couple hundred dollars, receive a phone that doesn’t make you want to stomp on it. In the air, issues with IFE systems or indeed any electronic accoutrements attached to your seat are ones that must be withstood when a seat change or a system reset is impossible. Being confronted by this failure is like witnessing the fall of the seat-back IFE system at the hands of an efficient PED rebel army. (My own smartphones would be charged with desertion in this particular offensive.)

Like most people who prefer PEDs when they don’t induce aneurysms, I try to resolve these issues. But when I’m flying and my attempts to watch a movie are thwarted by a cursor that staunchly refuses to go near the “WatchEnjoy” tab, it’s like I can’t escape the vindictive reach of my Samsung.

I’m dubbing it PEDPTSD. It’s a first world problem. I know it is. But when else am I going to watch three movies in a row without feeling bad about it? There’s Time Enough At Last. Call me Chantal Bemis.

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