Posts tagged “virgin america”

ChittahChattah Quickies

Teaching the F.A.A. That Dogs Don’t Buckle Up [NYTimes.com] – This is (part of) what it takes to do great work: patience and persistence. As much as we slap our foreheads about the corporate cultures we interact with, clearly the regulatory cultures are likely to be even worse.

In one scene, about a minute into the video, a man is shown sitting next to a large bull as he fumbles with his seat belt. A voice-over says, “For the 0.0001 percent of you who have never operated a seat belt before, it works like this.” Few people know that the bull was originally a dog. But when the Federal Aviation Administration reviewed the video, one of the many concerns it had was that passengers would think dogs, which are sometimes on flights, had to wear seat belts – I’m not kidding here – so it made Virgin America change the dog to a bull, as bulls are, thankfully, not allowed on planes. According to people who were involved in the making of the video, there were six months of meetings with the F.A.A. and changes to the video before it was finally approved.

Orangutans get iPads at Toronto Zoo [CBC] -I’m struck by the limited amount of adaptation the device required, in contrast to classic example where Koko the talking gorilla used a customized Mac II.

The zoo is working with a program, dubbed “Apps for Apes,” which was started by the conservation group Orangutan Outreach. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of life of primates in zoos by providing them with additional mental stimulation in the form of Apple’s tablet. Apps for Apes collects donated iPads and then provides them to zoos with orangutans. The staff who work with the orangutans had to teach them to touch the screen with their fingers – they were initially using their nails to manipulate the screen, and the tablet does not recognize that. In April, orangutans Puppe and Budi used Skype to interact with Orangutan Outreach director Richard Zimmerman. The next month they used Skype to view other orangutans at the Milwaukee County Zoo, although the video was blurry as the primates moved so much.

Out and About: Tamara in LA

I am missing the sun and beaches of LA from our trip there last week. At least I have these fond memories to keep me warm…


I’ve read about airlines letting passengers choose their seats using social media profiles and finally got to experience a digital/analog collision first hand on our Virgin America flight. I accepted the offer from 12A (aka Vinnie)¬† to chat. Admittedly, I never talked to that stranger as I was engrossed in an inflight film.


I was not surprised by the proliferation of celebrity endorsements in every eating and dining establishment that we entered. I was surprised by what constitutes celebrity.


Dear lucky owner of this gorgeous Manhattan Beach home overlooking the ocean, thank you for using your prime position to promote a message of peace (in 4 different languages).


I am so fond of legacy establishments (like Pink’s Hot Dogs) that make explicit the rules of how to be a customer. I’m also fond of people like Julie’s dad, who insist that we stop at such locations to relive childhood memories when we are in town!


Julie and I both captured images from this Burbank dry cleaners. She focused on the environmental sustainability while I was enamored by the sustainability of their service!

The package is the brand. Now what?


Method soap in here, Virgin America, June, 2010

On a recent Virgin America flight, I saw they were featuring Method hand soap in the bathroom. But (as they have obviously realized) Method’s brand is more recognizable via the uniquely designed dispenser than the name, so the identifying sticker shows a picture of that shape. You don’t have the opportunity to use that container, but by interacting with the generic goo dispenser in the bathroom, perhaps you are supposed to associate somehow with the visual and tactile interaction with the iconic dispenser.

The Virgin America experience seems to be partly about aggregating a hip, design-y, youthful set of other brands for travelers to experience (e.g. BoingBoingTV), but I’m not sure this is a win for Method, or Virgin America. VA seems to have rethought so many traditional aspects of air travel (such as their fantastic safety video) but this compromise evokes the overcompensating-unhelpful-infographic-signage common in commercial aircraft interiors, where you can’t help but feel trapped in a world of call-outs (like the Ikea Catalog scene in Fight Club). And Method takes a straddle position, suggesting that their goo is just goo, if they are forced to offer a visual reminder of the container to help us connect with what is different – and better – about their product.

Watch nine inches

Last week I posted (on Core77) about Virgin America’s new on-board entertainment system.

Here’s a run-through of the system by Charles Ogilvie of the airline.

The information is good, the capabilities are good, but the video is filled with corporate/tech jargon. I’m always amazed at how unable some business folks are to talk to (or about) people in plain ol’ English.

Some of the scary phrases to listen for

  • globally available
  • primary navigation areas
  • list construct
  • watch-related options
  • toolbar will return but in a reconfigured state
  • a cache-format
  • hardware platform
  • running application over Linux
  • stock-out situation

Good marks, however, when a TLA is introduced and defined, and then explained, which is nice,

Much of the lingo is pretty far from how we might want to talk with Virgin (although they mention the dialog back and forth with us they are interested in).

Oh, and did you see the arrow cursor flipping around whenever they showed the on-screen display? Is that real, or an artifact of the demo actually being filmed on a desktop computer and not the seatback? A detail, for sure, but if you’re going to talk about open source, Linux, multi-stream, file servers and the like, expect that same audience to notice things like faked-out demos.

A quicker and more polished on-board tour is here.

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