Why Are Cell Phones Banned On Flights?

As most people know, cell phones are a big no-no during landing and takeoff. What most people don't know, however, is why.

The FAA says cell phones to be "radio transmitting devices" that could possibly disrupt the avionics of the plane. Interesting that they don't call pacemakers transmitting devices, though. In 2007, the ABC news show 20/20, along with veteran airline pilot John Nance, conducted research disputing the FAA's stand. Nance stated: "There's little reason to worry about cell phones interfering with an airplane's navigational equipment," and went on to say airliners electronic systems are "heavily shielded" against stray radio or electronic signals.

Opponents claim that while one or two devices may not break an avionic shield, a lot of them could interfere with communication between the pilot and ground control--communication that's especially critical during takeoff and landing. In the case of emergency, jammed communication with the tower could cause disaster.

So who's right?

Well, according to the MythBusters, it's generally safe to use a cell on a plane. They did some similar debunking. However, because there are so many different types of devices and ways the phones can malfunction, there's no way to test every single cell phone that's been made. 20/20 determined that the primary reason for the ban on cell phone is that neither the FAA or the FCC are willing to spend the money to perform conclusive safety tests. Mmmm, okay.

According to Wiki: "Virtually every pilot headset sold on the market today comes with a cell phone adapter so that the pilot can use his cell phone." While airlines claim that pilots never use their cell phones mid-flight, we're not completely convinced.

pilotphoneat_Other research indicates that AT&T suggested in-flight mobile phone restrictions should remain in place in the interest of reducing the nuisance to other passengers caused by in-flight cell phone conversations "“ again, not at all a safety issue.

Some skeptics have posited the idea that the cell phone ban exists to spur use of the airline's built-in phones, phones that charge a significant fee. There's also some research stating that mobile phones are not all that reliable in the air in the first place, since they're not designed to switch from cell tower to cell tower at the speed of an airplane.

Interestingly enough, the FAA gives the pilot of each aircraft the right to grant the use of cell phones mid-flight. So hey, maybe next time you should buy your pilot a cup of coffee at the terminal. Who knows, they might grant your cell phone an exception.

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Apple Is Offering Free Battery Replacements for Some MacBook Models

Want to extend the life of your MacBook Pro battery? A new offer from Apple might let you replace it for free.

Some non Touch Bar, 13-inch MacBook Pros that were manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017 are eligible for the program, and you can see if your computer qualifies by entering your serial number on Apple’s website.

The company said some of the batteries in models manufactured during this one-year period may be faulty, which is what prompted the offer. Although it’s not a safety issue, a component in the battery could fail, causing the battery to expand. Affected customers who already paid to have their battery replaced can also contact Apple for a refund.

The service takes three to five days to complete and can be done at any Apple-authorized service provider or retail store. Computers can also be mailed in to a repair center.

Before sending it away for repairs, though, it's important to check for other issues with your computer. Apple notes, “If your 13-inch MacBook Pro has any damage which impairs the replacement of the battery, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement. In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the repair.”

[h/t The Verge]

Amazon Will Now Deliver Packages to Your Car Trunk

Delivery drivers call them “porch pirates.” It’s a derisive term for people who take advantage of the fact that many residents aren’t home during the day and swipe packages from doorsteps. Bad weather, nosy neighbors, or general privacy concerns may be other reasons you’re not comfortable leaving shipments unattended. Now, Amazon has a solution: Today, the company is introducing Amazon Key In-Car Delivery, a new method for dropping off packages that virtually guarantees they’ll be in one piece when you get home.

When shoppers opt for Amazon Key at checkout and own a vehicle that supports app-based unlocking, the delivery driver will be able to pop open your trunk and deposit your items inside. Essentially, your car doubles as a storage locker.

Your car may be sitting in your office parking lot during the day, but that’s no problem. Drivers will be able to pull up to your car there and make the same drop-off. When you’re done with work for the day, your packages will be waiting. Your car can be parked anywhere within a two-block radius of the delivery address and still be eligible for the service.

But how would a driver find it? The In-Car Delivery program requires a few things in order to work. For one, you need Amazon’s Key app; you also need to give the company permission to lock and unlock your vehicle. Your car must support app-based access, like 2015 or newer GM cars with OnStar subscriptions or recent-model Volvos with a Volvo On Call account. These vehicles have partnership agreements with Amazon that make them compatible with the Key software, as well as GPS functioning that allows drivers to find them when parked offsite. You’ll also need to be in one of 37 markets where Amazon dispatches their own delivery staff.

If this delivery approach is embraced, it’s likely that other carmakers will help Amazon widen their distribution platform. Amazon Key also offers in-home delivery service in select cities, which allows drivers entry into your home to leave packages inside.

[h/t TechCrunch]


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