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Monday, 22 August 2011


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O'Hare is like a big black hole. Flights are continually, often inexplicably, delayed or canceled in and out of O'Hare. The airport itself is crowded, and security seems to always be backed up and moving at a snail's pace. It is a place to be avoided if possible, at least in my experience. Unfortunately, I often find myself flying to Chicago for work, and O'Hare is hard to avoid.

Too bad that, had you attempted to photograph the "Recombobulation area" sign, you'd likely have been arrested as a terrorist - wish we could have seen the sign, if only for its comedic value... :)

Well, as how to load your pics on an Ipad: first you install iTunes on your regular computer...


The last plane I attempeted to take sat at the gate for four hours before finally giving up the ghost. Frankly, I wanted outta that plane after the first two- the previous night spent watching a program on how most airline maintenance is now "outsourced."

I was already nervous enough after watching a program stating the very real possibility of one of those full body X-ray machines mistakenly dosing someone with a cancer causing amount of radiation (who would know- or tell).

when will people stop flying united? i took a redeye with a stopover in chicago. it was only supposed to be an hour but they cancelled the outbound flight. so i got to spend a day at o'hara. any compensation? you have to be kidding. united is a bust airline and it really needs to be totally abandoned by its horribly abused "customers" ....

i know i've flown united for the very last time.

I believe it was here that I read that it is NOT illegal to take photos in the security area. There are no signs posted and no brochures mention it. The reasoning was, I believe that in all of the terrorist attacks to date: 9/11, Oklahoma City, the Unibomber, etc., photos of the planning procedures were never found. One time though, flying into San Diego on an International arrival I asked the Guy "Officer, Mike johnston at TOP told me it's not illegal to take fotos of that X-Ray machine.....is that true". He agreed on the specifics but said he could declare it "suspicious behavior" and detain me for search and questioning. Just thought you might want to know that as I heard you are kind of a camera buff.

If you bought a camera connection kit it will be easy to load photos. If not, well you might have to email them to yourself. Anyway, that's the way it was when I got my iPad1 15 months ago.

Tosh! Everyone knows that the opposite of discombobulation is combobulation.


Mike you really have to travel more.

I'm pleased to see this; it's the first major success I know of by the famous Society for the Restoration of Lost Positives. (In addition to more combobulated, they also want you to be more sheveled and more kempt.)

"Mike you really have to travel more."

Ha! Easy for you to say Terry.



I fly a bit more than you, and Milwaukee is the only airport that I've ever seen a Recombobulation area. I will say that I very much enjoyed that sign---it's perfect.

It appears that recombobulate is special to Gen. Mitchell airport.

Just another reason I despise flying; it still rankles that holding a squirming kid with a full diaper, I'm taking off belts, shoes; shoes were really focused on, steel shanks, and they still were giving me the eye. Oy!

Mike, I hope everything is OK with your family.


Having lived in Southern California most of my life the show TMZ doesn't even show up on my crazy radar. But I do believe TMZ is the creation of the staff of MAD magazine. The show is fiction, right?


Your own scratchings are generally witty and raise more than a chuckle - don't be too disturbed by the funny man in Atlantic.

Organise your pictures into iPhoto on your Mac. Arrange them into albums if you will, and then plug in the iPad2 through iTunes and hey presto! they will all be on your iPad2 for the family - assuming that the whole 'dis' and 're' combobulation thing doesn't vaporise them.

You can also obtain, cheaply from Apple, an SD card reader and when you shoot you can load the pics into the iPad2 for back-up and/or browsing.

Happy trails,


I was once stuck at Mombassa airport for an extra half day because the flight I had booked on was cancelled at the last minute for “technical reasons”. Turned out that the technical reason was that they hadn’t sold enough seats. At another airport in Africa all the passengers had to put their baggage though the x-ray machine before boarding. This was the most film safe x-ray machine I have ever encountered. The x-rays were not working, only the conveyor was! I wish I could say security at first world airports is better but I suspect that most of it is about politics and PR. In reality the most effective security is passenger profiling and intelligence. Maybe security cameras were watching to see your reaction to being sold an overpriced stale bageloid to determine if it was safe to allow you to fly?


Sorry to hear about the sorry bagel. Funny post otherwise. I've often noticed that reading The Atlantic ruins the news for a month -- it seems that lots of other journalists read it, and it strongly influences what they report on, and everything on NPR or in the New Yorker feels strangely familiar for a week or so, and then the next week I start seeing familiar stories from the people they influence. Which is a roundabout way of saying that there are way fewer producers of original content than I'd like to think. (Hurray for The Atlantic, and for TOP, too) .

Anyway, a recommendation: get Dropbox (.com) for both the ipad and the computer with photos. Put photos in the new dropbox folder on the computer, and they're soon magically on the ipad. Plus dropbox has a pretty good slideshow function.

As for transferring photos to your iPad, if you don't feel like organizing them in iPhoto (don't care about albums per se) and plugging in, etc, to sync through iTunes, then hop onto the app store and take a look at an app called Photo Transfer. This app will allow you to quickly move photos from iDevice --> iDevice or Computer --> iDevice (or vice-versa) through any local wifi network. I use my home wireless network and it works flawlessly.

Good luck!

I've also enjoyed the Recombobulation area sign quite a bit when flying through Milwaukee, which I did exactly a year ago this week.

As for the new iPad, I hope you got a smart cover, because it has all kinds of utility, and I hope you got a bluetooth keyboard, because with a smart cover or other stand, it actually makes the iPad useful for all kinds of word processing, including blogging. Both worthwhile investments.

My son had a similar experience at JFK on Friday but that was in the middle of his flight to Syracuse. He had a 2 hour layover, 5½ hours on the plane waiting to take off only to go back to the terminal and have the flight cancelled because of bad weather that had been fine at the time it was scheduled to leave.

I drove over 3 hours each way to/from Syracuse to pick him up and paid $10 to park while waiting to find out the flight was cancelled (which still showed as "on time" after the scheduled arrival time even though it never took off).

He ended up renting a car and driving the rest of the way home (8 hours). I did take a few photographs at the terminal as a way of breaking the shear boredom. Nothing great but at least it wasn't a total loss.

Gawd, you're young. I still call it "Harper's Weekly."

Too bad the planet is so big because flying has turned into the most awful way to travel. Nothing about it is good. It used to be that you were treated well by the airlines but deregulation, efficiency, and corporate mergers have put an end to that. More people can afford it now, but almost everyone hates it now too, great trade-off. And they ripped up the a lot of the train tracks, so there's no good alternative except sitting on some freeway for hours on end in your car trying to avoid transport trucks.

And it seems to me that I'm hearing about more place crashes too, I hope that's my imagination. I'd hate to think that corporate efficiency might cut back on aircraft maintenance. They wouldn't do that, would they?

Mike, Mike, Mike (shaking my head here), how long have you lived back in Milwaukee....

Rule Number One: Never, but never, fly United for any reason!

Rule Number Two: Never, but never take a flight where the transfer point is so close to where you live. United will consistently over book, or cancel connecting flights from Milwaukee to Chicago, because they know you can take the Royal Coach bus, and maybe spend years trying to get your little money back from the last little leg...

Rule Number Three: Never, but never, fly United for any reason. The only airline ever to lie directly to my face unashamedly when trying to make a connection from Dulles back to Milwaukee.

(Still shaking my head...)

I agree with rules 1 and 3, and try to follow rule 2 as well. However when Ohare is unavoidable - either take a morning flight (less likely to be cancelled) or take the bus. When we fly internationally now, and have to go through Ohare we take the bus down from madison. It may add a bit if time, but we will make the connection, and it's usually a bit cheaper.


A few years ago a "Business" book was written that said the path to success was to can the customer service department. The airlines really took that to heart. Unfortunately so did many other businesses...

United Air Lines, Inc., (NYSE: UAL).

UAL = U Ain't Leavin'

Egad! And there I thought I was kidding with iTunes... Are those people in Apple sane?

To broaden Tom Kwas' comments, in Europe substitute "United" with "Ryanair".

I travelled from Washington Dulles back to the UK on the last friday before Christmas in 2001, so only months after the 9/11 attacks and presumably on the last working day in Washington before the holiday. The airport was extremely busy, but the security measures unrelenting. After a while, the security lines stopped moving altogether, and the terminal filled to capacity. Then it was announced that for some unspecified period one of the scanners had been malfunctioning, and everyone who had already gone through and onto the separate departures terminal would have to be returned for re-screening. The delay stretched to about five hours, and there were people standing outside the terminal on the taxi stand. By the time we finally got to security, the processing was very quick and perfunctory. It was as though someone in charge had made a decision that it was more important to clear the backlog than to check for bombs.

You haven't travelled for 10 years? And when you finally do it's domestic? How very...American of you. No sorry, it's just that there's this standing joke that more Americans shoot 8x10 glass negs than those who have passports.

Now these post holidays. Surely you can pre-schedule some stuff to keep us happy? Automatically scheduling a post with only the text, "Sony right? What's the deal?" would have us fooled. And couldn't you just post straight out of your phone?
Yes, the more free the content is, the more I feel I can legitimately complain.

"You haven't travelled for 10 years? And when you finally do it's domestic?"

Lazy Aussie,
So how many times have you been to Maine?


I travelled to Hong Kong the day before 9/11 (or 11/9 as we'd say). There was metal cutlery in the plane on the 10th of September, plastic on the way home.

Well I actually would love to go to Maine, although a correspondent has been turning me on to the rotting beauty of the Hudson River Valley, so my first choice might be there if I visited US. Is Maine where Mailer's Tough Guys Don't Dance is set? Just reread it. Lots of severed heads and such. Have only been to USA for half a day at Dallas (Dulles?) airport on the way to Mexico.

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