Coding at 30,000 feet

While flying home from Sacramento to Detroit today, I decided to utilize my time effectively by signing into the in-flight wifi, remoting into my work machine, and knocking down a few of the defects on the list for a project on which I’m working.

At first, I connected my VPN to the office and attempted to remote into my office machine directly. However, something in the combination of the wifi connection, the wireless from the plane to wherever (satellite, probably?), and my VPN made my RDP session unbearably slow. Or maybe I didn’t give it a chance.

Either way, I decided to take a different tack when approaching the problem: I remoted into my home machine, connected my VPN from there to the office, and then remoted into work.

This was far more responsive; the only time I had a notable delay was when full-screen redraws were necessary, as occurred when I switched from one application to another. I got around this by splitting my window; Visual Studio on one side and Chrome on the other.

In all, I completed 1.5 hours of billable work, knocked down my defect list, and made my customer happy by getting things done more quickly than would have been possible otherwise, all for $12 worth of wifi charge. Then the battery on my laptop died, and I was rendered disconnected.

Now, ten minutes later, as I write this (on my phone), I’m thinking of using the rdp client on my Android to connect again…

Update:
I decided to try connecting to Talkatone, a Google Voice phone service that utilizes my phone’s internet connection (wifi, in this case), while in-flight. This worked remarkably well. I only wish I could turn my phone’s earpiece volume higher when there exists as much background noise as there is on a plane, but this has nothing to do with the call quality or the service at all.

In all, two thumbs up for in-flight wifi and Talkatone.

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