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Who Says You Can't VoIP on Aircell, I just Did It

This post is dedicated to my father, the late Master Sergeant Bernard Abramson, who in the USMC fashion taught me that "the impossible we do right away, but miracles take a little longer."

He would be proud.

Tonight I got an email from Laptop Magazine's new News Editor (recently promoted) Joanna Stern, asking me to get on SightSpeed while she was flying on an Aircell equipped American Airlines flight to New York.

We actually saw each other for about ten seconds on SightSpeed, before the voice and real time video sensing technology cut the connection off. Bummer as that was the supposed "impossible."

Then I thought what Dad had always taught me, about "miracles." So, faster than I could figure out my HOSTEL TAKEOVER Ambush Wedding at a hotel that shall remain nameless, that many of the VoIP crowd witnessed last year, I realized how to have a VoIP call with Joanna. It took about 10 seconds to suggest we try Flash Audio. And guess what? It worked.

Phweet. Yup, the unfunded brainchild of pals Stuart Henshall and Mr. Blog David Beckemeyer (who I consider one of the true great minds in VoIP) made it happen.

I invited Joanna, she replied and once I figured out how to get Phweet to answer (I had to use Safari, not Firefox) Joanna and I were having a lovely conversation while she was on an Aircell flight. I don't mean a five second hi, hello. I mean, a real conversation, as she held her Lenovo UMPC up to her face. I even heard the announcement from the flight attendants as she was about to land.

Here's the logic. Flash audio is embedded inside Flash. Unless Aircell wants to block all Flash traffic, this is the way to talk.

So, if you want to talk in the air, just Phweet.

Comments

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Blake Cornell

If this method didn't work as desired, there are still ways to make a call from 35k+ feet.

I spoke at The Last HOPE, a 2600 conference, with Jeremy McNamara about how it can be impossible to stop VoIP calls while utilizing Asterisk's IAX protocol. If AA gets smart and blocks twitter outright, what could you do next?

The following URL has two links on the top right. The iaxPingPoker is a script that can be used to scan for IAX servers. The other being the presentation from the conference.

http://www.securityscraper.com/

mibsphil

Interesting, and, I admit, pretty cool. However: have you considered at all that your fellow passengers on that plane might not want to hear your conversation during the flight? I just wonder where common courtesy comes into play here.

bjsvec

Interesting. The Aircell front page mentions VPN, so I suppose you can use your favorite soft phone via VPN too. For that matter, Skype, etc. should all work too assuming you use the VPN as your default gateway.

It looks like only selected American, Delta and Virgin America flights offer this service so far.

Yozef

I must admit, this is a huge leap. Great find. And I'm happy it worked through Flash :-) (Being a flex developer myself).

So I assume, Ribbit also works.

Yusuf Motiwala

>> So, if you want to talk in the air, just Phweet.

Or TringMe - flash backbone of Phweet!!!

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