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#138792 - 07/06/08 03:25 PM SPOT FAILS UNDER PRESSURE
ponder Offline

Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 367
Loc: American Redoubt
Saturday July 5, 2008 the SPOT - FINDMESPOT rescue device failed under very visible conditions.

Kent Couch of COUCHBALLOONS.COM flew a lawn chair with helium balloons from Bend, Oregon to Cambridge, Idaho.

One of the sponsors, SPOT, provided tracking information for publicity and rescue. According to Mark Knowles, event coordinator, an hour into the flight, the FINDMESPOT servers failed support.

Kent landed safely no help to SPOT. Ground crews in Idaho were promised a mashup between FINDMESPOT and GOOGLEMAPS. The anticipated recording of the flight over the Snake River and into Idaho was lost.

Excuses are many. One offered is that the servers were hit too hard by the National media exposure. Maybe SPOT is not as serious about there products capability as they advertise. Had Kent needed rescue, that excuse would have been of limited comfort.

Had James Kim been depending on the SPOT product, his death would not have boded well for SPOT
Cliff Harrison
Horseshoe Bend, ID
American Redoubt
N43.9668 W116.1888

#138795 - 07/06/08 03:55 PM Re: SPOT FAILS UNDER PRESSURE [Re: ]
Nishnabotna Offline
Icon of Sin

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 512
Loc: Nebraska
Disappointing. I was going to consider SPOT for the more mundane aspects of their service (tracking, etc). If it can't even do that...

#138801 - 07/06/08 04:36 PM Re: SPOT FAILS UNDER PRESSURE [Re: Nishnabotna]

I wonder if Les Stroud is going to regret being their celebrity sponsor. Every ad I see has him looking all rugged but with a SPOT on his belt LOL.

#138804 - 07/06/08 04:58 PM Re: SPOT FAILS UNDER PRESSURE [Re: ]
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Anybody flies in a lawn chair with helium balloons deserves SPOT.

#138806 - 07/06/08 05:38 PM Re: SPOT FAILS UNDER PRESSURE [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
Hopefully they will find out why it didnít work and work out the bugs. The idea of one of these devices is great.

Failure is only failure if you quit. It can be used as a learning experience that points out problem areas and lack of planning that can then be refined for future product refinement or service improvements.

No one was killed and with work this product & service could go on to save lives.

You can run, but you'll only die tired.

#138807 - 07/06/08 05:44 PM Re: SPOT FAILS UNDER PRESSURE [Re: ]
Nicodemus Offline

Registered: 10/30/05
Posts: 1341
Loc: Virginia, US
Les probably has an out clause or two in his contracts with SPOT, but either way no one died as a result of the products failure so there's nothing to regret... Unless he stays on and something bad happens.

I find it interesting (read as ridiculous) that SPOT would let an idiot in a lawn chair strapped to some balloons show their product so prominently on his site.

That would be enough for me to want to jump ship right there.

Regarding the SPOT as a rescue device in this particular situation: If something went wrong and the balloonatic needed to send a call for help, what could anyone do except track him until he finally lands or find out where he fell out of the lawn chair?

Temporary glitch or not in SPOT's performance, Doug laid out enough reasons for me to purchase something like the ACR Microfix over the SPOT should I finally take the leap and buy an item like this.

Edited by Nicodemus (07/06/08 05:45 PM)
"Learn survival skills when your life doesn't depend on it."

#138812 - 07/06/08 07:57 PM Re: SPOT FAILS UNDER PRESSURE [Re: Nicodemus]
clarktx Offline

Registered: 07/01/08
Posts: 250
Loc: Houston, Texas
Originally Posted By: Nicodemus
Regarding the SPOT as a rescue device in this particular situation: If something went wrong and the balloonatic needed to send a call for help, what could anyone do except track him until he finally lands or find out where he fell out of the lawn chair?

Sorry, it begs the obvious answer... shoot the balloons one at a time.

There. I said it. Sorry. But I did enjoy the mental picture and think it would be the most appropriate considering the nature of the entire event.
You can't teach experience.

#138813 - 07/06/08 08:03 PM Re: SPOT FAILS UNDER PRESSURE [Re: clarktx]

That's what the first guy who did it did. This stunt has been pulled many times. This is the first time I've heard it getting corporate sponsors :P

#138815 - 07/06/08 08:55 PM Re: SPOT FAILS UNDER PRESSURE [Re: ]
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA

FWIW, there is a difference between the failure of back end systems and the failure of the user facing web stuff (although, if poorly designed, they can become related).

These online media events tend to be a learning experience for all companies. They often just don't understand the scaling issues very well the first time out.

I noticed the same kind of thing with SPOT and the Primal Quest coverage.

My guess is that this will help them build a better system and hopefully they will learn that they must keep the emergency use and the web tracking separate, if they already do not.


#138819 - 07/06/08 10:28 PM Re: SPOT FAILS UNDER PRESSURE [Re: JohnN]
11BINF Offline

Registered: 10/05/03
Posts: 115
Loc: phx. az. u.s.a
besides SPOT,does anybody know if the guy had a parachute and basic survival gear with him on his flight?..or at least a few P.B.J sandwitches and water..vince g. 11b inf..

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