Gadgets

Technology vs the volcano: iPad, silver lining, anywhere you go

As the Eyjafjallajökull volcano continues to cause travel misery, plucky travellers are turning to the Web, Skype and even their iPad -- in some cases to get married and run countries

As the Eyjafjallajökull volcano continues to spew a plume of ash into the sky, stranded travellers are turning to technology to go about their business, from couples marrying on Skype to heads of state running the country on their iPad.

The ash cloud has brought misery for thousands of people planning to fly, as airspace over much of Europe is closed for business. Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Gatwick and London City Airport remain grounded. Some major Scottish airports opened for a bit then closed again. Still, think how much worse things would have been if travellers couldn't access real-time updates from airlines and airports on the Web, with email and VoIP keeping us in touch with our loved ones around the world.

Plucky, tech-savvy travellers are finding the tech-related silver lining to this particular cloud. Londoner Sean Murtagh and his Australian bride-to-be Natalie Mead, stranded in Dubai while flying to London to get married in front of their families, said "iDo" in a Humanist ceremony conducted via VoIP application Skype. Family members watched on their computers while other stranded passengers attended in person.

Meanwhile, Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg is using his iPad as one tool to keep up with the running of the country. It may not be able to cope with Flash, but it's more than a match for ash.

The cloud even prevented us from making it to CNET Towers. At least, until management pointed out that there are no reports of ash affecting the Northern Line and we should get our gadget-loving behinds into work pronto before we're fired and replaced with helper monkeys. Apparently they cost a third as much as us and know how to use apostrophes.

Have you or someone you know been affected by the ash cloud? Has technology saved the day or let you down horribly? Spew your thoughts into the comments section like hot lava dribbling down an Icelandic fjord.