Tech experts share tricks of the trade with Santa

News Article / December 20, 2017

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By Sara White

There’s no one more on top of technology than Santa Claus. He’s the first to place the latest games and electronics under your tree, but he’s also well-trained in what it takes to travel the world.

In early December, Santa visited the Wing Telecommunications Flight at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, for his annual check-in with a team of military technicians who are all specially trained to support Royal Canadian Air Force operations at home and abroad. While that includes everyday telephone line and internet connections, it also covers satellite and radar communications tools, GPS, working in NORAD-monitored airspace and more.

“Back in the early days, I didn’t have any of that,” Santa said, as he settled into his conference table seat for the day’s brief with the technicians. “I had these,” pointing at his own two eyeballs, “and I relied on the reindeer quite a bit. And, the elves are a pretty good source of information – and they’re quick! I used them a lot more before the telegraph, and before radios and instruments.”

“There are always upgrades to radios and newer equipment and software updates,” noted Captain Cory Richard, a member of the flight. “We’ll go over any changes in air-ground communications, or air-to-air; and we always offer Santa BlackBerry support. We work directly with NORAD with our coastal control radars in Barrington and Sydney [Nova Scotia], and that helps Santa with his GPS tracking and satellite files.”

Santa is also always looking to clear up bugs in the North Pole’s internal communications network. Security is essential, as he has millions of names on his list and countless logistical details related to inventory, routing and workshop production to track.

Santa picked the brains of the technicians about incorporating 3D printing technology into his toy-making line. “We’ll be using them as soon as they are more available,” he said. He then asked the group about their own under-the-tree top-tech wishes for this year, which included virtual reality glasses, a dream 120-inch curve screen TV or the LG wallpaper screen.

“Oh, kids!” Santa said. “They want every game you can think of when I visit with them; all the latest VR stuff this year, for sure. They all want to be in the game! I hesitate with some of the games for some of the younger children, but virtual reality – that can teach quite a lot.”

Santa took time as he left the hangar to check out the collection of tech artefacts, including the sequence of cymbal-shaped, floppy and three-inch discs. He pointed out that the techs should add a thumb drive to the framed display to stay up-to-date themselves.

 

Starting at 2:01 a.m. EST on December 24, visitors to the NORAD Tracks Santa website can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Then, at 6 a.m. EST, trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com.

Ms White is the editor of The Aurora, 14 Wing’s base newspaper.

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