Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Saturday, March 17, 2007day link 

 The caves on Mars
picture That's fun news. Caves on Mars.
The caves may be the only natural structures capable of protecting primitive life forms from micrometeoroids, UV radiation, solar flares and high energy particles that bombard the planet's surface.

The spacecraft spotted what seemed to be vertical "skylight" entrances to caves below the surface.

There is a sheer drop of between about 80m and 130m or more to the cave floors below.

During the day, one of the features - nicknamed "Annie" - is warmer than surrounding pits and cooler than sunlit areas.

Night time temperatures are warmer than nearly all surrounding areas.

Co-author Glen Cushing, from the US Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona, said this was exactly what would be expected if the feature were a cave.
And, on top of that, they've also discovered huge ice deposits on the south pole of Mars. Up to 2.3 miles thick. Enough water to cover the whole planet with 36 feet of water, if it melted. ... Of course, that would flood the caves too.
[ | 2007-03-17 16:20 | 0 comments | PermaLink ]

 The Digital Bedouins and the Backpack Office
picture Slashdot:
"The laptop and wireless revolutions have led to the rise of a new class of digital 'Bedouins' — tech workers who ply their crafts from Starbucks and other locations with WiFi access. Another article describes some strategies and tools for embracing the Bedouin way of life, and even having fun: 'If you have the right kind of job, you can take vacations while you're on the clock. In other words, you can travel for fun and adventure and keep on working. You can travel a lot more without needing more official vacation time. I've done it. In August I took a month long vacation to Central America, backpacking from one Mayan ruin to the next, and I never officially took time off. I submitted my columns, provided reports and other input, participated in conference calls and interacted via e-mail. I used hotel Wi-Fi connections and local cybercafes to communicate and Skype to make business calls. Nobody knew I was sunburned, drinking from a coconut and listening to howler monkeys as I replied to their e-mails.'"
I like the concept very much, but are we really there yet? I feel very disconnected if I'm not by my broadband connection at home. Even if I stayed within my very civilized high-tech French metropolis, I'd have lots of trouble staying connected. Very few open WiFi connections. Lots of cybercafés, but I'd have to use their crappy Windows computers. My 3G phone should in principle keep me connected, but I haven't figured out how to use it as a modem yet, and the data charges are insanely expensive.

I started trying to work as a digital nomad almost 20 years ago. I'd go travelling for weeks without officially being on vacation, but bringing a 20 pound laptop, and a bag full of road warrior gadgets. But I always had trouble, and it never turned out like I planned. Little things like it being illegal to buy a phone plug in Germany at the time. Or incompatible digital phone systems in hotels. OK, now with wifi and ubiquitous broadband, it should be easier. Except for if all the wifi connections are locked down, or they're $20 per hour. Of if you're visiting somebody with broadband, but they insist you don't touch their USB DSL modem, even though you brought a wifi DSL router.

But I guess it is time for taking a fresh look at the best-of-breed tools for digital nomads.
[ | 2007-03-17 16:47 | 7 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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