On Road Trip, setting up a mobile, off-the-grid office

Roving reporter heads deep into the forest with a satellite modem and phone, a battery-operated Bluetooth-enabled printer, and a lot of fully-charged batteries.

A scene from early in Road Trip 2009, when CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman was charging up all the gadgets he'd brought along. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

RAWLINS, Wyo.--After staying in motels for 31 straight days, I'm taking Road Trip 2009 into the woods.

It's not that I'm going to stop filing stories and pictures. It's that I'm taking this opportunity both to (mostly) get away from people for awhile, and to see just how nimble my little collection of tech and communications gadgets makes me as a reporter.

So I'm heading into Wyoming's Sierra Madre mountains today, intent on hiding away in some little campground to enjoy the wilderness, yet still continue posting new stories and pictures. As such, I'll be porting: an Iridium 9555A satellite phone and Inmarsat's BGAN broadband satellite modem for communicating by phone and Internet; a fully charged MacBook Pro and the battery on the Audi Q7 TDI I'm road-testing to recharge from; a battery-powered and Bluetooth-enabled mobile HP printer to print photos; and a few more things, just for good measure.

Every time I write about bringing technology into wilderness, I get asked why I would do such a thing. The truth is, I would very much like to spend a few days camping with nothing much more for accessories than hiking boots and a good book, but I'm working. Road Trip is a full-time venture while I'm in the field, and so I'm trying, as best as I can, to mix reporting and retreat.

And also, of course, to test the equipment in order to see just how normal a working operation I can set up in conditions that are simply not used to seeing such things. Don't worry, for long stretches, I will turn everything off and be with nature.

I may, however, startle a few camping neighbors and see if they're interested in having photos of them out in the woods live-blogged, and if so, also instantly printing them up glossy photos. Hey, I'm a tech geek, and I write about tech geekery. I can't help myself.

Stay tuned for reports on how this experiment goes, and whether I'm chased out of the woods by tech-hating campers.

 

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