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Adventures in Nomadic Serendipity
Just because there is a beaten path, that doesn't mean you have to take it...
Technomadic Dreams - Vintage 1996 
20th-Dec-2010 12:44 am
The job that first brought me west to California way back in 1996 was to become the first Technical Editor of Imagine Publishing's 'boot' magazine. It was an incredible job, and other than the ever present panic of print deadlines, it was heaven for a tech junkie like myself.

I still get a thrill every time I see boot's successor Maximum PC on the newstands, and recently I spotted a new spin-off Maximum Tech that is broadening the PC-focus into all sorts of consumer technology. The first issue was absolutely fabulous -reviewing everything from Web Tablets to Vibram FiveFinger shoes..

I love knowing that something that I helped start continues to thrive, and remains one of the most respected and influential magazines in the industry.

Lately on the Maximum PC website, they have been running a series called "Old School Monday" featuring reruns of articles from the early days. And one article in particular just brought a huge grin to my face.

boot Magazine - Lust List - 1996For the 1996 "Lust List" feature, every editor had to briefly write about the 10 products that most fired up their imagination that past year. Here was one of my picks:
Ricochet Wireless Modem: Taking the Net with you on the road helps blur the boundaries between cyberspace and reality. A Ricochet and a notebook are the first step to being the technomad I've always dreamed of becoming. Next, I need a HUD headband and a palm keyboard. I wonder if the Borg have any job openings...

This was a time years before WiFi, and the Ricochet modem was the size of a small brick. But it allowed me to get online wirelessly all over the SF area, and it was actually faster than the then common 56kbps dialup modems. I actually wrote my Ricochet review while enjoying the "office view" from the top of SF's Twin Peaks. It was incredible technology, way ahead of its time.

The Ricochet was reliable enough that I even "cut the cord" and ditched the phone line at my apartment, and even back then was relying on just my cell phone and my wireless modem to live my digital life.

Another fun Ricochet memory - I once created a VAN (Van Area Network) that combined a 12volt-to-AC inverter, the Ricochet, a wired router and hub, and a lot of ethernet cable... All so that my team could have four laptops sharing the wireless connection while underway playing in an epic weekend-long puzzle hunt (The Game).

Those were the days... It is amazing how far wireless and mobile technology has advanced since then.

But I am thrilled to realize that 14 years later, I am now the "technomad I've always dreamed of becoming".

Dreams often do come true. *grin*
20th-Dec-2010 04:55 am (UTC)
Oh, nice. We still have 3 Ricochet modems, two of the original ones and one of the fast Ricochet2's. Ricochet2 service was, in my experience, as fast as current 3G.
21st-Dec-2010 12:19 pm (UTC)
"Dreams often do come true."

Funny you should say that. I've recently heard from a company who want me to write software for spaceships. Actual spaceships.

Just when I was thinking of returning to the UK. Sheeeeit!
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