Tag: Technology

Walter Kirn: In Defense of Texting While Hiking

The author of travel novel-turned-movie “Up in the Air” has a confession: He likes to text while hiking, and he also likes to bring his iPad to the beach. He’s torn down the barriers between technology and wilderness, and—as he writes for Outside—he thinks that more of us should do the same. Here’s Kirn on his moment of revelation:

After three months of writing cooped up indoors, with only a square patch of sky framed by my window, I drifted outside one day into a field frequented by herds of pronghorn antelope and set up an improvised writing desk on an abandoned, weathered wooden spool that had once held telephone wire. I opened my laptop, powered by a battery, set my cell phone beside it so I could handle work calls, and rigged up a little iPod stereo with speakers that looked like Lucite tennis balls. Above me, in the immense blue August sky, gray cumulus clouds fattened and roiled and towered, blocking the sun, and between them neat white contrails unfurled, tracing the curvature of the vast planet as jets bore their passengers between great cities. The sight was evocative and monumental, and it would have been lost to me, locked up as I was in my office. The novel took on an extra dimension then—broad, expansive, melancholy. Unless I’d brought my computer onto the prairie, I never would have caught the scene.

Everest Base Camp: Now With 3G

Outside’s Grayson Schaffer is spending two months blogging from base camp—and, as he notes in one of his early posts, he’s doing so without the use of a spendy satellite connection:

Until the 1970s and ‘80s, most Everest expeditions included two porters who did nothing but run mail dispatches from Base Camp to the nearest village. No longer. This year, multiple climbers at Base Camp are snapping photos on their iPhones and sharing them through Instagram and Facebook in real time.

That’s possible because of Nepal’s dominant cell phone service, Ncell. In 2010, the provider announced plans to bring 3G coverage all the way to Mount Everest. Now it’s here.

Just one more sign of our inexorably shrinking planet.

Googling Romeo

Claire Bushey couldn't stop thinking about the handsome actor she met on a trip to England. Then she did something she'll always regret.

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Five Great iPhone Apps for Travel Photography

On how to get the most out of your iPhone's camera when you travel

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Pulling the Plug: PDA-Free Holidays

No, I’m not talking about the “get a room” variety of PDA. According to the Globe and Mail’s Marsha Lederman, an increasing number of hotels and resorts are offering BlackBerry-free zones, and even packages where hotel staff will ensure that guests don’t make or take any calls and emails—for their own good, of course.

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Is the Internet Ruining Travel?

Photo by dro!d via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Several high-profile British travel writers think so. In the Times of London, they weigh in on the proliferation of internet cafes, mass emails home and the rise of blogging from the road. Says Wanderlust editor Lyn Hughes: “I like to remember when ‘poste restante’ was the only way of getting in touch. It was so much more exciting then.”

The Traveling Paperback: ‘Currency in the Land of the Transients’

Photo by eliazar via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Over at Brave New Traveler, Rachel Friedman wonders about the impact of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader on the traditional paper book—and most importantly, on the traveling paperback. I’ve been tuning out the e-book debate for several years now, but this story caught my attention thanks to its loving reminiscences about that essential backpacking rite: the hostel book swap.

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