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The Digital Bedouins and the Backpack Office

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the natural-extension-of-flextime dept.

Wireless Networking 149

PetManimal writes "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.'"

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whatever it is (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379055)

It gets on my chimes. My chimes god damn you! FIST PROST!

Paranoid (-1, Offtopic)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379063)

I read this journal entry [slashdot.org] , and this story [sfgate.com] , and I have this odd sense of paranoia.

a technology journalist...started blogging five years ago
check [slashdot.org]

and last year quit his day job
check [slashdot.org] and check [slashdot.org]

He now has a full-time staff...contributing to different online journals
I probably write more eloquently, more insightfully, and more up-to-date than they do.

There is a downside, Malik readily admits. "I can put in an 18-hour day," he said. "You don't know when to stop."
Stop being such a wussy. I live on the streets and have had fewer than a dozen hot meals in the last year and I can still do the job more effectively.

Funny he should mention Marx. Soviet iconography is popping up all over the Bay Area
MH42 claims to be in Oregon.

The two have vastly different ethics
MH42 preaches whichever side of the line allows him to troll today. I practice one path.

Rubyred Labs, a hip Web design shop in South Park, had its launch party there. Teams from established Web companies such as Google Inc. and Flickr, a photo sharing site that's now owned by Yahoo, meet there. "You'd never know these guys were millionaires," said Ritual co-owner Jeremy Tooker.
Why do I have this odd feeling that someone has f**ked me over in the worst way?

They lined up for interviews. None were actually hired, but it cemented in Levine's mind the notion of where the talent pool lies
Does my nickname not indicate where I am? Try my journal history [slashdot.org]

Kennedy, the self-professed bedouin
The pampered people profess it. I'm actually out here doing it.

Kennedy said. "In cafes now, it's, 'Is there a Wi-Fi technician in the house?'"
Is five years of Debian and Linuxfromscratch not enough?

Kevin Burton, an expert in blogs and RSS feeds
Gah. That's like being an expert in tabloids and political circulars. If being an expert in blogs and RSS feeds provides any reasonable income then why are investors allowing me to sleep on a park bench every night?

Contact me to negotiate an appropriate laptop.

Life is a Tradeoff (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379219)

Imagine an American society that works 80 hours per week. There is no time to keep abreast of current events. Hence, the voters make the wrong decision at the ballot box. Then, politicians send the American army to destroy foreign lands.

However, being too busy to stay abreast of current events does not absolve you of your suffrage responsibility. You are still fully responsible for the actions of the government since it answers to you at the ballot box.

Here is the tradeoff.

1. Increase effective work hours by working at Starbucks and elsewhere.
2. Increasingly lack knowledge of current events.
3. Increasingly elect politicians whose political positions will destroy the lives of foreigners.
4. The injured foreigners then initiate military attacks against American citizens.
5. The Americans claim, "I am innocent."
6. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Re:Life is a Tradeoff (2, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379805)

I'm curious how political positions can "destroy the lives of foreigners", and how that justifies a military attack or is the responsibility of Americans.

There are thousands of homeless people who are homeless because some rich guy's business failed or moved or just laid off a few hundred people in order to stay competitive. Their lives were destroyed by the actions of these powerful people...does that justify an attack? Are those in power not innocent simply because their actions resulted in one person's life being "destroyed"? I don't think so. Sure there are a lot of rich men who simply don't care about the workers they trod all over in search of the almighty dollar; but there are plenty who agonize over every layoff, every person whose life is affected by their efforts to maintain a healthy business.

Here's a better argument:

We are number 172 out of 230 countries in poulation density. Many of the nations below us either possess vast areas of inhospitable land (Russia and Canada). The rest...well, I wouldn't want to visit most of them. In other words, we're a nation with a lot of room to grow.

I make that point to say this: the more work we do, the more we cut down our population growth. Look at Japan with its negative growth rate; they're a nation obsessed with work. They're also the nation that reports the least frequent sex among narried couples; as a married man, I strongly object to this!

Re:Life is a Tradeoff (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380027)

Well you know what they say (and I speak from experience as well),

"The best way to kill your sex life is to get married."

No, not always! (2, Interesting)

anomaly (15035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381327)

I speak from experience here - father of five, happily married and a great sex life with my wife!

Just because you get married doesn't mean your sex life suffers. In fact, I'd argue that when you learn great relationship skills the frequency and quality of sex increases dramatically.

YMMV.

Anomaly

Re:No, not always! (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381357)

Anomaly indeed. :) Props for the super low user number, you must have helped father Slashdot.

Re:Life is a Tradeoff (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380329)

We are number 172 out of 230 countries in poulation density. Many of the nations below us either possess vast areas of inhospitable land (Russia and Canada).

s/inhospitable/uninhabited/

Russia's population is mostly urban, and Canada is little different in that regard. Living where the bears do can be nice, but it's a bitch getting DSL service.

Re:Life is a Tradeoff (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380853)

I'm curious how political positions can "destroy the lives of foreigners", and how that justifies a military attack or is the responsibility of Americans.

Calm down. He never said it justified. But, even if unjustified, it still happens.

When people can blame (or are made to blame) the actions of a country (embargoes, support for a dictator, support for insurgency, support to occupation) for their misery (or lack of whatever they think they need) you end up with terrorists - people who are so mad at a government, a lifestile and whatever image they make of them, they won't regard them as human and will not think twice before killing themselves in order to kill several of what they perceive as their enemies. Add to that those who rise to power by exploiting that hatred turning it into a cause and you have the present state of affairs or something pretty close to it.

It's a tragedy and it was avoidable

Re:Paranoid (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379231)

The paranoia is because you are crazy.

Re:Paranoid (0, Flamebait)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379271)

Stop being so coy.

Re:Paranoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379469)

Take a shower.

Re:Paranoid (-1, Offtopic)

Cyberdogs7 (1076777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380513)

http://dellcomputerdeal.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] Has great deals on dell computers that you can use to travel the world and work with. Check it out.

Mayans? (4, Funny)

Paolo DF (849424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379077)

So, mayans had developed wifi technology? ;-)
This explains a lot...

Re:Mayans? (4, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380893)

Yeah, but they're gonna have big trouble with the Y2K12 bug.

I think that's pretty rare. (5, Insightful)

Morinaga (857587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379159)

I'm not sure about anyone else but that sounds like one of the worst "vacations" possible to me. Perhaps his type of work lends itself to productivity in such an environment. I wouldn't be as productive and more importantly I wouldn't enjoy my vacation all that much. I see the appeal and relative productivity of sitting in a cafe or park and getting work done but to really travel and sight-see?

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (5, Insightful)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379301)

I agree - I took 'vacations' where I was supposed to keep in touch via laptop (email, skype, etc) and it made it for me impossible to create the mental disconnect that is the requisite of proper rest during vacations.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380431)

I've tried it, too, and it sucked. A "working vacation" is neither.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (4, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380443)

I'm on the other side of the spectrum, in that I prefer to travel for work. I feel that my interactions with the culture and the people are a little more genuine when I have a real reason to be there, other than to take pictures of the cute little brown children and pose in front of old buildings. Trying to live a normal, day-to-day existence in a foreign country, versus doing the tour thing, gives you a better appreciation of what the country is really like, I think.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (1)

swordfishBob (536640) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380721)

.. he's not saying "take your work when you're meant to be on leave", it's more "go see interesting places while you're working". If you're travelling but not taking leave, it's an entirely different perspective.

It does require a certain kind of job, and does restrict the kind of travel you do. Taking a young family to "wet and wild" restricts you to brief phone calls. You have to be making enough time available to actually do the work.

I'd give it a go, but my daughter refuses to miss a day of school, and I have 6 weeks' leave still owing.. if I don't take it as leave, it could get cancelled on me.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (2, Insightful)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379417)

I see the appeal and relative productivity of sitting in a cafe or park and getting work done but to really travel and sight-see?

Well, for one thing, you're already there. So at 4:00 or 5:00 PM you shutdown, put your laptop away, and walk a few feet to do something fun, instead of still having to get on a plane :)

Sheesh, if you're having enough fun on a "real vacation", you probably wouldn't wake up until then anyway ;)

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379429)

I'm not sure about anyone else but that sounds like one of the worst "vacations" possible to me.

I think his point isn't that it's a superior alternative to a non-working vacation, but that it's better than being at work and isn't charged against his vacation time.

Anyway, when backpacking you wind up with long stretches on a bus or ferry where a little coding wouldn't be an unwelcome distraction.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379713)

Anyway, when backpacking you wind up with long stretches on a bus or ferry where a little coding wouldn't be an unwelcome distraction.

Unless you're in Latin America and you're two meters tall, in which case you're either riding inside the bus chewing on your knees, or holding onto the top. I'm planning to make a trip down there pretty soon and my biggest concern is actually fitting into public transport :/

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379621)

... Says the guy who's NOT working from a tropical country sipping rum from a coconut watching beautiful dark skinned women run around in the sun...

just sayin'

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (5, Funny)

SydBarrett (65592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380013)

That would sound awesome except for that whole working part. I guess some people can't really enjoy the tropics without a LCD screen in your face or banging away like a crazed badger at your blackberry while shoving fistfulls of Pocky into your eat-hole.

Either work or dont work, stop half-assing it already. You dont travel to someplace nice just to do the same shit you do at the office because it's like going to England just to eat at McDonalds. You updated some dohicky from India just the same as you could from home. That's really fucking impressive. Be sure to tell us all what you DIDN'T do there since you dont have the will power to PUT DOWN THE FUCKING LAPTOP ALREADY.

You are just wasting your time. Even though you are getting paid, you are stuck someplace great that you cant enjoy fully since your bizarre nerd ego demands that you never stop working at all. I bet the grankids will love that story of how you were deep in some jungle when you BRAVELY REPLIED TO THAT IMPORTANT EMAIL. Wow, dad! Tell us again how bad the signal strength was!

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380295)

Even though you are getting paid, you are stuck someplace great that you cant enjoy fully since your bizarre nerd ego demands that you never stop working at all. I bet the grankids will love that story of how you were deep in some jungle when you BRAVELY REPLIED TO THAT IMPORTANT EMAIL. Wow, dad! Tell us again how bad the signal strength was!

The strange thing is, some people enjoy their work enough that not doing it makes them feel empty. To them, the idea of going deep in some jungle without the ability to reply to email is just as bizarre as you taking a laptop with you.

And really - what place does the modern world have for exploration? What the hell is the point of going into a jungle, looking around, and coming out? Bragging rights? That's not enough anymore. It's not the 16th century, having gone somewhere doesn't improve your life, other than giving people stories to tell that will impress a certain sector of people.

McDonalds in England (4, Funny)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380409)

You dont travel to someplace nice just to do the same shit you do at the office because it's like going to England just to eat at McDonalds.
In fairness to McDonalds, the cuisine at your local neighborhood McDonalds is far superior to anything purporting to be British food.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380469)

I bet the grankids will love that story of how you were deep in some jungle when you BRAVELY REPLIED TO THAT IMPORTANT EMAIL.

The point is that he is in the jungle while you and I are bitching at each other from our desks in the middle of a snowstorm!

I don't understand what is so freaking difficult about this concept -- the idea is that you get **MORE** vacation, not that you enjoy it less.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (2, Funny)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380539)

>The point is that he is in the jungle while you and I are bitching at each other from our desks in the
>middle of a snowstorm!

Not me. I'm bitching from a rooftop in the middle of Balboa Island. My boss thinks I'm in a hotel room in Costa Mesa.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (4, Insightful)

Do You Smell That (932346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380999)

Assuming your post isn't a joke (it is modded funny, afterall)... Recently my company sent me to Holland for 2 1/2 months of training. Never having been outside the US before (Canada totally doesn't count), this was an incredible opportunity. All the benefits of vacationing in a foreign country (when you're working, you still get weekends off and have the right to use sick days... accruing more of them all the while), but without having to worry about moving in, finding yourself a hotel, etc. Plenty of time after work every day to go out and mix with the locals, and you're in town long enough to actually find your way around and pick up a bit of the language and culture. If you look at it from the point of view of "I'm doing my same job, just from a much cooler office" instead of "I'm on vacation stuck doing work for the man", you'll feel much better about the whole thing. Then again, the more I think of it, my situation is nothing like that in the article... in his case, the vacation was his idea. :sigh: Time to go home.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (1)

jvagner (104817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379791)

Works for me. I don't like the idea of traditional "vacations", and I like involving far-flung places in my normal life. A vacation is a week or two or three (at most).. but if you want, you can go off for a month or two and really get into other places.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (3, Insightful)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381221)

I'm not sure about anyone else but that sounds like one of the worst "vacations" possible to me. Perhaps his type of work lends itself to productivity in such an environment. I wouldn't be as productive and more importantly I wouldn't enjoy my vacation all that much. I see the appeal and relative productivity of sitting in a cafe or park and getting work done but to really travel and sight-see?

Three years ago, with yet another business trip to the other side of the world (Asia) coming up, I decided on a whim to put all my stuff in storage and give notice to my landlord. I had a bunch of projects in Asia on the horizon, so I figured I'd just hang out there for a few months.

Well, it's been more than a few months. I am renting an apartment in Kuala Lumpur, where I spend about 1/3 of the time (those periods when I really need to sit at my desk and focus). Another 1/3 of the time I'm on-site for work, which could be anywhere in the world.

But the good part is, since my expenses are so much lower over here (I'm paying half the rent for a flat twice the size), I have plenty of money left over for plane tickets. So the other third of the year I toss my laptop in a bag and go anyplace that sounds interesting that the airlines have on sale. Australia, Bali, Spain, Morocco, Korea, to name some of the most recent. Heading to Oman in a few weeks. I find hotels with decent internet connection (believe it or not, it's usually the cheap ones where you get the best net access) and let Asterisk route my calls to me, and nobody's the wiser.

No, it's not a traditional vacation. I don't spend a rigidly demarcated two weeks totally divorced from routine, with colleagues and work a distant memory. I normally have to at least think about work every day, and occasionally I find myself doing 10 or 12 hour days in a place where I'd really rather be outside.

But when my "vacation" lasts 4 months a year, I don't mind that. The memory of a few 10-hour stretches melts away when I walk outside and spend the rest of my time being fascinated by my environment, eyes wide open and days filled with discovery and wonder. Since I buy my air tickets in Asia, I can normally push back my return to make up for unexpected work, without paying change fees.

And to be honest, the other 4 months, the ones I spend in Malaysia, are pretty vacationey too. Tropical weather, weekend trips to the beach, monkeys in the trees, exotic holidays and festivals around every corner... the thought of going back to spending the year sitting in the office unless pulled elsewhere by work, well, it's unthinkable.

Re:I think that's pretty rare. (1)

sampson7 (536545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381523)

Why is this a bad thing? Sounds like an wonderful vacation to me.

Option A:

Work at the office for 10 hours, leave work, go home, go about your normal life for 6 hours, sleep. Rinse, repeat.

Option B:

Work in County X for ten hours, leave work, go explore exotic city for 6 hours, sleep. Rinse, repeat.

Which would you rather have? Sure, pure vacation > working vacation. But it's just as clear to me that working vacation > staying home. And remember, he is not on vacation! He's simply remotely telecommuting and presumably, accruing vacation time, getting paid, etc. I don't understand exactly how the logistics of this works (power, communications, etc.), but it sounds like a lovely life style to me.

It's hard to take off for weeks or months at a time and still maintain a decent paying job. He's managed to compromise, and as a result is seeing and living and working in places that I, with my desk-bound job and three weeks of vacation a year will never see.

Need better infrastructure (4, Insightful)

cyberbob2351 (1075435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379161)

I've tried this lifestyle as a daily campus activity, and I have noted the following observations.
  • Laptop battery life still sucks. Someone start working on a solar solution :)
  • Even on campus, good WiFi hotspots are few and far between. We need hotspots that permit ssh tunneling, and encryption that works...Cell phones with internet hookups are probably the only option if you are backpacking Mayan ruins...
  • The home desktop will always be more comfortable, and as a result my files will always be there. Transferring them to the laptop on the fly is a pain when home upload speeds are so terrible with most ISP's
  • You lose lots of weight when you are out and about, seeing as how you don't have a home food supply to compel you. A major plus.
  • The public environment can be quite distracting, especially when you know people that always come and speak to you. Try and find a lonely corner, and suddenly finding a power supply and/or internet link can be challenging.

Re:Need better infrastructure (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379439)

Reflections on your observations:

Laptop battery life still sucks. Someone start working on a solar solution :)
I agree that battery life sucks for most laptops, but I've got a two year old Dell 600m that still gets 4+ hrs. on the battery with the WiFi on. A bay battery is wonderful for extending your mobile time. Otherwise, learn to plot where the AC outlets are located.

Even on campus, good WiFi hotspots are few and far between. We need hotspots that permit ssh tunneling, and encryption that works...
I'm sad for you. The campus where I teach (my second job) has a great wireless network, and I can VPN from there to my office anytime.

The home desktop will always be more comfortable, and as a result my files will always be there. Transferring them to the laptop on the fly is a pain when home upload speeds are so terrible with most ISP's
I think you'll change your mind eventually. I switched to a laptop about three years ago, and now I rarely (can't remember the last time) sit down at the desktop. In fact, I can't stand full sized keyboards anymore (and I have really big hands). As a result, all of my important files are on the laptop. The desktops at home have become the kids' homework and game centers. My wife an I are both laptop-only users these days.

You lose lots of weight when you are out and about, seeing as how you don't have a home food supply to compel you. A major plus.
Only true if your preferred wireless hotspot isn't in the local cafe, or in your backyard.

The public environment can be quite distracting, especially when you know people that always come and speak to you. Try and find a lonely corner, and suddenly finding a power supply and/or internet link can be challenging.
How true! I recommend getting as far away from your regular haunts as you can. Find your own fortress of solitude. I have a friend who is a pastor, and he's invited me to use the wireless access point in his office when I want a change of scenery. Beyond that, I have a list of my favorite corners, and I love using a Verizon aircard.

Re:Need better infrastructure (1)

Irvu (248207) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379515)

* Laptop battery life still sucks. Someone start working on a solar solution :)

Try here [ctsolar.com] or here [google.com] to start.

* Even on campus, good WiFi hotspots are few and far between. We need hotspots that permit ssh tunneling, and encryption that works...Cell phones with internet hookups are probably the only option if you are backpacking Mayan ruins...

Yeah, Thinking about the kinds of vacations that I like (long time far travel) this wouldn't work. If however you restricted yourself to day trips or the Mayan ruins located next to the hotspots (i.e. the ones right by the beach and loaded with tourists) then it might work but who wants to see that. In order to make this work and still see something you would probably be flying somewhere, working like mad in some cafe for several days and then heading out for two day trips to the outdoors. But I would still want some longer time in there.

* The home desktop will always be more comfortable, and as a result my files will always be there. Transferring them to the laptop on the fly is a pain when home upload speeds are so terrible with most ISP's

Try using something like a CVS home directory or subversion. If you have the files on the laptop but backup up to the home machine you will also be less vulnerable to sudden laptop error causing all hell as well.

* You lose lots of weight when you are out and about, seeing as how you don't have a home food supply to compel you. A major plus.

Unless you travel to places that encourage good eating (say Germany with the Chocolate) and then spend all your time sitting around waiting for the WIFi to work.

* The public environment can be quite distracting, especially when you know people that always come and speak to you. Try and find a lonely corner, and suddenly finding a power supply and/or internet link can be challenging.


Yeah being popular sucks huh? Schmuck ;)

The above of course works for some jobs i.e. those that don't require stable resources, plants, or where the required stable infrastructure (i.e. Servers and a customer base) are handled by someone else who doesn't get to do the travelling. Now, however if you could rotate travel time that would be good.

not solar (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379523)

one of those cranks they have on some flashlights/ radios. crank for half an hour, work for 15... something like that. sounds a little horrendous, but if the other option is not working at all, it will do (especially if say you were in edinburgh, or somewhere else basically sunless, which means basically anywhere else at night)

i think those faraday flashlights- the ones you shake, is a principle that wouldn't scale up to a laptop, ehem. not at least until we get those solid state hard drives

Re:not solar (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380083)

I imagine the best compromise between size and power output would be some sort of teeter totterish device that you stood on and rocked back and forth to power the generator.

Re:not solar (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380715)

i'm still holding out for some kind of insole insert thing that works as i walk, and that i can switch out with once i get to where i'm going. 'course, dunno what the toxic smell issue might bring...

Re:Need better infrastructure (1)

kchrist (938224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379833)

You could Unison [upenn.edu] (*nix, OS X, Windows) to keep your home directory synced between multiple machines, but another option might be to just get rid of the desktop altogether. Plug the monitor and keyboard into your laptop when you're at home and you'll always have all your data with you when you take it away.

Re:Need better infrastructure (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380135)

Try [http://www.fuzing.com/]
site search enter [solar] [laptop] two words

scroll down maybe there is something that will keep your laptop charged up on a sunny day.

Re:Need better infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380937)

I have some answers/tips.

Battery life- you do not need a core duo 2.13Ghz machine with a 17"lcd. get a realistic laptop for mobile workingthat takes 2 batteries. I get 10 hours run time out of my Cf-29 toughbook on a regular basis. If you are work-vacationing and dont have a toughbook then you are pretty stupid. nothing like losing everything just before that meeting because you were too cheap to spring for a toughbook.

Net connectivity, if you HAVE to have full T1 broadband everywhere you go then you had better have lots of $$$$. If you can be sane and plan where you connect in spurts it's pretty easy to stay connected. Almost nobody needs 100% coverage wireless broadband speeds. if you need 100% coverage get a Cell modem to supplement the wifi leaching. I have found that most countries are better connected than the USA. Well except africa, mexico, Lima, columbia, and Panama. but honestly you really dont want to be in those places. Oh there is crappy free wifi in Sibera as well. But again only a wierdo would go on a working vacation those places. Note: most places outside of civilized europe dont have good cellular internet, give that one up.

File sync. Come on, you can get 160gig hard drives for your laptop. if you cant keep your files with you and synced at home then you are either very lazy or need to hire some tech support people to hand hold you through how to sync things.

Exercise is good, embrace the sunshine!

Public envorinments can be distracting to some people. Many can tune out so well they dont even notice the BUS that is about to squish them.

Re:Need better infrastructure (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381551)

As someone who travels a lot and has encountered the same problems as you, here are my solutions:
  • Get another notebook battery - it's usually more than worth the cost. Also, if you like listening to music, using an iPod to do that will help save battery life. Setting your LCD's brightness to a couple of notches less than the highest also goes a long way (of course, this would require you to not be in a very bright environment).
     
  • WiFi hotspots are hard to find, but for most kinds of work, the Internet isn't an absolute necessity. I have found that it is more of a comfort than anything else. Secondly, if you are travelling, you can use a wifi card through your cellphone provider, or use your PDA, or have some kind of data plan with your cellphone provider. There are always ways around, if something really needs to be done. Worst case, you get delayed a while until you can find a place to shoot that email from.
     
  • Do not have a home desktop. Invest in a good notebook and it will totally pay you back. In fact, I do not even own a desktop. I have a server at home (a blade) which is useful as a proxy when I am client sites, but all my files are on my notebook and a portable HDD. Makes my life so much easier. In fact, when I travel on business, I take my personal notebook rather than the company notebook. VPN is your friend. If I really need to do something in the corporate network, I just remote-desktop on to one of the boxes at work.
     
  • Actually, I gain weight when I travel - there is something to be said about the company paying for your food and drinks. There is no reason *not* to go to that expensive restaurant, is there? :)
     
  • If the public environment is distracting, wear your head/earphones. Usually, people tend to leave folks with head/earphones alone. Just an observation. And while finding a power outlet can sometimes be hard, the extra battery comes in handy. And if you cannot find an Internet link, you'd just have to wait until you find one or use that PDA.
     


See? That wasn't hard now, was it?

Oh yeah? (2, Funny)

br0d (765028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379167)

Let's see you telecommute from oblivion on 12/23/2012.

Re:Oh yeah? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380187)

The end of the Mayan calendar?

A high-point in the major changes happening in our cultural evolution as a human race? Yes. Oblivion? Not so much so, no.

Re:Oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380275)

OK, First checked Wikipedia; nada. Then I googled and found this [jaguar-sun.com] :

When I give my talks about the Maya, I am often asked about the upcoming end of the Maya long count on 12/23/2012 (12/21 if you use alternate calculation). I like to hold up my wristwatch and ask people what will happen when the hands of the clock both point upwards. If it happens to be an evening lecture, everyone in the audience agrees that it will be night, and dark. But the world will not end at 12:00; it continues on to be 12:01 again and a new cycle/day begins.
The Maya have many cycles, 13 days, 260 days, 360 days, 52 years plus lunar cycles, venus cycles, solar year and the largest cycle is their Long Count, which is just over 5,000 years. The thing to remember about cycles is that they do not have a beginning or end - they just keep repeating.

The other good thing about cycles is that if we recognize their patterns, we can be prepared for what is coming. Just as you know with certainty that when it is 12:00 PM, that it is night and dark out. So if you look at the Long Count as a cycle, you can look at what was happening in the world the last time the Calendar Round was at this position, and use that as a guide for what is to come.

So you see, there is nothing to fear! What a marvelous people the Maya are who could recognize cycles so vast! How sad that some people have distorted their ancient wisdom into a faddish cult. Meanwhile, the true Maya people are suffering oppression and extermination.

Coworking. (1)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379187)

I think it would be useful to point people to the Coworking Wiki [pbwiki.com] for efforts to support mobile workers with a bit of community. It looks like a great start, though sadly, my home city, London is a bit lacking at this time. If anyone knows good spots, please add them to the website.

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Meh (4, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379241)

>Nobody knew I was sunburned, drinking from a coconut and listening to howler monkeys as I replied to their e-mails.

If I just make myself a mug from a coconut, I'm there. I've got the cube next to the window.

*listens to the howling of middle management*

Woof (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379273)

The thing about the interent is that no one can tell if you're a dog.

--woof.

Re:Woof (4, Interesting)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379415)

Or even a Prairie Dog.
From Wikipedia:
"In companies that use large numbers of cubicles in a common space, employees sometimes use the term "prairie dogging" to refer to the action of standing up in one's cube to look around or converse with another employee in an adjacent cube. This action is thought to resemble prairie dogs standing in the openings of a burrow."

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380605)

>> Nobody knew I was sunburned, drinking from a coconut and listening to howler monkeys as I replied to their e-mails.

> If I just make myself a mug from a coconut, I'm there. I've got the cube next to the window.
> *listens to the howling of middle management*

And here I thought you worked for Microsoft and had a cube near Ballmer. Especially because that would add a sense of danger to the whole thing--you know, gotta watch out for flying chairs...

Re:Meh (1)

captainjaroslav (893479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381105)

The Professor actually made a laptop out of some bamboo and coconuts, didn't he? If my memory serves correctly, though, the portability was compromised since it was powered by Giligan riding a bamboo bicycle nearby.

I miss it (2, Interesting)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379249)

I had a good thing (albeit not as good as the author's) going before I took a new position in December. Now, I'm paying my dues in my new area. Before, it was working from home at least two days a week. Unlike some, I didn't have a problem shutting the machine down at the end of my day. I loved sitting out on the deck (in good weather) and enjoying the sun while handling my trouble tickets. Even better was going to the local cafe (in a small exurban town, equipped with a Verizon wireless card, and doing my work from there while clogging my arteries with a 3-egg bacon and swiss omelette! Most days, I was working by 6 AM and done by 2:30 PM. I figure I'll need to wait another six months before I can pitch a similar arrangement in my new digs (once they know I can be trusted to perform, no matter where I am).

Hey, you! (1)

PSaltyDS (467134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379253)

"Nobody knew I was sunburned, drinking from a coconut and listening to howler monkeys as I replied to their e-mails."

Hey, you! Stop hanging around my cubicle!

Damn hippies!

#1 Rule of Digital Bedouin club (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379259)

is you don't talk about Digital Bedouin club.

No seriously, letting your boss find out that you're doing business while on vacation is a sure way to gain lots of hate. Unless they actively encourage that sort of thing, be happy with what you've got, and keep your mouth shut.

Rule Number 2... (0, Redundant)

Bobby Mahoney (1005759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380319)

The Second Rule of Digital Bedouin Club... is DON'T TALK ABOUT DIGITAL BEDOUIN CLUB.
-
Just had to reiterate.
{feel free to mod as redundant}

Wha'? (1)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379261)

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'm sorry, is some strange new use of the word "vacation" I'm not familiar with? Why in the name of the eight-hour day would you go some place neat and exciting and use your time there to work? What is wrong with you? Why would you pay good money to work from exotic locations?

Put down the laptop, turn off the cel phone and leave your work behind you! That is what a vacation is for!

Sheesh.

Re:Wha'? (1)

Skidge (316075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379361)

Put down the laptop, turn off the cel phone and leave your work behind you! That is what a vacation is for!
That's what your official vacation days are for. If you can get your work done in a more exciting locale than your cube, you shouldn't consider it wasting a vacation; rather, it's improving upon work.

Lighten up, dude. (1)

roberthead (932434) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379493)

Always a cynic, huh? Looked at a little differently... Why pay rent in urban America when you can spend your evenings on the beach in a tropical paradise on the cheap?

Re:Wha'? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379645)

I'm sorry, is some strange new use of the word "vacation" I'm not familiar with? Why in the name of the eight-hour day would you go some place neat and exciting and use your time there to work?

Well, it doesn't sound like a real vacation, but that doesn't mean it's undesirable. Weighing it out, I might rather sit someplace warm, near a beach, do my work there, and have a nice night someplace exotic, rather than sitting in a dank office and trudging through the snow in order to go to the same old places night after night. I wouldn't call it a vacation as much as a temporary relocation while telecommuting... or something. It's just not a proper vacation.

However, this isn't entirely new. Yes, if you're a professional blogger you might be able to get away with this sort of thing, but that's been the case for professional writers for quite some time. If you were a writer 50 years ago, and what you were writing didn't require you to be at a specific location during specific events, it's likely you could travel and send your writings in. You could even call over the phone and dictate, hence the phrase "phoning it in". Of course, it all depends on what exact work you're doing, and whether the people you're working with will tolerate you traveling around.

I wish I could do it, I really do. But assuming you're not Zonk or Cmdr Taco, I don't know what job you can get that allows you get away with doing nothing but writing a little bullshit each day. (kidding!)

Re:Wha'? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379925)

I'm sorry, is some strange new use of the word "vacation" I'm not familiar with? Why in the name of the eight-hour day would you go some place neat and exciting and use your time there to work?

As much as this guy's travel methods don't suit me, I can see the benefit to it. Time is hard to come by.

You take as much of the prime hours in the day as you can to do the touristy stuff. Then you use evenings and convenient/scheduled times to get other stuff done. Provided you can make it work, it's probably much nicer to spend an hour on a beach on a work day than to be stuck chained to your desk.

I guess if your work allows you to work from virtual locations, being able to go to those places and not use vacation time would be quite nice. Especially, if your boss is none the wiser/unaffected by the fact that you're not in any pre-arranged location.

It's probably better than not going to the tropical location I suppose. You just have to have the right kind of job (and probably, personality) to be able to keep disciplined enough to actually keep doing your work.

I know when I was in university, there was a cafe a few miles from campus where I did a lot of my thought work that didn't require a computer. Sipping on an icecd coffee on a patio while you work out how you're going to solve a couple of problems certainly seemed like a perk to me. The prof who was paying me for the research didn't seem put off when I announced I'd be at the cafe for the next few hours.

Incorporating R&R into your work day isn't an entirely bad idea. You just need the right kind of job to have it include Mayan ruins and not have anyone notice. ;-)

Cheers

security (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379269)

Just watch out for people sniffing your traffic on those unsecured Wi-fi connections.

Re:security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379641)

That's what consumer VPN services are for...

Have a good VPN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379911)

VPN back to the office servers (or home computer) and your security problem is largely solved, that is, unless they're able to hack into your tunnel.

That's a BIG If... (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379289)

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.

I think the term is called self-employed.

Can I go to the mall and other well-covered places? Yes. Can I go to the nice movie theater with it's crappy reception? No. This kind of thinking bleeds into pretty much every "where do you want to go?" discussion.

I'm saying it certainly changes the way you think. Definitely not complaining.

Better than working in a gaming cafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379295)

Which I did while designing Bank of America's Higher Standards html. I think it would be fine as long as what you are working on is public or not confidential anyway... (and no constant fragging!)

Man, I'm working for the wrong people (3, Insightful)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379305)

You can travel a lot more without needing more official vacation time. I've done it.
Everywhere I've worked you don't get a laptop and VPN access so that you can stay home and work. You get them so that after you've spent the day at work you can go home and continue to do more work.

The Right Kind Of Job (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379325)

> 'If you have the right kind of job, you can take vacations while you're on the clock. [ ... ] Nobody knew I was sunburned, drinking from a coconut and listening to howler monkeys as I replied to their e-mails.'"

If you really have the right kind of job, you can take vacations while you're on the clock without the hassle of air travel, without the pain of the sunburn, with a slightly-modified version of the coconut, and yes, even with the howler monkeys.

I call it "reading Slashdot while sitting in a meeting".

Next time you do that (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379385)

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 want to go along with a camera crew and shoot a documentary about your adventures working on the road. And, just think, I can file the dailies, look at the rough cuts and hack out the promos while we're at the hotel. Try not to hog all the bandwidth.

This is nothing new... (2, Interesting)

KeyThing (997755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379409)

4 years ago, I was working for myself as a field technician. I had basically farmed myself out to about 6 different companies, and was supporting their IT needs.

It became very obvious to me that I needed Internet Access anywhere I was. I found the Merlin PCS card (EVDO), and a PCMCIA sleeve for my iPAQ. I added "mobile professional" to my list of qualifications, and immediately cut down my response times to my customers. Now I could be stuck in traffic, and be remoted into their system. Often times, the problems they had could be resolved without the need for me to show up at their location. This, in turn, allowed me to add more customers to my base. At the high point, I was supporting 12 different customers. Each signed an agreement that provided me with desk space and Internet Access at their location, and an acknowledgment that at times, I would be physically at their locations while supporting one of my other customers.

I ended up selling my business model and customer base off for a nice profit. I now code full time, and have added the Kyocera KR1 to the mix of hardware I take with me. I just got back from a trip to Washington DC, and people had no idea I wasn't sitting here in my office. BTW, a real cheesy video of the KR1 can be found here: http://www.keything.com/tv [keything.com] . I highly recommend it. During my trip to washington, it didn't miss a beat.

The Oracle has spoken... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379463)

"if you have the right kind of job, you can take vacations while you're on the clock."

Actually, what's really happening is that you're continuing to work while you're on vacation, but this imbecile is too self-deluded to figure that out. I've worked with tech-dorks that can't even eat lunch without expecting someone to talk shop with them. It's sad, such a monodimensional life. It's also just what Business wants from you; full-time servitude. That's why interest in CS educations is falling: The smarter people are finally getting wise to what a shitty career it is.

Re:The Oracle has spoken... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379699)

what's really happening is that you're continuing to work while you're on vacation

      Apparently not, since he said he didn't officially take any time off. So he's probably still owed his "vacation" anyway... besides, if you like your work, it's no biggie so long as you get enough pool time in in the afternoons :P

Missing the point... (3, Insightful)

Ted Cabeen (4119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379521)

This is my favorite part:

A client calls your office number and imagines you in a suit in a downtown office. In fact, you're wearing jeans and enjoying a midmorning brunch with your spouse. The client is happy because he reached you in one try and didn't get voice mail. Your employer is happy because you're providing prompt and reliable customer service. But most of all, you're happy, because you're doing your job without being chained to a desk.
What about your spouse in this situation? Do you think they appreciate having their midmorning brunch interrupted by a client's phone call? Interrupts cost, both in computing and in social relationships.

Re:Missing the point... (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379673)

Interrupts cost, both in computing and in social relationships.


      Nah, just push your wife on the stack, clear the registers, and pop her off when you're done and jumping back. Of course the script kiddies won't get ANY of this ;P

Re:Missing the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379759)

The problem is she keeps taking timer interrupts while you're handling whatever other issue came up, so when you finally switch back she'll be pissed.

Re:Missing the point... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379843)

The problem is she keeps taking timer interrupts while you're handling whatever other issue came up, so when you finally switch back she'll be pissed.

      Never marry someone unless you first install your own handler at 43h...

Re:Missing the point... (1)

kchrist (938224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379921)

If the alternative is going into the office, I think a midmorning brunch with the possibility of interruptions is still better for everyone involved.

My SO and I both work from home occasionally and while that means that we sometimes have to ignore each other and do work, it also means that we can spend time together in between.

Re:Missing the point... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380055)

What about your spouse in this situation? Do you think they appreciate having their midmorning brunch interrupted by a client's phone call?

Without the possibility of receiving that phone call to interrupt your brunch on the patio, you wouldn't be having that mid-morning brunch now, would you? You'd be chained to the desk, and couldn't see her until you got home after work.

Seriously, I'm sure his wife just goes on with her breakfast, and assumes he'll be finished in a few minutes. Or, understands that sometimes that nice, civilized brunch might get interrupted as he does his job. But, depending on how many calls occur, you might be able to have a couple of brunches per week that don't get interrupted.

Cheers

Same goes for me (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379543)

I cant actually stay away from internet, even if on vacation. I need to be WITH people. In addition to colleagues, clients, community people, there are 'internet' and real life friends who have histories ranging from a few years to 4-5 years or more in my instant messenger lists.

Working a fraction of a day is just an addition to internet connectivity time.

Ethically challenged? Or telecommuter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379769)

I'd love to do this, but my boss won't allow me to telecommute. But from the "nobody knew I wasn't in the office" comments, it makes me think that all of these people are ethically challenged and basically lying about their whereabouts. If people know you aren't in the office and don't care where you are as long as the work gets dones, you're a Digital Bedouin. If you are lying about your whereabouts, you are simply a liar.

how do you find these jobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379795)

It sounds like this is more a Bay Area subculture focused around start-ups. How do real people get jobs like these? I'd love to spend a few years traveling while maintaining an actual job but it seems as unattainable as becoming a professional porn star.

Re:how do you find these jobs? (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380483)

Go work for a contracting house, or an outsourcer. Esp. one that has workers in multiple locations. Only problem is that everyone is used to being connected with the company 24x7, therefore you will be expected to do the same.

I recently switched from an outsourced gig, to a regular position. This one doesn't have any telecommuting, but when I leave at 4:30 I'm off work until the next morning.

Re:how do you find these jobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380703)

in my experience the contracting places aren't really the same. I don't want to be a mercenary working 6 months in one corporate facility before moving on to the next. Contractors seems to always be either the types who can't get hired in a real job or can't keep a real job because they're either incompetent or lack social skills. I don't want to become one of them. I'm looking for a job where 90+% of the time it doesn't matter where my body is located, and where it doesn't make a difference if I'm never in one place for more than a week or three. Being a contractor doesn't fit that criteria at all, I would still be tied down to one physical location until the contract was up.

I lived in Central America (1)

greenguy (162630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379851)

...and I will confirm, this can be done. And yeah, it's nice to be in a beautiful tropical setting to do your work. But, it's also nice to just bike down to your local coffeeshop and hang out there and work. I'm in my cubicle here at work now, and the idea is very distracting...

Paranoid (0)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379887)

As long as everyone keeps calling me paranoid, and some of the mods with short stubby egos have bombed my posting in this thread, maybe we'll just make a race of it:

I read this headline [slashdot.org] , and this story [sfgate.com] , and I have this odd sense of paranoia.

a technology journalist...started blogging five years ago
check [slashdot.org]

and last year quit his day job
check [slashdot.org] and check [slashdot.org]

He now has a full-time staff...contributing to different online journals
I probably write more eloquently, more insightfully, and more up-to-date than they do.

There is a downside, Malik readily admits. "I can put in an 18-hour day," he said. "You don't know when to stop."
Stop being such a wussy. I live on the streets and have had fewer than a dozen hot meals in the last year and I can still do the job more effectively.

Funny he should mention Marx. Soviet iconography is popping up all over the Bay Area
MH42 claims to be in Oregon.

The two have vastly different ethics
MH42 preaches whichever side of the line allows him to troll today. I practice one path.

Rubyred Labs, a hip Web design shop in South Park, had its launch party there. Teams from established Web companies such as Google Inc. and Flickr, a photo sharing site that's now owned by Yahoo, meet there. "You'd never know these guys were millionaires," said Ritual co-owner Jeremy Tooker.
Why do I have this odd feeling that someone has f**ked me over in the worst way?

They lined up for interviews. None were actually hired, but it cemented in Levine's mind the notion of where the talent pool lies
Does my nickname not indicate where I am? Try my journal history [slashdot.org]

Kennedy, the self-professed bedouin
The pampered people profess it. I'm actually out here doing it.

Kennedy said. "In cafes now, it's, 'Is there a Wi-Fi technician in the house?'"
Is five years of Debian and Linuxfromscratch not enough?

Kevin Burton, an expert in blogs and RSS feeds
Gah. That's like being an expert in tabloids and political circulars. If being an expert in blogs and RSS feeds provides any reasonable income then why are investors allowing me to sleep on a park bench every night?

Contact me to negotiate an appropriate laptop.

You rang? (4, Funny)

bedouin (248624) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379977)

Hi.

bogus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380209)

I took a year off and backpacked around the world, and brought a small, wifi-enabled laptop with me. I brought it for convenience and to stay connected, and did not work a single day (okay except for teaching English on a beach in Thailand - voluntarily ;) I can testify to this:

There are no shortages of free hotspots in well-traveled cities/countries.

Global backpacking is best-experienced without having to work, unless your "job" takes 10 minutes a day or less. You will not absorb any of the culture around you if you are staring at your monitor. So many people with cell-phones and iPods backpacking - why not just stay home? Open your eyes!

Now working for a Western company while living in another, developing country (Say Peru or wherever you were), now that's an idea ;)

"Workation" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380289)

Such a vacation where you keep working is henceforth to be known as a "Workation".

But can you be productive? (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380463)

If it's just email, conference calls, processing status reports, etc., then I could do this too. But when it comes to actual productive work, I can't. Airports, hotels, beaches, and all other non-home non-office locations conspire against me. I need to concentrate and think about my work, and I can't do that in a coffee shop.

Old news, been doing it since early 80s... (1)

BarnabyWilde (948425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380543)

...via "Compuserve", then Internet.

Currently, right on the beach in Mexico for the last 8 weeks, via satellite, writing open source and embedded controllers, no one else I work with knows or needs to know.

BWilde
 

Ah finally something that applies to me on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380623)

I am a freelance web developer and can work virtually anywhere in the world - I have a bank account in my home country, a visa card tied to this back account and a paypal account tied to this bank account. People pay via paypal with CC, I transfer the money to my bankaccount and overcredit my credit card (it only has a 500 limit, but you can credit it with more). I then use the visa at business and atm to get cash/make transactions. You miss out on a bit of interest, BUT THAT IS NOTHING COMPARED TO WHAT YOU SAVE BY NOT PAYING TAXES. FUCK YOU GOVERNMENT, YOUR TAXES ARE BELONG TO ME AS THEY SHOULD HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Time zone fun (1)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380649)

The look on my boss's face when he checked an old Subversion log and discovered I'd done a commit at 4am was priceless.

It took him a while to remember I'd been in Malaysia that week! It was worth taking the laptop all that way, just to bash out a couple of lines of CSS and mess with his head.

classified/sensitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380743)

Can't do this if you work for a TLA like DHS and your work is sensitive..... Unless of course you have those lists from AT&T or Google....

Why not from Bangalore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380855)

If you can do your job on the beach, someone else can do it more cheaply in Bangalore, and probably will before too long.

What do Starbucks think about this? (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380911)

Do they like/encourage digital Bedouins? You would basically be subletting 2m^2 of prime inner city real estate in exchange for nothing more than a stream of coffees. That's very cheap rent!

I think I'm WAAAY past this point now... (1)

JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380927)

Let's see...I live in a motorhome, use a Verizon EVDO card plugged into a Kyocera KR1 router, the PCMCIA card is attached to dual antennas and a signal booster, I've got 100gal of freshwater storage, 120gal of waste, 660w of solar panels driving a 650lb battery and 2800w inverter, got a 4kw fuel-efficient genset for backup that can drive air conditioning all day on a gallon of gas... Basically I can go a week at a time with zero hookups, and that's with daily showers. And I was able to get a decent Internet signal deep in the AZ desert about 50 miles east of Phoenix, about as remote as I've tried. In urban areas, more like low-grade DLS speeds. Separate cellphone o' course. The back eight feet of the 36ft. motorhome is a garage with drop-down ramp door and Harley in the back. Onboard shuttlecraft baybee :). Total nomad :).

Profile of a Digital Nomad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18381017)

(warning : read with a sense of humor)

If you are 'digital nomad', you fall into one of these categories

A) Engineer
    - you are a technohead who is fluent in Web 2.0/2.5/3.0 lingo. You work for a company named 'Rieeroll' that does "rss-based dating via bittorrent"
(http://www.andrewwooldridge.com/myapps/webtwopoin toh.html)
    - you develop on a MacBook (Pro). You avoid even brushing up against people carrying IBM Thinkpads and Dells, like you will get infected with a rash if you did so
    - you develop using a Kool methodology like Ruby On Rails. You sneer at low-lives programming in C++ or Java
    - you practice Xtreme methodology / Agile methodology / {insert methodology of the month here} methodology
(http://steve-yegge.blogspot.com/2006/09/good-agil e-bad-agile_27.html)

B) BizDev Guy
      - you are a 'bizdev' guy in the company
      - you most likely have an MBA from 'B-grade' school
      - no body knows what you do, b/c the company is only 3 months old and there is not even a prototype
      - you have a laptop and a blackberry. The sole function of these two devices combined is to read/reply email
      - your current responsibility is to reply to *EVERY SINGLE* email that generates within the company. Your replies are normally some meaningless crap like:
                          > 'yeah, that will add lot of gravity to our marketing pitch'
                          > 'Great job Jim (the engineering drone); now can you make it look like MS word by adding lots of icons?'
                          > 'hey every one, today's Kathy's birthday. lets all go out for a beer after work at {insert hip local micro brewery name here}'
                          > spamming everyone's inbox about some useless blog entry and claiming 'we need to bounce ideas about moving into this space'
                          > emailing Java snippets about a performance study of 'Strings' and 'StringBuffers' and telling developers 'we need to be using StringBuffers throughout our code, look at these performance numbers' (engineers always get a good laugh out of these)

Common Traits:
                  - both of you hang out at some 'FAIR TRADING' coffee place, that only serves FAIR TRADED ORGANIC coffee from PERU or some place.
                      THe lesser hip of you don't mind hanging out at a Starbucks

                  - Both of you order a beverage that is NOT listed in the menu. It is always ordered using the following words in a rapid fashion:
                                  DOUBLE, TRIPLE, SYRUP, PEPERMINT, DASH , NOT FROTHY , NO FOAM, SKIM MILK , SOY MILK, EXTRA WHIP CREAM, MOCCA , LATTE,
                      And it costs $5.40

                  - Both of you are annoyingly LOUD on your cellphones, PDAs and BLACKBERRYS

                  - BOTH of you think you are part of the 'Bohemian scene' while you sitting there with your $3,000 MacBook and $500 iPOD and drinking a beverage that cost $5.40

jungle debugging can be a hassle (1)

Numbah One (821914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381177)

"Nobody knew I was sunburned, drinking from a coconut and listening to howler monkeys as I replied to their e-mails."
do you know how hard it is to get the damn howler monkeys to stop fooling around with a logic analyzer when you're trying to debug a piece of hardware?

When it works, it works :) (and a few tips) (2, Informative)

timothy (36799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381433)

I did this a lot until the current stretch in law school, which keeps me pretty well stuck in Philadelphia for a while.

However, there are a few things which make it easier that I recommend:

- An outlet splitter. When someone else has dibs on ("sovereignty over") the only electric outlet in a particular place, and your battery life is draining-draining-draining, you may luck out and find that he (or she) is reasonable, sharing-oriented, etc. Or, he (or she) may just be a greedy, sanctimonious ass. If you have an outlet splitter (one plug leading to two female plugs on short leashes), (a) it's hard to turn down your request to share the outlet, (b) it may gain you that cruicial 12 extra inches so's you can actually work on a flat surface and (c) it may let you plug in another device which needs a wallwart -- some of those are very finicky for reasons related to gravity, and it's nice not to block out others with your AC-to-DC bricklet. Just slightly larger, a small powerstrip does the same thing.

- A WiFi detector, if you need WiFi and work from a laptop. There are a few choices out there (I reviewed the Canary version a while back) that will show lots more than that there might be a network around -- ESSID, strength, encryption, etc. Using one of these may save you a lot of battery juice. If you already carry a pocket PC with WiFi built in, this is probably redundant.

- A USB key, kept on your person. Even moreso than in an office or at home, galavanting about with a laptop in vacationland may attract attention of the wrong sort. I've never had a laptop stolen, but sometimes that's been despite my idiocy in preferring to leave it on the table running rather than pack everything into a bag to wait in line for another cup of coffee. Alternatively, the more travel you do, the more opportunities you have to drop your laptop. USB keys are now capacious enough and cheap enough for nearly anyone whose work is mostly *text* oriented to save their important documents frequently, so if the worst happens, you haven't lost all your data. There have been a few Ask Slashdots about the most important apps and data to keep on a USB key, which are worth poring through. You could have a complete Linux distro on there, with quite a bit of room left for documents, too. The other day I saw at Target (in Pennsylvania, USA) 512MB Dane Electric USB drives for $9.99.

- A live Linux distro on CD, if not on USB key or similar. If a hard drive goes south, but you have another otherwise functional laptop, having along a Linux distro can be very handy.

- The idea of laptop-commuting from a tropical isle sounds more idyllic than it necessarily is; one of the big problems of working from "anywhere" is that you don't always get to choose the angle of the sun. For a while I used (though haven't needed and may have now lost it) an item of commercial manufacture which folded down like a diagonally disected cardboard box, made of a plasticy-cardboardy stuff, and which attached with velcro to a laptop to provide a glare blocking semi-enclosure. It folded down to the size of a thickish magazine, weighed just a few ounces. I'm sure you could improvise such a thing out of duct tape, chopsticks, and construction paper ...

timothy

Tried it, didn't work (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381439)

I mean, once in a while it's fun to be working from the yard or a cafe or something, but it's disastrous for my health. After a few hours of working with a laptop at a table (as opposed to a desk set to the proper height) my back aches and my wrists start complaining.
Also, working on a tiny laptop screen sucks.

All in all, I prefer working at my desk. It's got the right ergonomics, a huge monitor etc. If I don't feel like working at the office I can always work from home, where I've also got a decent setup.
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