Welcome to the Technomadic Archives!

Steve Roberts in 1991 (photo by Mel Lindstrom)

Steven K. Roberts in 1991 with BEHEMOTH helmet. This carries a 720×280 heads-up display, three ultrasonic sensors for the Mac’s head mouse, police-grade audio system, stereo headphones, spot/flood lights, and a liner for fluid cooling of my head. (Mel Lindstrom photo)

This site is for the Deep Archives of my gizmologically intensive life:  magazine articles, media, photos, videos, system documentation, listserve/blog posts and more. Since this covers a wide range of topics, I use categories and tags for navigation (see sidebar). Each post shows 3 random links to other archive items with thumbnails if you want to skip around… and there are next/previous links at the top and bottom of each post as well as a browsable timeline at the bottom of this page (made with this). A sorted directory of the whole library is automatically updated as articles are added, or you can take a chance and jump to a random item.

A lot of information from the BEHEMOTH and Microship projects is being migrated into this archive, and the ancient front page of hand-coded HTML <creak> is now redirecting here. A few links from that cobwebsite may be of interest:

Speaking Gigs – many years of public appearances with the bike
Media Coverage – a list of exposure in print and electronic media
Online Storefront – and my eBay Store – tonnage reduction, an eternal quest
Resources and Articles – geek, nautical, ham radio, adventure, and how-to pieces
Microship Status Reports – listserve posts and system documentation
The BEHEMOTH bicycle – Bikelab documents and overview pieces
Nomadness – a 44-foot steel pilothouse sailboat was my substrate for 8 years

The best material from the bike epoch (1983-1991) is becoming the new High-Tech Nomad book, including extensive technical interludes as well as the tales of adventure. That link will take you to the book’s page on Leanpub, a publishing tool that lets me push version updates to readers… there is good info about the book there, and you can register to be notified when the first release is ready.

Recent Additions to the Library

Thousands of items are slated to be included to this archive, automatically timelined and given dated blog pages that match their actual publication or event dates. As such, “latest update” is not really a relevant concept, so here are some recent additions:

BEHEMOTH console Macintosh on the road in 1991. Control used ultrasonic head mouse built into helmet (see photo above) as well as a chord keyboard in the handlebars. I used this to write articles and email while on the road.

CQ VHF - Ship of Dreams: The NEW Adventures of a Technomad – April, 1998

Big Byte (Australia) – Technomad & the Internet video (5:30) – May 30, 1994

Winnebiko on CBS Morning News – Wanderlust video (5:05) – July 26, 1984

Whole Earth Review - Electronic Cottage on Wheels – Spring, 1987

Internet Underground – On the Virtual Road – October, 1996

Edward H. Roberts (my father) and his lever-release ice-cube tray – 1949

Balance your boat with a Center of Gravity Database

The Technomadic Substrates

Here are my gizmological contraptions in reverse chronological order.

The Shacktopus system brings all my power-related tools into a single portable package, with data collection.

Shacktopus brings all my power-related tools into a single portable package with data logging and telemetry. An eBook about this project is in progress.

Nomadness is an Amazon 44 steel pilothouse sailboat with on-board lab, data collection, comm console, piano studio, and nav systems. (photo by Wojtek Wacowski, with a little help from NASA)

Microship is an amphibian pedal/solar/sail micro-trimaran, shown docked in Friday Harbor, Washington. This was a ten-year development project (1993-2003) and the boatlet was launched again in 2013. Click photo for more info.

This is Polaris, my mobile lab built into a 24-foot trailer.

A brief interlude in 2004-5, this system was intended to incorporate my technomadic toolset into a backpack and render the substrate irrelevant. Clicking photo will take you to block diagram.

Bubba carried APRS location tracking, packet and voice ham radio, satellite phone, nav tools, & a small solar power system. I did a few mini-expeditions in Northwest waters.

The 580-pound BEHEMOTH bicycle, circa 1991. This was the final bike version, a 3-year project based in Silicon Valley. (photo by Bob Ponzoni in North Carolina)

Bonus shot of BEHEMOTH, just to show the monster on the road. I was doing a filming with the French TF-1 network, and it was freezing in Joshua Tree.

The Winnebiko II covered 6,000 miles from 1986-1988, and included a handlebar keyboard to allow writing while riding. (photo by Karen Greene near Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina)

The original Winnebiko in January, 1984 – already 3,000 miles into an adventure that would total 17,000 miles. (photo by Katie Peden near Clearwater, Florida)

Now in the Computer History Museum (along with the BEHEMOTH bicycle), this is the front panel of an 8008-based personal computer I designed and built in 1974. Click photo for full schematics.

OK, this one is a stretch, but maybe it had something to do with my later obsession with geeky recumbent bicycles pulling trailers. This is how I mowed the old family place back in Kentucky, long ago…