Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts, N4RVE

Birth of the Technomads List Server

helmet-bw-blackshirtOver the years, the term “technomad” has undergone a variety of interpretations, beginning in the mid-80s as a playful re-parsing of my “high-tech nomad” moniker and eventually defining a very diverse community of location-independent workers who use networking tools to enable open-ended travel.

During my BEHEMOTH epoch, I corresponded with hundreds of people drawn to the technology that was making my adventures possible, and we began to identify as a technomads group. To facilitate communication, I set up a list server at Sun Microsystems… which was still alive (on a different server) over a decade later. This was the announcement that went to my general mailing list.

A New Alias for Technomads

by Steven K. Roberts
Nomadic Research Labs
January 1, 1992

Hello again…

The volume of mail I’ve received that expresses interest in shared adventure and nomadic community has suggested something I should have thought of months ago.  (Sometimes, even with the technology right under my nose, it takes me a while to catch on…)

I’ve just created a new alias:  technnomads (which was at bikelab.corp.sun.com)

Unlike the nomadness alias that you are already on, this one can propagate postings by anyone.  (The existing nomadness list is defined specifically as a path for distribution of Bikelab Reports, keeping volume low to avoid becoming a nuisance to people who just want the technical updates and stories.  I locally trap incoming mail to “nomadness” from going any further than my workstation.)  The idea of the new alias, however, is to eliminate the bottleneck named Steve Roberts that keeps people with similar nomadic interests from meeting 
each other.  In the past, I’ve received all sorts of mail from potential nomads, but only rarely followed through by introducing them to others of similar spirit.

This new alias will deal with all relevant issues related to full-time high-tech nomadness, including networking, email, ham radio, forming mobile communities, business ideas, freelance opportunities, security, hospitality, local resources for travelers, and so on (not limited to travel via bicycles).  My intent is to get a community going online, seeded by people who are already very literate in these kinds of issues and who are currently — or soon will be — traveling and living on the networks.  (The bikelab reports will continue to be posted only to the present list, so you can ignore this without any effect if you don’t want the additional material.)

IF you are interested in becoming actively involved in a nomadic lifestyle, working on the road, decoupling from the desk, living in Dataspace, traveling with me, or meeting other people who are seriously restless, please let me know with a brief note (subject line only is fine — you can introduce yourself to the whole alias later, after you’re on the list).  I’ll periodically post updates and ideas, but for me this is more a medium for exchanging ideas and watching other people communicate than for publishing more of my own stuff.  All mail to the group will be reflected to everyone else without my direct involvement.  Ain’t technology wonderful?

Cheers, and I hope this becomes an active and stimulating list!  If it goes well, maybe it will grow into a newsgroup someday…

Steve Roberts