TG #22: Tech in the Big Blue Room

February 4, 2009 – 6:00 am

This time on Tweak and Geek, we’ll talk about technology in the scariest of places. Not the Dungeons of Dread or the Torture Chamber; the REAL scary place — outdoors!



Listener Driven (NOT!) — you see, Pat can’t count, and… we’ll have that episode soon, we promise. It just won’t be #22.

Technology for the Outdoors
Since Craig started hiking 10 years ago, there has been a really big boom in the technology available to the geeky weekend warrior. It used to be enough just to bring a book and a maglight. Nowadays, you can have a completely battery-powered trip and not bat an eyelash!

Here are some interesting gadgets that weren’t readily available before.

  • GPS – even though this has been around for a while, they used to pretty much just tell you your lat and long and elevation. Then you get your paper map out and figure out where you are. Now, GPS units accept topo maps, have nice hi-res screens and decent battery life. You can even enter the trails you plan to take and look at it every 30 seconds to see how much longer it will be. An interesting article tells about some pretty nice Garmin models as of last fall.
  • Water purification – It always used to be the ceramic or membrane pumps, or even a few drops of iodine. Although the real technological advance is probably the high tech filters, there are some fun purifiers. The MSR MIOX creates a strong oxidizing solution using just salt and water. Also available are the UV water purifiers (Steri-pen) that use intense UV to kill germs.
  • Satellite phones, for the deep deep woods hiking.
  • Headlamps – Not using incandescent any more. 100 hours on an LED headlamp (i.e. Petzl). It keeps me going at night. Good to have around the house too!
  • Portable Solar Panels – Now you can get portable solar panels to recharge your gizmos whenever you want. They are still a bit pricey, but now you can charge your Kindle any time!
  • Media players – When I first started hiking, I could carry 200 or 300 songs and a few audio books on my iRiver. Now I can bring enough music to last an entire long weekend, plus a few movies, the latest episode of LOST and a nice word find game. Media players have definitely allowed the hikers to keep nature at bay!
  • Digital Cameras – When I started hiking, pretty much the only alternative was to bring your film camera, or your bulky digital. Now, cameras are sleek and tiny.
  • Portable Defibrillator – Not ultra lite!

Listener Email
“Thanks” to all our listeners that signed us up for the Marine Corps Association email list!

Listener Driven Show deadline: February 6, 2009!

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  1. 3 Responses to “TG #22: Tech in the Big Blue Room”

  2. I’m confused… iTunes shows me two T&G #22s, one called “Technology for the Outdoors” and one with the same title as this page. What gives? Sounds like the orphans you guys are forcing to do your grunt work are slipping; time to “release” some of them, eh?

    By Michael Swindler on Feb 4, 2009

  3. Yes, it’s a strange thing… it’s very hard to find good help these days…

    By Craig on Feb 4, 2009

  4. You guys just don’t pay enough!

    By Michael Swindler on Feb 8, 2009

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