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The Big Hangup At Burning Man Is Cell Phones

samzenpus posted 1 year,1 day | from the take-a-message dept.

Wireless Networking 167

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "L. J. Williamson writes in the LA Times that with no running water, no plumbing, and no electrical outlets Burning Man isn't the kind of place to expect full bars on your smartphone and for many of the participants that's a big part of its charm. 'If you want to partake in the true Burning Man experience, you should leave your phone at home,' says Mark Hansen. In past years, the closest cellular towers, designed to serve the nearby towns of Empire (population 206) and Gerlach (population 217), would quickly get overwhelmed each August when Black Rock City (population 50,000 or so) rose from the featureless playa. Although Burning Man attracts a sizable Silicon Valley contingent including tech giants like Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin — the feeling of being 'unplugged' has become an integral part of the Burning Man experience. But another part of the event is an intrepid, DIY ethos, and in that spirit, David Burgess, co-creator of OpenBTS, an open-source cellular network software, brought a homemade in 2008, an 'almost comical' setup that created a working cellular network that routed a few hundred calls over a 48-hour period. In each subsequent year, Burgess has improved the system's reach and expects to have about three-quarters of this year's event covered. Burning Man proved an ideal test bed for development of Burgess' system, which he has since made available for use in other areas without cellular networks. 'People who have a lot of experience in international aid say Burning Man is a very good simulation of a well-organized refugee camp,' says Burgess. 'Because there's no infrastructure, it forces us to contend with a lot of problems that our rural customers have to contend with in very remote places.'"

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Grammar not well? (2)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678691)

"The big hangup are"?

Is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678711)

The big hangup at burning man "is" cell phones.

You may now proceed.

Re:Is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678755)

Actually, "The big hangups are cell phones" or "The big hangup is cell phone connectivity"

Re:Is (5, Funny)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,1 day | (#44678893)

Actually, "The big hangups are cell phones" or "The big hangup is cell phone connectivity"

Nah; it's really "The big hangups are cell +++ATH0#$*(SD^F&*^ --NO CARRIER--

.

.

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.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I always heard that Burning Man was off the hook....

Vanity (5, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | 1 year,1 day | (#44678721)

What good is it going to "Burning Man" if nobody knows you're there? People can't survive a week without facebook and twitter, that's just being unreasonable. People need validation! And likes! And the fact that it's hard to get cell service just makes you even more special to have gotten your photos out! Imagine the look on your workmates' faces when you call..."Guess where I am!" If this were an underground event, nobody would bother attending. Where's the fun in nobody knowing that you're there?

Re:Vanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678741)

What good is it going to "Burning Man" if nobody knows you're there? People can't survive a week without facebook and twitter, that's just being unreasonable. People need validation! And likes! And the fact that it's hard to get cell service just makes you even more special to have gotten your photos out! Imagine the look on your workmates' faces when you call..."Guess where I am!" If this were an underground event, nobody would bother attending. Where's the fun in nobody knowing that you're there?

No cell phones at Burning Man?! Then how do I buy my weed, Bart? HOW DO I BUY MY WEED?!

Re:Vanity (1)

Deluvianvortex (2908365) | 1 year,1 day | (#44678973)

There is no money at burning man, so ideally you get it for free. Usually you have to do something for it though.

Re:Vanity (2, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679237)

Bitcoins

Re:Vanity (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679569)

There is no money at burning man

What's cute is that you actually believe that.

Unless they are doing full body searches to ensure nobody brings money in, I can assure you that, yes, there is money at burning man and people buy and sell things.

Re:Vanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44680009)

Unless you want your RV tank pumped or water refilled in it, which there are trucks driving around for $60.

Re:Vanity (2)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678989)

Then how do I buy my weed?

Asked nobody who ever attended burning man.

Re:Vanity (0)

GoogleShill (2732413) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679353)

What good is reading tech news if you don't post comments on slashdot to show everybody how awesome you are for being interested in tech news! People can't survive a week without slashdot, that's just being unreasonable. People need validation! And up-mods! Imagine the look on your workmates' face when they see that you posted a comment in response to a scientific article! If there weren't a comment site for tech news, nobody would bother reading it! What's the fun of reading tech news if no one knows you're interested in it!

Re:Vanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679515)

Besides, how is anyone going to post naked photos of scrawny bearded men and cow-like hippie women, with their unshaved arms and pussies?

Re:Vanity (3, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679731)

I'd think the biggest hangup would be the stank of commercialized hippy and deadbeat.

hidden smoldering man (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | 1 year,1 day | (#44678757)

And so as it becomes yuppified and "me too!" and too popular, there will be a sub-sub-culture for the folks that really know what is going on and why they should be there.

The same has happened with Rainbow Gatherings, and will happen with events like DefCon.

Re:hidden smoldering man (2)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,1 day | (#44678789)

That happened over 15 years ago.

Re:hidden smoldering man (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678849)

Somebody must've talked about Fight Club.

Re:hidden smoldering man (3, Interesting)

Skynyrd (25155) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679235)

And so as it becomes yuppified and "me too!" and too popular, there will be a sub-sub-culture for the folks that really know what is going on and why they should be there.

Many of us who have been going for a long time have stepped away as the event changed. It isn't the same as it was, so we've decided to walk away from the event.
I'm not saying it isn't fun, or I'm too cool for it, but it no longer appeals to me.

My Facebook feed has slowed by 50%, so I still seem to have a bunch of friends who are going - but I'm getting photos and updates from the desert. That part I don't understand; I loved being off the grid for a week or three.

Re:hidden smoldering man (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44680067)

I know you know you better than I know you but have you ever considered that the event changed less than you have? There's a lot of things I liked even 10 years ago and when I try to revisit them I think they suck. More and more I've come to the realization that what has changed really isn't that much worse and what I like that hasn't changed just doesn't appeal to me anymore. I've never been to burning man but I've done other counter culture events and I can see how much I've changed in them.

Re:hidden smoldering man (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679243)

It used to be about the music, man!

Teathering is key. (3, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | 1 year,1 day | (#44678763)

If you have tethering you should turn it on, so others can mooch off your service. That way you can lower the cell traffic, and use your cell phone as a hand warmer.

Re:Teathering is key. (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,1 day | (#44678929)

If you have tethering you should turn it on, so others can mooch off your service. That way you can lower the cell traffic, and use your cell phone as a hand warmer.

Just make sure you hook it up to a nice sized solar panel so you don't run out of juice during the day... and charge up a battery, as I'm sure actual cell service spikes at around dusk.

Gentry pseudo-hippies (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678769)

Trust fund rebels can't get a signal on their iStuff.

Re:Gentry pseudo-hippies (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679061)

That's funny as hell! Damn! I wish I could friend ACs... C'mon people! Mod this guy up! He speaks God's awful truth.

Re:Gentry pseudo-hippies (3, Insightful)

teaserX (252970) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679425)

Here's yer mod-up, AC style +1

Re:Gentry pseudo-hippies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679433)

Of course, because no self-respecting Android neckbeard would ever leave the basement to go hang out with actual people!

Re:Gentry pseudo-hippies (0)

The-Ixian (168184) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679581)

This

Typical (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678771)

I enjoy [x] and you should enjoy [x] the way I do if you really want to enjoy [x], man.

Re:Typical (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678827)

The parent comment is said to every female at every rave worldwide, EXACTLY verbatim.

Re:Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679985)

What, you mean "I enjoy open-square-bracket x close-square-bracket and you should enjoy open-square-bracket x close-square-bracket the way I do ..."?

Kinky.

LolDong Man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678831)

I have a structured anus hoal
and I need secks now

call your moms butt plug
877-plug-now

877-plug now
877-plug-now

If you have to have cell service (4, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | 1 year,1 day | (#44678839)

at Burning Man, you're a fucking poser and really shouldn't even be there.

Re:If you have to have cell service (3, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | 1 year,1 day | (#44678897)

But if none of the poseurs showed up, the festival would be empty and then were would we be?

Re:If you have to have cell service (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679023)

But if none of the poseurs showed up, the festival would be empty and then were would we be?

At Bonnaroo?

Re:If you have to have cell service (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679063)

So we agree it would be a much better place.

Re:If you have to have cell service (1)

RoTNCoRE (744518) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679031)

How "radically inclusive" of you!

Re:If you have to have cell service (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679043)

Burning Man stands for absolutely nothing other than privileged, usually white people who want to go waste a lot of time while being very conscious of the fact that this supposedly makes them cool. It's silly to try to label a subsect of Burners as posers when posing is one of the main reasons for going to Burning Man. I write this as someone who lived in San Francisco for several years, and had burners as roommates and dates. If people at Burning Man used their talents to actually do something constructive, I would be a huge supporter of it -- but I would guess most people would stop going.

Re:If you have to have cell service (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679487)

Burning Man stands for absolutely nothing other than privileged, usually white people who want to go waste a lot of time while being very conscious of the fact that this supposedly makes them cool.

Yeah...bad time to be a white person. I mean, what are they all thinking...having time off and disposable income and wasting it on themselves rather than sharing it with the more deserving people who are having to do without.

Geez...the bastards.

Re:If you have to have cell service (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44680171)

Um, well ... yes.

Over-privileged assholes who accumulate and squander their wealth instead of trying to improve societies is exactly the problem with this world.

A massive majority of the world's wealth is owned by a tiny minority of the population. What could possibly be right with this picture?

Re:If you have to have cell service (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44680245)

Actually... squandering wealth (I imagine by buying goods or services) creates demand which is, in fact, the only thing that can truly drive a successful economy. Without demand, there is literally no reason to produce something... when you need to produce something, you need people to produce it, which means jobs... and yada yada, but whatever.

Re:If you have to have cell service (5, Insightful)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679533)

Actually "people at Burning Man us[ing] their talents to actually do something constructive" is how the whole thing works. Where do you think all the art, events, bars, DJs, classes, and other fun stuff comes from? They weren't paid to be there.
While it is true that there are those that come to mooch off all this creativity and culture, but one of the central tenets is being part of the community and contributing to it.

Re:If you have to have cell service (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679665)

What does being white have to do with anything? Seriously, I want to know.

Re:If you have to have cell service (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44680285)

All "he" wrote was "usually white," which is objectively true. Guess you need to ask "burners" why they're so discriminatory. Assuming they aren't deliberately discouraging non-whites they still shouldn't patronize events that so conspicuously lack diversity. Right?

The answer, of course, is that these are gentry whites with the spare time and income to fuck off into the desert. And you can take it for granted that most of them indulge the "correct" views on "racist" America. From within their gated gentry whitebread neighborhoods.

I guarantee that if a bunch of hip-hop, thug-life non-white folks started attending the whole thing would end. They'd have to lash together their dad's sailboats in the middle of Lake Tahoe or something. Floating Man.

Re:If you have to have cell service (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44680239)

Funny. Everyone I know who goes to Burning Man is using their talents to do something constructive, both while there and while not. It ranges from artists to computer geeks to lawyers. Then again, not everyone thinks that having a house in suburbia is being productive, or that doing anything but the 9-5 grind is required to be an upstanding citizen.

Quite frankly, I don't understand the Burning Man hate. If anything, it sounds like the standard neckbeard whining about anything that lots of people do: I can't go, therefore it must be something only hipsters and wannabes go to.

Re:If you have to have cell service (2)

Princeofcups (150855) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44680383)

Burning Man stands for absolutely nothing other than privileged, usually white people who want to go waste a lot of time while being very conscious of the fact that this supposedly makes them cool.

Ah, that must be it, based on what, a few photos that you've seen on the web and your own insecurities about anyone different?

The Burning Man people that I know are generally hippie types who go to oggle naked people, run around naked, and do lots of hallucinogens. I've never seen anything about privilege, only general weirdness.

Re:If you have to have cell service (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679209)

Enjoy you're expression like I do or you're a poser!
WHAAA WAAAAAaaaa. whine!

Re:If you have to have cell service (4, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679289)

I would just like to add that I was into that band before they got popular and went all commercial, and I don't even *own* a TV.

Re:If you have to have cell service (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44680411)

Get in the Vaaayaannn!!!

Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678847)

Baseband code is so flawed that it's basically wide open without extensive filtering on the network side. With Royalty attending, that looks like quite an opportunity. Don't take your tech to a hacker convention...

but at Burning Man, where do you put your cell (1)

themushroom (197365) | 1 year,1 day | (#44678863)

when all you're wearing is a feather boa?

Re:but at Burning Man, where do you put your cell (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679075)

You REALLY REALLY don't want to know!

Re:but at Burning Man, where do you put your cell (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679695)

You REALLY REALLY don't want to know!

Let's just say that your phone should be waterproof... [sonymobile.com]

Interesting assessment (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678933)

Burning Man is a very good simulation of a well-organized refugee camp

I always wondered why Burning Man seemed uninviting to anyone with a real job. If I want to go camping, I turn off my phone and throw some gear in my car and head out of town. What exactly is good about going camping with 50,000 random [drug|STD|paranoia]-ridden strangers?

Re:Interesting assessment (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679185)

On the contrary, it seems like Burning Man is uninviting to anyone who doesn't have a real job. Who else can afford tickets? My sense is that a lot of burners are professionals the other 51 weeks of the year. Burning Man is a huge release from all the conformity they deal with the rest of the year. They get one week out of the year to feel cool, so they make it as extreme as possible.

You'd think a distributed messaging platform would (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678935)

be a killer application for a 60k person party spread out over 7 square miles. They're too focused on the ways the technology can detract from what they're doing instead of finding ways to enhance it.

It's burning man, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678977)

Someone needs to do an alternative captive phone service:
Possibilities -
a) text's go to some random phone also in the captive region, mapping is fixed over the burn so you can reply and chat
b) all voice connections get a prerecorded random message, they may leave a message that will be replayed for someone
c) captive web with art submissions

A well organized refugee camp. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678987)

For intoxicated yuppies, maybe.

cell service. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44678993)

if there is a site that covers that area, it can be beefed up to support more loading. carrier would be stupid not to do that and loose out on all roaming revenue. Also a COW (cellsite on wheels) could be deployed to cover it, running on generator, assuming they can get a backhaul back to their switch. I agree, people rely on their phones too much, but it is a good thing to have for 911 capabilities and such at an event like this.

Re:cell service. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679053)

in case you get sick from the marijuanas

Re:cell service. (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679141)

I agree, people rely on their phones too much, but it is a good thing to have for 911 capabilities and such at an event like this.

911's not really going to be all that useful at an event like this. Better to rely on the security mechanisms already available in meatspace, tuned over the past decade of burning man, that takes into account states of altered reality, drunken orgies and performance art.

Really... a 911 dispatcher would be completely at a loss as to what to do if they got a call from Burning Man, I think. Unless they set up a local cell and all 911 calls got redirected to site security. Most likely, based on location data, any 911 call will just get a "911 is not available in your area" message.

Re:cell service. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679467)

911 / Emergency services are well aware of burning man and it's complications. People die out there each year.

http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=235381.0

Re:cell service. (2)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679761)

Really... a 911 dispatcher would be completely at a loss as to what to do if they got a call from Burning Man,

Modern cellphones that have GPS receivers transmit GPS coordinates when calling 911. This has been the law for quite some time now.

--
BMO

Re:cell service. (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679939)

Really... a 911 dispatcher would be completely at a loss as to what to do if they got a call from Burning Man,

Modern cellphones that have GPS receivers transmit GPS coordinates when calling 911. This has been the law for quite some time now.

Really... a 911 dispatcher would be completely at a loss as to what to do if they got a call from Burning Man, I think. Unless they set up a local cell and all 911 calls got redirected to site security. Most likely, based on location data, any 911 call will just get a "911 is not available in your area" message.

I think that was already covered...?

the entire point of my post is that if the call actually made it to the closest 911 dispatch office based on location data, they'd have no clue how to respond other than "that's not in my area". When you're in the middle of nowhere, you aren't covered by anyone's 911 service. If the dispatcher didn't know about Burning Man, they might call out search & rescue I guess.

Burning mens' wallets (5, Funny)

JoeyRox (2711699) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679033)

Today's burning man is about as counter-culture as a midnight madness sale at Walmart. The only difference is Walmart doesn't charge admission.

Re:Burning mens' wallets (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679181)

Today's burning man is about as counter-culture as a midnight madness sale at Walmart. The only difference is Walmart doesn't charge admission.

But The Man's culture is counter to the counter-culture culture, man!

Re:Burning mens' wallets (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679485)

Burning man is a gay orgy sans the sex.

Re:Burning mens' wallets (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679545)

Burning man is a gay orgy sans the sex.

*cancels tickets*

Re:Burning mens' wallets (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679689)

I hear they don't even burn anyone!

FCC License? (2)

cliffjumper222 (229876) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679037)

Do these guys have a license to transmit in the cellular bands?

Re:FCC License? (4, Informative)

Erbo (384) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679123)

From the last linked article: "GSM operates on licensed bandwidth, so for any U.S. installation, the OpenBTS crew always obtains a FCC license and works with the local carrier to coordinate frequency use." As they should.

(Speaking of radios and frequency coordination, I've wondered how big a presence amateur radio has at Burning Man. It seems like it'd be a natural fit.)

Re:FCC License? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679227)

(Speaking of radios and frequency coordination, I've wondered how big a presence amateur radio has at Burning Man. It seems like it'd be a natural fit.)

http://hamradionation.com/browse_vidfeeders.php?tag=burningman

Dahdahdididit didididahdah

Re:FCC License? (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679483)

From the last linked article: "GSM operates on licensed bandwidth, so for any U.S. installation, the OpenBTS crew always obtains a FCC license and works with the local carrier to coordinate frequency use."

They sold out to the man, man.

Re:FCC License? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679187)

Why would you press so many keys on your keyboard, when two clicks with the mouse would have both answered your question AND kept you from looking like a lazy fool? :P

The answer is clearly "yes" for anyone who actually cares.

Re:FCC License? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679191)

Do these guys have a license to transmit in the cellular bands?

You've never been to Burning Man, have you?

Re:FCC License? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679539)

Do these guys have a license to transmit in the cellular bands?

Do they have a license to openly masturbate?

Re:FCC License? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679549)

I can't speak for these guys in particular of course, but the FCC actually makes it pretty easy to get a temporary license for limited-power transmissions in a particular area, for experimental use.

This technique has been used for similar setups at remote hacker camps. If you're far away from civilization it's not a big deal.

Lots of info (too much info?) here: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=222cd91db0980b4e6c3c7049e409c6b5&rgn=div5&view=text&node=47:1.0.1.1.6&idno=47 [ecfr.gov]

Cell Phones (4, Interesting)

Mullen (14656) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679069)

This article is so horribly written that it makes my head hurt.

First off, the Tech Titans that go to Burning Man fly in private jets and stay in "Pay to Play" camps. Not to be a Burning Man snob, they are not getting the Burning Man experience. Also, most of them stay a day or so and then leave.

The OpenBTS network that is setup is a closed private Cell Phone network (This is covered in the FAQ). You have to have a GSM phone, type in special codes to get it to work and there are a number of restrictions to using the network. As the article stated, calling out is limited and calling in very limited. It's great for sending TXT messages, but the coverage is spotty at best.

OpenBTS only supports GSM, not CDMA (Verizon and Sprint), so that means not everyone can use it. Verizon kinda works out there, but TXT is the only thing flowing in or out (With long delays) since there are still too many people out there for the local cell phone infrastructure.

There is wireless at Burning Man, but really only at Center Camp and after about 8:00a, it gets crushed with users. Trust me, no one is checking Facebook or Instagram at Burning Man.

This whole, "OMG, CELL PHONES AT BURNING MAN IS GOING TO RUIN BURNING MAN" is completely over blown. Just about everyone turns off their phones at the gates and leaves them off all week. Burning Man was and still is a completely different world for one week.

Re:Cell Phones (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679125)

Burning Man was and still is a completely different world for one week.

No cell phones. So Burning Man is still a completely different world from what?

Some of us can actually remember what things were like more than 25 years ago. Kids today...geez.

Re:Cell Phones (1)

epyT-R (613989) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679367)

not just about remembering it, but experiencing it again, which is quite nice.

Yes, but you're still not doing that. (1)

default luser (529332) | 1 year,1 day | (#44680169)

You're not experiencing the act of unplugging. You're just going to an organized event in the desert. Even if YOU personally unplug, people can still send you "emergency" messages that the Black Rock Rangers will try to deliver to you, just like the desk attendant at a hotel/spa/resort.

Burning Man is for people who like the idea of roughing it, but are either too lazy, or too afraid to take the risk of cutting themselves off completely. If you're not going for the drug culture or "to be seen," I can't really see the attraction - you can get a much cheaper experience unplugging if you go backpacking in a national park.

Right this moment I could get more "off the grid" than your average Burner by turning off my cell phone and computer. If you tell everyone where you're going and leave them a point of contact, that takes the fun away!

Re:Yes, but you're still not doing that. (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44680345)

You're not experiencing the act of unplugging. You're just going to an organized event in the desert. Even if YOU personally unplug, people can still send you "emergency" messages that the Black Rock Rangers will try to deliver to you, just like the desk attendant at a hotel/spa/resort.

Burning Man is for people who like the idea of roughing it, but are either too lazy, or too afraid to take the risk of cutting themselves off completely. If you're not going for the drug culture or "to be seen," I can't really see the attraction - you can get a much cheaper experience unplugging if you go backpacking in a national park.

Right this moment I could get more "off the grid" than your average Burner by turning off my cell phone and computer. If you tell everyone where you're going and leave them a point of contact, that takes the fun away!

It's about so much more than getting 'off the grid', or drugs or being seen, it's about spending time with bizarre and interesting people, seeing things you wouldn't see elsewhere, experiencing time with yourself and others in an extreme environment that isn't anywhere else. And a million other things, BM isn't just one thing (how can a city of 50 thousand people ever be that simple), it's a bunch of things with a bunch of draws.

Re:Cell Phones (1)

Skynyrd (25155) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679269)

Trust me, no one is checking Facebook or Instagram at Burning Man.

This whole, "OMG, CELL PHONES AT BURNING MAN IS GOING TO RUIN BURNING MAN" is completely over blown. Just about everyone turns off their phones at the gates and leaves them off all week. Burning Man was and still is a completely different world for one week.

Your first statement is not true. I'm getting a fairly constant flow of photos and updates from friends out there now. Most for them work for the BORG, so they have a hard line data connection.

But yeah, most people turn off their phone.

Re:Cell Phones (1)

Mullen (14656) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679351)

Your first statement is not true. I'm getting a fairly constant flow of photos and updates from friends out there now. Most for them work for the BORG, so they have a hard line data connection.

But yeah, most people turn off their phone.

The reason you get pictures from them is because the BORG has its own WiFi network that no one else can use. They can snap pictures and they do get out, everyone else, this is not true.

Re:Cell Phones (1)

pspahn (1175617) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679387)

Just about everyone turns off their phones at the gates and leaves them off all week.

Pretty sure they aren't doing that because they want to "disconnect" for the week. They are turning them off for the week because they aren't going to be of any use. You said it yourself, after 8am, it "gets crushed with users".

Honestly, I would rather pay $400 for a good video montage of people at Burning Man sitting around a fire ignoring each other with faces glued to their iThings, than pay $400 to go camping with 50,000 people.

Re:Cell Phones (1)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679725)

First off, the Tech Titans that go to Burning Man fly in private jets and stay in "Pay to Play" camps.

Nine air charter companies now serve Burning Man. No waiting in line with the peons, either. The temporary airport (88NV) has its own ticket gate.

If you really need a phone, get an Iridium phone. Reception should be great; the whole sky is visible on the playa.

no TV or wireless most of Yellowstone (1, Offtopic)

peter303 (12292) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679177)

And cellphone coverage spotty. The teenagers nightmare. You have to talk to the peole you are traveling with then or read a[n] [e]book.

Ironically (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679197)

I've been busting my hump on a cool new mobile app for BM but had the rug pulled out from under me when they failed to deliver as promised on updating the Playa Events API with location data when the event opened. :-( e.g. http://playaevents.burningman.com/api/0.2/2013/camp/5133/
I guess unless you're on the iBurn team you are radically excluded.

Re:Ironically (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679493)

I've been busting my hump on a cool new mobile app for BM but had the rug pulled out from under me when they failed to deliver as promised on updating the Playa Events API with location data when the event opened. :-( e.g. http://playaevents.burningman.com/api/0.2/2013/camp/5133/
I guess unless you're on the iBurn team you are radically excluded.

Ooooh can I get your crap app and be special too?

Re:Ironically (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679961)

Yes you can be special. You can be mentally retarded.

Re:Ironically (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 hours | (#44680247)

Seriously, though. Is this about me ordering the freaking salad? My blood sugar has been 300 all week. Judge much?

Elite attendees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679299)

If Bezos, Page and Brin go, then Bono can't be too far behind.

I guess they are amused to see the serfs in their natural state.

Not really the same anymore, is it? (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679373)

I've never attended and I'm not in that "demographic", but some of my friends are. The word I've always heard is that it's now overrun with cops, curiosity-seeking yuppies, and even the organizers have taken the revenue-generating route.

Re:Not really the same anymore, is it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679475)

Oscar Wilde, visiting San Francisco on a lecture, was heard to quip of a Bohemian Club affair, "I have never seen so many well-dressed, well-fed, business-like-looking Bohemians in the whole course of my life."

Re:Not really the same anymore, is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44680013)

They're consuming content. When people started consuming content, it was time for the organizers to step in and get some by selling it as premium content.

Out of context QOTD (0)

dicobalt (1536225) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679461)

Burning Man is a very good simulation of a well-organized refugee camp.

WTF is Burning Man (-1, Troll)

Mister Liberty (769145) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679561)

I thought you were all busy over there in the US preparing for
a major civil war what with your NSA fucking you in the ass.

Re:WTF is Burning Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679873)

Dude, we've got more important things to do. Football starts in a few weeks and my fantasy draft is coming up.

Burning man sucks (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,1 day | (#44679627)

Every single person that I've ever met that has attended burning man has been an insipid, self absorbed, liberal yuppie that thinks living in a straw bail house would be great, though they've never actually been in one. It's to the point where if I'm at a party and someone starts talking about their last trip to burning man I leave. Terrorists, please, there some areas of the country that we'd be ok with you crashing airplanes into. Please check with us next time.

Re:Burning man sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#44679719)

This. Amen.

Hang Up and Get Down! (1)

fishbonz (246374) | 1 year,23 hours | (#44680321)

Hang Up and Get Down!

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