New Tech on the Playa as Burning Man Gears Up

Burners at Black Rock City this week will have a chance to tweet their trips in the desert

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Cell service might be improved if costumes like this might double as radio antennas.

    San Francisco is normally so peaceful and quiet in the days leading up to Burning Man.

    Parking clears up, you can find spots at your favorite bars and music venues, and work at technology companies comes to a near standstill.

    But if you have plenty of friends headed to the desert, don't expect a quiet time on Twitter or Facebook, because this year there will be cellular service on the playa.

    Also new this year is a Burning Man iPhone application, and software development tools for hackers to play with.

    The question is, will the cell service be able to handle all the use? The annual geek spring break known as South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, has been known to strain service.

    And if local retailers filling orders of up to 500 gallons of water at a time are to be believed, it could be a banner year for attendance.

    Internet access has been available for years, as well as satellite phones. Google has been known to roll ten tractor trailers to Nevada full of gear.

    But don't be so quick about sending that TwitPic -- a tussle has broken out over who, exactly, owns the rights to images and other media created at the event, along with the surfeit of nudity and technology raising intimate privacy concerns.

    Jackson West still hasn't been to Burning Man, but hopes everyone stays safe and has fun!