Sungroper Internet Cafe
When you absolutely positively need to read Slashdot, there is one place you can go for your solar powered Internet fix. Located somewhere on a highway most probably nowhere even remotely near you is the one place where sun meets sand, dust meets desert and hot meets humid.
Using one of the most isolated parts of the globe along the Stuart Highway between Darwin and Adelaide as a backdrop, for a limited time, you too can surf the net in style.
Your challenge: Find the cafe, bring your mug and chair, surf the 'net.
Middle of Nowhere SA - October 26
Coober Pedy SA - October 25
Stuarts Well NT - October 23
Aileron NT - October 22
Tennant Creek NT - October 21
Dunmarra NT - October 20
Katherine NT - October 19
Hidden Valley Raceway NT - October 15-18
At these locations the cafe was installed and photos were taken. During each location visitors were asked to sign a visitor book and could use the Internet to send and receive their email and update their web-sites.
Some visitors - also competitors in the World Solar Challenge - used the Internet connection to check the weather forecast and rain radar available on the Bureau of Meteorology website here in Australia.
Our visitors enjoyed beer or plunger coffee - depending on the outside temperature - and came from all corners of the globe. We had visitors from several USA states, Puerto Rico, Germany and others.
The Western Australian solar car team Sungroper used the Internet Cafe to update its website and as a result of the nightly updates the website became the defacto reference for the solar race - often having data and images up long before any official sites.
There was no charge to use the Sungroper Internet Cafe, though donations in the form of superb Puerto Rican pasta and cool drinks were gladly accepted as thanks from the more grateful users of the facilities.
The Sungroper Internet Cafe was built on a wooden trestle table around a 2m satellite dish powered by any available power-source, including generator, batteries and borrowed (with permission) camping site poles.
Users generally provided their own computer, though the gateway workstation were made available for web mail as well as SMTP services for those users without.
Our busiest night was in Dunmarra, our coldest in the middle of nowhere, and the most central in Australia at the Aileron Roadhouse. We also used our time to setup an outdoor cinema and outdoor observatory.
Conditions apply: The cafe is operated during the 2003
World Solar Challenge between October 18
and 28 by the Sungroper team. The cafe is open
at Sungroper stops between Darwin and Adelaide along the Stuart Highway.
Opening times are at the end of the day. Locations are not published,
times are not available, there is no seating or crockery available,
you must bring your own computer with either RJ45 or 802.11, bandwidth
shared and Sungroper updates have a priority. Neither Sungroper
or the bandwidth provider ITmaze accept
any liability for missed connections.
Donations in the form of *cold* drinks are welcome.