Must ride mule to and from work location


254 points | by eightturn 11 days ago


  • reaperducer 11 days ago

    I love it when "rural" and "IT" come together. Reminds me of a job listing I came across when I was on the beach a few years ago.

    It was for the government of the state in which I lived at the time. It was listed in the IT area. Essentially, the responsibility was to test and maintain computers and their webcams in transmitter sheds at the top of the tallest, most remote mountain peaks in the state. They were part of some kind of state-wide radio network, presumably for forest rangers, firefighters, BLM, and similar types of agencies.

    I didn't apply because the job listing included requirements about the ability to handle strenuous hiking, previous experience camping for a week or more at altitude in winter, and various types of outdoorsy skills which I simply don't possess. All I could imagine was spending a week walking up a mountain with a couple of servers strapped to my back in deep snow. Not my scene.

    And sadly, because it was a gub'mint job, it couldn't pay extra for the hardships involved.

    • JoeAltmaier 11 days ago

      There are (were) an amazing number of old, reliable, remote systems around that need attention. My first job was with a guy who used to program and maintain the 'computers' that ran the California canal locks and pumps. They were paper-tape operated mostly-mechanical systems installed when the canal was dug.

      • walrus01 11 days ago

        The telecom tower climbing industry sees some of this. Mountain top sites that need a high clearance 4x4 in summer and a snow cat to access in winter.

        • gonzo 11 days ago

          Place next door does tower climbing courses.

          They’re still busy in the time of COVID, though I assume the class sizes are smaller.

          • closeparen 11 days ago

            The coolest ones need a helicopter.

            • walrus01 11 days ago

              GCI and ACS in Alaska have a lot of really wild sites

            • floatingatoll 11 days ago

              And in winter you don't have to climb as long to reach the top of the tower!

          • myself248 11 days ago

            Oh yeah, I used to work with a guy who left our suburban telecom equipment installation company, to take a position maintaining remote cell-site equipment up north. Got a company truck and a company snowmobile.

            • walrus01 11 days ago

              The WISP last mile, small ISP industry sees a lot of the venn diagram overlap between tech and rural. Lots of places out there in remote parts of the American west which have only one wisp available, or none, and will benefit greatly from starlink.

              You see lots of creative stuff out there. Small solar powered hilltop sites. 60cm dish antennas bolted to trees.

              • kitteh 11 days ago

                Unfortunately in some parts you deal with the theft and vandalism. Acquaintance of mine deals with this a lot in Arizona on mountain tops. Sometimes folks stealing gear and selling it on eBay for whatever they can get.

                Back in the 90s and early 2000s the theft of copper was getting pretty bad in some parts of the country/rural areas. Folks could spot an outage and guess it was due to vandals but they could never catch them. Lots of metal yards would look the other way and buy it no question asked, but it was difficult to prove folks stole it.

                So they would get in a helo with a FLIR camera and cruise the country side looking for heat blooms and be in contact with the NOC for any outages popping up. They'd eventually find folks using a 55 gallon drum with a fire where they'd pull the copper over it to melt off the cover and call in the sheriff to go after them.

                • vvanders 11 days ago

                  I love the moxie of some of the smaller rural WISPs, reminds me of community run ISP on Orcas Island[1].


                  • reaperducer 11 days ago

                    60cm dish antennas bolted to trees.

                    I stayed at the Amargosa Opera House in Death Valley Junction, California. It had one of those dishes for internet service. It was mounted to the top of what looked like a super-extended flag pole.

                    Every time the wind picked up, it would lose alignment and the internet would go out.

                    • walrus01 11 days ago

                      There's better ways to do that without so much rotation that a 5.x GHz based PTP link will lose alignment - one low cost solution is a 16' long, 6x6 pressure treated timber set directly into a hole in the ground, with a 3" sch40 steel pipe bolted an additional 10' on top of that.

                      • yourapostasy 9 days ago

                        How much of the timber sits in the ground, and what is the maximum wind rating of the mounting you described?

                  • chickenpotpie 11 days ago

                    Another example that is my favorite post on hackernews:

                    • eightturn 11 days ago

                      thanks so much chickenpotpie (author of both here).. these long form things are challenging to write, so nice comments like this make it worth it.

                      • bibinou 11 days ago

                        Hey Peter, you write really well!

                    • Jtsummers 11 days ago

                      Government jobs can provide hazard pay. They just don't always. They should also provide compensation for having to work weekends and holidays or non-standard shifts. I'm not sure of how every state works, but at the federal level in the US federal employees are actually hourly workers, even working a standard desk job. There is a cap on the total compensation they can get in a year (see secret service members who maxed out their pay with OT taking Trump on trips in his first year), but if you hit that you're making pretty good money.

                      Of the states I have worked in as a state employee or knew people who did, it has been mixed. Some hourly some salaried, some have both. White collar jobs (which IT would fall under) were often salaried so that may present issues in getting proper compensation for a job like you describe.

                      • mauvehaus 11 days ago

                        Which state? Asking for a friend ;-)

                        In all seriousness, I'm assuming a western one. If the BLM is involved, it's probably not an eastern one.

                        Honestly, that sounds like an awesome job.

                        • Shared404 10 days ago

                          Where did you find this listing, if you don't mind me asking?

                          I know it was a few years ago, but this actually sounds like my dream job.

                        • tbran 11 days ago

                          Good stuff. This author builds businesses off kind of serendipitous domain name purchases.

                          Find a domain, build something useful on it, grind for a while, you have a business. He also wrote:

                          I Sell Onions on the Internet [0] - He buys the domain and works with local onion farmers to sell them. Has been linked at least a couple times on HN.

                          Want to build a side business? Just buy a great Domain Name [1] - I like this idea because it can give you a steady stream of ideas, puts some constraints on you, and you'll probably be a lot more committed if you plunk down a few hundred or thousand dollars for a domain!



                          • elbigbad 11 days ago

                            I saw the onion article and ordered 5lbs of Vidalia onions from on a lark because I had never had one. Never again, maybe I just don't have a taste for them, but loved the site and was very happy with the service and product in principle. :D

                            • s0rce 10 days ago

                              I lived in eastern Washington state and liked the Walla Walla onions, maybe try one of those.

                              • baldeagle 10 days ago

                                There are also Texas 1015s. I can eat those like an apple. :)

                                • eightturn 10 days ago

                                  1015s are great.. Walla wallas, and maui sweets as well.

                            • vageli 11 days ago

                              > Now, sure, from the outset, I could have viewed this idea from a defeatist attitude, that being, “What? I’m gonna try to compete with Indeed, SimplyHired, Monster, and the like? They’re VC backed heavyweights… I have no chance.”

                              It's _something_ to hear others battle with a similar set of demons as myself. How easy it is to get in one's own way. What do I have to lose?

                              This guy's story reminded me of the person selling onions via the internet ( [0] Turns out it's the same guy!


                              • swinnipeg 11 days ago

                                It should remind you, it is the same guy!

                              • yourapostasy 11 days ago

                                I really like these descriptions of long-tail businesses that connect people with lower and lower economic friction, it fulfills the original wondrous promises of the Net that filled my head when I was first exposed to it.

                                • jamestimmins 11 days ago

                                  OP seems unusually good at copywriting and HN-friendly headlines. That's a huge asset.

                                  • dfee 11 days ago

                                    looking at a domain now... but, it’s listed as for sale on Domainist - a site which (despite me registering, and it accepting the registration), never sent me the confirmation email needed to proceed with the offer.

                                    The thing I like about these small humble internet businesses is that they’re so close to people. Not that I’m complaining about working as an engineer on growth projects, but I often times think that each human connection / conversation is just as rewarding as the zillionth install.

                                    • walrus01 11 days ago

                                      I occasionally check random common nouns as domain names. Somewhat surprised that hasn't been used by somebody to redirect to a third party food delivery service (Uber eats, doordash, skip the dishes etc) as a portal for finding Mexican food delivery near your location.

                                      • WrtCdEvrydy 11 days ago

                                        how? this is an amazing domain.

                                        • walrus01 11 days ago

                                          My only guess is that somebody is sitting on it and trying to sell it for an unreasonably high asking price.

                                          • WrtCdEvrydy 11 days ago

                                            That's the thing... just forward that site down to UberEats's site for 2 hours with an HTTP Header of "X-WANT-MORE-MONEY-CALL-ME: phone number" and you'll sell it

                                            • walrus01 11 days ago

                                              Without any content or a portal on the site, I wonder what the traffic numbers really look like right now. How many persons are manually typing into the browser address bar every day? I've no idea.

                                              • Thorrez 11 days ago

                                                I don't think you can set headers on redirects.

                                                • netsharc 11 days ago

                                                  I guess one could do a Javascript redirect and I think the browser would set a referrer.

                                                  So you could redirect from burrito.domain to burrito.domain/call_us_at_xyz, and from that page redirect to ubereats, which will hopefully set a referrer.

                                                  Or one could also redirect to, which probably won't break their site, but someone will hopefully see..

                                              • seph-reed 11 days ago

                                                On the profit-type scale going from "doing a service" to "extortion," sitting on domains you have no use of feels much closer to the extortion end.

                                                • celticninja 11 days ago

                                                  That's a lot of hyperbole. Just because it is more useful to someone else doesn't make it extortion.

                                                  • p1necone 11 days ago

                                                    It's rent seeking at best. You're providing no value to anyone by sitting on it.

                                                    • hansvm 10 days ago

                                                      You're "reserving" the domain for whoever values it the most so that some random blogger can't blissfully operate their website and refuse all sales to MegaCorp Inc.

                                                      I'm not sure that's beneficial overall, but it's a value-added service to MegaCorp.

                                                      • seph-reed 10 days ago

                                                        Some random blogger would probably sell for less.

                                                        Also, you said it, but the whole revolving around the wealthy thing is kind of ridiculous given they can totally fend for themselves.

                                                    • seph-reed 11 days ago

                                                      Closer to the extortion end of the gradient. I don't like to think of adjectives as binary on/off. IMO, they're fuzzy bell curves, overlapping with each-other, with plenty of space in between.

                                                      Calling this a "service" would also be a hyperbole I think. It's somewhere in between.

                                            • Zhenya 11 days ago

                                              I went to each of the listed sold domains.


                                     [SOLD] |




                                     [SOLD] |

                                     [SOLD] |


                                              Thought that was interesting.

                                              • mauvehaus 11 days ago

                                                The content on is disappointingly shallow to put it mildly.

                                                The second most popular article on the site, about carrying a firearm on the AT, can be boiled down to "the laws are complicated, here's a lawyer joke and 2 links".

                                                Regardless of your stance on guns, an article making an honest attempt to address the question of carrying one might, just maybe, talk about the laws of each of the 14 states the trail passes through and address the question of the various federal jurisdictions the trail passes through as well. Maybe you'd also try to find some hikers who have tried to carry guns and interview them.

                                                The food and water articles are similarly shallow. You could write a chapter or more on each.

                                                The article on menstruation is just outright copied from another blog, with attribution, to be fair.

                                                And there's nothing about the current COVID-19 situation.

                                                Honestly, it's a lot of low-effort unmaintained content that doesn't add much, if anything, to what you can find with several minutes of googling. It's the kind of site that I assume is peppered with ads (or maybe affiliate links, I didn't look too hard) to make a couple of bucks.

                                                Anybody looking for actual information about the AT would be better served by any of the following:

                                                appalachiantrail.ORG <- The ATC

                                       <- AT hiker forum

                                       <- formerly

                                       <- This is what actual niche content looks like.

                                                • eightturn 11 days ago

                                                  author here.. oddly, I sold AppalachianTrail to fund my purchase of DudeRanch. If I still owned AT, I woulda hiked the whole thing, recorded the experienced on the website, and then maybe hired some ex-hikers to provide guided recommendations for the trail for a small fee. Something like that.

                                                  • mauvehaus 11 days ago

                                                    Oh man, I’d have loved to hear how that turned out as a business plan! There’s so much free advice on whiteblaze to compete with, some of it even good :-)

                                                    If you have the time, an AT thru-hike is a wonderful, affirming, and life-changing experience. If you can’t conjure up that much time, Vermont’s Long Trail is a great hike.

                                                    If you do a long-distance hike, please write it up! I enjoyed this and the onion piece quite a bit.

                                                • eightturn 11 days ago

                                                  author here. I wish I'd kept Ziplines.. I could build something neat on that. Needed cash at the time, so had to sell.

                                                  • nedwin 10 days ago

                                                    Do you think they bought it to develop and just never got around to it?

                                                    Or as an investment, something to sell again in the future?

                                                    • Zhenya 11 days ago

                                                      That one seems like a good one. Where can I go to zipline in my area...

                                                  • raunometsa 11 days ago

                                                    I love nice, humble internet businesses like this!

                                                    • thih9 11 days ago

                                                      > At first, I seeded all the jobs myself

                                                      What does this mean?

                                                      I really hope this isn’t generating nonexistent job offers and accepting applications from real people.

                                                      Perhaps this was copying offers from other boards, which would be relatively harmless.

                                                      • eightturn 11 days ago

                                                        author here.. when I started, I already had years of experience in the dude ranching industry, so I simply reached out to them for jobs to post. ie, I seeded, in other words, posted the jobs myself.

                                                        • thih9 11 days ago

                                                          Thanks describing the details and congrats on a really cool project!

                                                      • oldsj 10 days ago

                                                        He should really consider hosting the site on Rancheros