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June 2011 4xForward

Posted in Features on June 1, 2011
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This magazine is known for being tech- oriented, with the proper amounts of adventure, lifestyle, humor, and assorted trivia thrown in for good measure. That technical focus goes deep with us and our readers, as we all want to know the why behind whatever tech story we’re dealing with. We don’t want to know how to simply bolt shocks on, but why a certain style is better or why it is mounted at a certain angle.

Recently an advertiser was touting the features and benefits of his new product to me. It was the standard dog and pony show where the advertiser wanted us to do a story on the product and repeat all of the features and benefits and inform the readership that it was indeed the product they needed to buy. Now, it may have been the greatest invention since the wheel, but when I asked about the inner workings and the why and wherefore of said product, the advertiser couldn’t answer. Merely parroting back a press release doesn’t explain anything. Like you, I don’t believe everything I read.

Critical thinking is important when it comes to technology. We question long-held truths so as to be firmly aware of what the basics are, and we question new ideas and products, not because we fear change, but because we believe that such technology will be important in the future. Can you imagine if we still had a one-barrel gravity-fed carb on our 4x4s instead of the latest generation of fuel injection?

Technological advances have exploded in the past few decades, giving us vehicles more capable than ever before. We relish the next generation of cool stuff coming down the pike, but we also pay homage to old-school tech that will get you off the trail in a pinch. For instance, when your electrical system dies, your common fuel injection system dies with it. That’s when you’ll wish you knew how to make that one-barrel gravity-fed carburetor, at least if you’re stuck in the Libyan Desert miles from civilization.

That desert scenario may well come to be in the next few months. I plan to take a trip to North Africa as part of the 70th anniversary of the Long Range Desert Group, which bedeviled the German occupation of that region during World War II. The technology was revolutionary at the time but antiquated compared to what we have today. The plan is to take two restored WWII jeeps across the dunes and wadis of Egyptas long as the locals aren’t shooting at us. We hope to have satellite phones and mobile uplinks so we can keep you informed during our two-week, 1,200-mile desert adventure. A good time is assuredthat is, if we don’t let technology get in the way of reality. Tune in at to see our from-the-trail updates.

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