- Nov 26, 2017
- US of A
Is Life With No Internet Survivable?
For this professional writer under daily deadlines, it’s been a frustrating day of interrupted internet service, happening as often as once a minute and forcing a hard reboot of my Windows PC. The WiFi connection has been unstable since a Microsoft update last summer. It’s a well-known bug that I haven’t been able to resolve.
The ultimate solution to my lost productivity is to wire a physical cable to my workstation which is going to happen this evening. This article is being written on my computer without an internet connection.
After the draft is finished, I’ll have to shut down my apps and restart the system to restore the wireless online connection to run a remote proofreader and then log into my email account to send the polished goods off to my editor for publication.
I find being so reliant on other people’s software and hardware to be troubling. At the same time, I enjoy the rich benefits of surfing the web. What’s a geek to do?
This geek has an ace up her sleeve: an older-model laptop that doesn’t run the Win10 operating system. My secondary system was able to upgrade to Win 8.0 but not any further. It balked at v8.1 and refused to install Win10.
Microsoft’s inability to support its own software has paid off innumerable times when my main workstation goes offline on its own accord. Win 8.0 is able to establish a WiFi link when my PC can’t – and that’s a blessing.
To research this article, I investigated what other people did when they were internet-deprived at home. These accounts fell into two camps: those who planned for and prepared to go offline voluntarily and the others who, like me, were victims of equipment failure.
The Volunteers, as I’ll call them, looked forward to cutting a monthly expense by eliminating their internet bill.
They all described a transitional period of adjusting to Life Without Online Access At Will. These were their key take-aways:
One Volunteer summed up the enjoyment and peace of being at home without internet access. The environment had become a sanctuary:
- The Volunteers realized how much time they frittered away at home checking email, visiting entertainment websites, messaging friends, and doing what people do online.
- To fill the newly-created Void of Time, the Volunteers cleverly laid in stocks of physical books, including bulky encyclopedias and dictionaries – and then they read them. Some of them subscribed to the local newspaper and other resource publications, maintaining that the information was often better and more correct than online sources.
- Many Volunteers said they got a phone book to look up contact numbers.
- Unable to shop online, Volunteers reported satisfaction going forth into brick-and-mortar shops to browse the merchandise. They explained that even though stores now stock very little compared to their online catalog offerings, the friendly and capable clerks will order an item for you.
- Paying bills the old fashioned way by mailing a paper printout and hand-signed bank or credit union check became a new habit for some people who gave up their web-based accounts. Others showed up in person to tender their invoice payments while still others opted for direct withdrawal.
- Banking was done in person at a local branch, by telephone or by mail. One Volunteer recommended calling the customer service number on the back of your debit card to check your balance.
- Almost every Volunteer said they were forced to plan to use the internet at a library, coffee shop or the office and this helped them manage their time more effectively, giving them more alternative time off. One commented that it was useful to learn where there were WiFi hot spots near you that businesses offer free of charge.
- Several Volunteers described calling on people in person rather than chatting online as inconvenient but worth the increased emotional satisfaction of a real and meaningful connection with others.
- Many people said that being forced out of their homes to use the internet introduced them to new people and places that they would have otherwise missed out on.
“I have more time to read.
I have more time to write.
I have more time to think.
I have more time for friends.
I have more time to exercise.
I have more time to walk.
I am less distracted.
I am less stressed.
My thoughts are clearer and less fragmented.
I no longer crave the Internet like I once did.
My mind is more focused on important things.”
Then, there were the people in the second camp, including me – the I-Never-Signed-Up-For-This group. We INSUFTers had a completely different experience without internet access as compared to the Volunteers.
One victim of INSUFT used terms such as:
Crash! Stymied! Confusion! Fear!
This writer can soooo relate to that. Except I have a backup plan that involves getting wired – after I reboot and submit this article, that is.