Life without the Internet

I have been participating in WordPress’s Postaday2011 campaign. So far, I have posted every day of 2011. One of the things they are doing is posting daily topics to help provide inspiration to bloggers. Most of the topics have been pretty lame, so I have mostly ignored them. Plus for the entire month of January, WordPress advised people who it ‘would be stupid’ to discuss the topic in the comments section and telling people to ‘grab the topic’ for their own blog. Given that I had nothing exciting to write about today and I could relate to the topic, I decided to ‘grab this topic’ and write about it on my blog!

First of all, I cannot imagine my life without the Internet. I have been online, in some form or another, since 1991. I remember the first modem I bought, it cost $350 for a 14.4-baud modem. Those first connections were nothing like what we know as the Internet today. Connections were slow and email was a program called ‘Pine’ on a UNIX shell. Google did not exist. Instead we had Archie as a search engine that connected to the University of Rome. You could type in a search term, hit enter, go for a walk, and cook dinner before any results would be returned. Usenet was an extremely popular outlet for discussing current topics. ‘Can-Politics’ was one of my most favourite!

I still remember when Netscape was launched – one of the first graphical interface browsers. Prior to that we had a text-based worldwide web. As the years went by both the quality and amount of information on the Internet improved dramatically. As the speeds went up, accessing information became quicker and easier.

So back to the original question – could I live without the Internet? I suppose if it were not accessible to me I would have to. However, given a choice, I am almost always connected to the Internet. From the time I get up and first check my email with my iPad to the rest of my day, which requires constant connection. For many of us, the Internet has become the structure upon which our lives are run much like electricity runs our homes.

My name is Chris and I am an Internet Addict…

So we came home from the SAINTS fund raiser (and) on Saturday night to discover that something had happened to our internet connection. I didn’t think much of it as it was late and thought I would deal with it in the morning. I was thinking Shaw was just down and it would be fixed by the morning. Well, that was not the case. So, restarted the modem several times, restarted my computer and nothing. So I called them. We go through the usual questions about is it on a splitter, blah, blah, blah. I told him I had already restarted it several times and nothing. The bottom line was that they would have to send someone out and the earliest appointment they had was Wednesday. He asked if that was ok and I said no, I was not sure we could live without internet that long. Meanwhile Deb is asking me a bunch of questions that I could not know the answer to – like “could an animal have chewed through it?” I don’t freaking know!!! In all fairness, she did fix it the last time they said we were going to have to go days without internet. It involved a lot of duct tape as I recall but she got it to work.

At one point the tech suggested that we try the modem in a cable connection that works to make sure it was not the modem because then we could swap the modem out if it was broken. One minor problem – no Shaw outlets would be open until Tuesday – so this was only marginally better. I told him I would try the modem out in another outlet and call them back to cancel the appointment if it was the modem. Then he asks me if it is ok if he sends me an email confirmation of the appointment!!! I asked him how the hell I was supposed to get it?? He didn’t have an answer. I thought it was quite amusing.

Anyway, we had a bunch of errands to do. When we got home I tested the modem in the living room and it worked fine. Then the brain started to work. My first thought was attaching a splitter to the cable in the living room and figuring out how much co-axial cable we would need to run to my office (a hell of a lot is all I can say). Then I came up with the solution. I set up the network in the living room with the laptop and voila we now have internet again. I am not sure what we would have done without for several days.

The other ironic thing was my mother called me in the middle of setting up our alternative network to tell me that her connection was down and could I fix it for her (she is in Calgary and on Telus). I told her we were down to and my plan to fix ours. She said “you are all sure addicted to the internet can’t you wait until Wednesday??” As she was hanging up she said she was going to call Telus to get her connection up. I think the irony was lost on her.

And for the record, Deb and Angelina are as addicted as I am!!!