Unplugged

We lost the web.

At the end of December, our Internet access went dark. There was enough bandwidth to handle very basic email but rendering even a simple web page took several minutes. Often the browser would just quit as the bits would take too long to come down.

We really have no options where we live. It is either Xplornet or nothing. And we were forced to move from the service we had been using for the past 3 years to a new platform. Technically, we are not yet connected to this new platform. But it is working now.

It was interesting to see how we fared without the Internet — or should I say with very limited Internet access.

Managing the Blog

Keeping this site current was almost impossible. I generally have far too many things going on during the day to take time to update the blog from an Internet connection at work. I usually write my posts at night and schedule them for release the next day. I was pretty much prevented from doing either.

Managing money and investments

Managing our money and managing our investments has become an online activity. Particularly the latter. Keeping track of our spending, trading securities and performing analytics all required a reliable and relatively speedy Internet connection. I was unable to access our online banking services and our online broker services.

Planning travel

I travel a fair amount on business and pleasure. We had several bookings that we needed to make: Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, Seattle, New York City. I also needed to arrange for rewards travel and book flights. I could get by with the telephone for the hotel bookings — although the New York City trip required more research. But Aeroplan charges a fee to book over the phone. I was able to get by on my iPad with a 3G connection. Although not much faster and certainly not all that reliable in terms of where we live, I managed to book the flights to New York and Seattle on the iPad. I literally willed the iPad connection to stay up as Aeroplan went into a prolonged state of “now processing your flight”.

Keeping current

As we are out in the country, we are outside the reach of traditional mainstream newspapers. I read several newspapers online: Globe and Mail, National Post, Washington Post, New York Times. I also scan my reader for the other news sources that I follow. I keep current with quite a few blogs. Without the Internet, I was quickly escorted into the dark ages. I started watching CNN.

Staying connected

Social media, email, planning and organizing projects with other people. I had to connect with people face-to-face to let them know that I was without the Internet and that I might not be able to be as responsive as normal. As a society, we have changed our expectations about the way we connect and the speed of that connection.

This dependency on the Internet is not necessarily a bad thing. I was just surprised at how significant it was to have such limited access to the Internet. The web has become so tightly woven into my life. So much so that when it was taken away, my life was impacted.

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