View Full Version : Life without the internet

10-10-2011, 01:02 PM
So I've been making a vague stab at it recently: only plugging in the wi-fi dongle to fulfil some specific task or other and confining my online activities to said tasks. Obviously this is one of my moments of weakness that I'll have to try and reign in. Regardless, it's been a valuable experience.

A few observations:

- I never realised just how many 'everyday' activities require the internets: I'll just go see when the next bus is du - oh, right.

- Even with my numerous slips, the improvement in productivity has been remarkable. I'm actually forced to do ... stuff. And stuff is good.

- I think I'll have to formalise a regular 'net content binge schedule' so as to limit the occurrence and extent of these moments of weakness. Going 'cold turkey' isn't going to work. Too much interesting stuff to read.

- I haven't gotten into online gaming for a while now, but this new habit, assuming I stick with it, is likely to ensure the situation stays that way, at least on the PC. Playing Mario Kart online does not actually count as using the internet. TruFax.

Anyone have any thoughts or comments or feel like sharing their own experiences along these lines?

10-10-2011, 07:15 PM
I went without the internet for a day, lets just say the bathroom door was axed in and for some reason I called myself Johnny

The JG Man
10-10-2011, 09:36 PM
Didn't have the internet in my uni house down here in Canterbury for a couple of weeks. Meant almost every day I popped onto the campus to use the internet to browse a few things. It's interesting, really. If it weren't for Steam's Offline Mode not working for some bizarre reason, I'd have had a plethora of games to play (fortunately I had a couple of games I could play and indeed did) so game entertainment was covered.

I entirely backup your first point. "What's the weather going to be li...ah." That was rectified slightly when I got my TV aerial working, but then of course you need to wait every half an hour for BBC News to tell you what's up. Things like paying bills had suddenly become a hassle, as well as simply contacting people. I have unlimited texts on my phone and a decent amount of free minutes, but that's just not what you want for the quick and dirty message to send someone a stupid video link...which of course you can't send.

Whilst I wasn't productive, as such, it did get me to go through some video content I've had around for ages and just not bothered to watch. Notably, Arrested Development.

It really does strike you just how much you use it, but I don't think I'd ever limit my time on here. It's usually really scatty, like I'll spend ages on furiously hitting F5 to eek out some details on something (usually a game) otherwise I just won't be bothered and go watch Come Dine With Me or play a game or, gasp, do some work.

It's certainly refreshing though. One of my housemates actually said it felt quite liberating. I'd agree with that.

11-10-2011, 02:29 AM
I had no internet at home for most of 2010. A few things changed - I was doing all of my internetting at work and at my g/f's house on the weekends, so it meant I cut down on a lot of blogs and things that were a timesink (I'm looking at you tumblr), and I still haven't gone back.

So in turn, that meant that I did more Batman work when I got home - namely writing. I'm more disciplined now after the experience, but I'm less disciplined than I was during the downtime. But yeah, it would be better if there was a program that could disconnect your internet during certain hours - like for me I would have it switched off until 7 or 8pm to ensure I did some writing before getting distracted by blogs and games. The password for manual unlock would be 'imalazypieceofshit' or alternatively 'imdoingimportantresearchseriously'.

11-10-2011, 03:37 AM
My father wonders how I can sit at the computer all the time. And I wonder how he can stare at a TV all evening every night. To him it's just a glorified typewriter with access to email, wikipedia, and flashy games. And the TV to me is mostly mind numbing adverts interrupted by mind numbing predictable shows, and occasionally sports. But the internet, the internet is everything. Everyone. Everywhere. All at once. And more to the point, it's my view on it, completely tailored and customized to what I want to see and do.

When the internet goes down for a long period, usually for upgrades in our rural area, it's pretty painful. I tend to catch up on things like yard work and busy-body tasks that get pushed aside easily (cleaning, laundry, etc). More then 48 hours though and it's all done, and I'm either bouncing off the walls bored or sleeping restlessly for no reason. I'll end up digging out old games that don't need internet and playing them. If the computer itself is down (last year I went two weeks between video cards) then God help me.

Drake Sigar
11-10-2011, 09:48 AM
I'll just leave this here.

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11-10-2011, 01:58 PM
Come to think of it, my daily life is not actually that dependent on Internet. While I have start acquiring information from the Internet, we still have printed publications around, not to mention that most information are actually from news site maintained by those traditional media, like CNN.com (I really want to know who start the rumor that Chinese cannot access cnn.com in China), and some simply post their print materials on web (like nytimes.com this one I always wonder. I thought they planned to require paid subscription some years ago, but they are still offering articles free of charge). We still have traditional media around. The only reason I quit watch TV is that TV channels here are too crappy. I watch western TV over the Net. (sadly, Japanese TV used to be good but now quality of their TV programmes decline quickly).

I was raised in the era without Internet - I meant, when Internet is not popular yet. My first Intel 580 computer is not even online. I even recall that Internet is not the only network. That may be the reason I can live without Internet because I used to be in that way of life. I wonder how many kids these days know the term "Information Superhighway".

I always wonder whether we commoners are dependent on Internet, or it's the corporations taking care our daily life being dependent on Internet. Say, we can play multiplayer game through LAN, but most online games these days are stripped of LAN connecting functionality. And I insist that some aspect of my life be staying offline. For instance, I will never authorize my bank to conduct online transaction of my bank account. Banking legislation here is fair towards small-time users. If the bank system is hacked to distribute out money in my account, I would be the one paying for it, but I have not right to maintain that very computer system that give out the money.

And I dont have any phone plan for connecting Internet from my mobile. Great that my Lenovo mobile can receive radio signal (analog signal, government here want to promote digital radio but no investors seem to be interested). Asiding from that my mobile phone is strictly a mobile phone. Mobile online plans here are not price competitive enough.

Dependency on Internet is just an illusion to most people.

05-02-2012, 06:24 PM
Gonna take another stab at this.

05-02-2012, 07:04 PM

05-02-2012, 07:34 PM
It's a tool. It's a very good tool. It's the most useful tool I own.

However, it is not a lifestyle, any more than having a phone is a lifestyle.

I recently had my debit card compromised and my account more or less frozen until my bank could send me a new card. That was Wednesday. Today is Sunday and still no card. I had to pay my cable and electric bills manually after both "bounced" in the interim, and without online billpay, that's a fucking hassle, because they don't like receiving snail mail and I don't like sending it. Cue dealing with the iniquities of going to a payment center for Time Warner and a Western Union for Con Ed, after the inconvenience of finding a proper bank branch instead of an ATM.

Likewise, without e-mails, instant messaging, text messaging and calls to my cell, my friends are left with the idea that I've fallen off the face of the universe. After all, how would I contact them otherwise? We have a weekly meetup at a bar, but if one of us doesn't show up, how is that absence explained? At that point depending on this technology is not addiction; it's acquiescence to what is clearly the most efficient means of communication.

05-02-2012, 10:08 PM
Being old enough to know how life was before the web (and more importantly, mass access) it constantly amazes me how easy things are nowadays.

Online banking is a godsend after they closed all banks within walking distance of my house. What's on at the cinema? I can find that out, watch all the trailers, decide that they are better than the films and not bother to go. Best of all is being able to renew my driving license without going to the post office for a form, waiting 2 weeks for them to open my mail and then decide that I'd filled it in wrongly and return it; and letting them rip the photo from my passport (a younger me, vanity counts).

There's a lot of the whole online experience that I could quite easily lose and not miss that much (although currently it's all that's preventing me from going stir crazy, I'm nearly housebound), but as a tool that provides convenience it's virtually unmatched, no wonder some countries as writing it up as an essential service.

As for cutting down on the internet, it's merely a case of recognising when you are wasting time (like me now) and then having something more productive to do elsewhere (which I don't, but normally I would have).

06-02-2012, 01:24 AM
Everything I do, the Internet has made faster. Need to look up some unfamiliar drug? I can do it in seconds, or I can pull out MIMS and have it take longer (assuming it's in the condensed MIMS). Looking for details about a particular case? I can look it up online, or I can go to a library, and use their internal system to find what book it might be in, then go find the book, then go look through it... and yeah, on it goes. Likewise with the advent of mobile broadband I can do these things out in the field, which means instead of carrying a reference book I can carry a smartphone. My university degrees utilise the Internet extensively for delivering lecture notes, video demonstrations, the lectures themselves, articles, procedural manuals, the vast majority of the learning materials... it'd be a lot more painful without it.

As you move further afield, the Internet has changed things dramatically. Doctors can hold conferences over the Internet, from different hospitals, from different continents. Patient records can easily be retrieved from anywhere they might be required. Information doesn't take days or weeks to move around, it's instant. The Internet changed things.

As Feldspar says, the Internet improved the convenience factor significantly, which doesn't sound like much of an achievement but it most certainly is. As a repository of information it's unmatched, particularly when you consider how ridiculous easy it is to find what you want (given the amount of data it "holds"). If I lost access, I wouldn't be screwed. But I would be significantly hampered, because the Internet does vastly increase my productivity. Knowledge is power, and I can find that knowledge much, much more quickly with the Internet than without it.

But I also somewhat agree with Rii that losing it does remove distractions and might help productivity in that way. Information is so quick and easy to find that it's easy to get sidetracked or go off on a tangent. Without it there, it's easier to go "Well, that'd take some time, I'll do it later" and stay on your current task. But by and large I think the Internet's benefits far outweigh any sort of psychological cost.

Finally, but most importantly - the Internet exposes you to other people from other cultures. Prior to that you either had to go there, meet someone who came here, or relied on whatever the media told you about another place. Today most of us regularly interact with people from different nations and different cultures... though it's also easy to get too insular and choose not to interact with people who think too differently to you. But the same can be said for face to face interaction.

06-02-2012, 03:00 AM
But I also somewhat agree with Rii that losing it does remove distractions and might help productivity in that way. Information is so quick and easy to find that it's easy to get sidetracked or go off on a tangent. Without it there, it's easier to go "Well, that'd take some time, I'll do it later" and stay on your current task. But by and large I think the Internet's benefits far outweigh any sort of psychological cost.

Well, part of what it did was change the entire dynamic when it comes to information. Now the problem is not in getting information - we have plenty of it! - but in parsing that information.

06-02-2012, 11:07 AM
Also the problem is putting that information into our heads and remembering it, i think a lot of problems is that we know we can look it up on the internet so we don't store that information in our heads anymore.

11-04-2012, 05:33 PM
Life without internet would just be plain awful. Take a look at the South Park episode where the internet goes out, scarier scenes from that episode than good old fashioned horror movies.

14-04-2012, 07:38 AM
I agree with you
life without internet Is so bored.