Dispatch from an internetless land

00:27, Feb 13 2013

For the first time ever, I'm not writing this blog in Google Docs.

I'm in Word. It's weird. It's set in Calibri.

I don't even have a browser open.

It kind of feels like 1999, only in 1999 the Word logo was more aqua, less navy. I've just moved into a new flat and we don't have internet until Thursday. I can hook my phone up to give my computer internet, but only sparingly, kind of like how I used to use dial up. I'll have to connect to send this blog in, but that will be it. The huge array of syncing services on this laptop leaving the connection on for more than a few minutes will eat away my data plan.

I just finished that paragraph, then instinctively opened up Chrome and went to Twitter for a quick break. It didn't load. I remembered what I was doing in the first place.

I'm not whining. Well maybe a little. Most of the world doesn't have anything near broadband, so whining about only have 3G for a week is a definite case of privilege checking. I'm more in awe of just how much I rely on the internet. My smartphone is lovely but it isn't instinctive. I don't casually scroll down a few pages of Tumblr on it. I can't simultaneously open three different Twitter links with it. I can't upload a photo from my real camera with it. A day will come where I won't feel the need for an internet connected laptop, but it is not this day.


It has been kind of nice. I've read a magazine cover to cover, I've listened to whole albums without pausing all the time for YouTube videos, I've been able to concentrate on writing this blog post without three million distractions. I should try that whole "turning off your internet to write" thing - although most of the time I need to Google a few things in the process.

My ordeal, even among tech scribes, is teensy. A week with 3G is nothing. Paul Miller of The Verge (Google it - remember I can't link stuff!) is going a whole year without internet of any kind. His blog about it (he mails it in) is great.

The world wide web is barely two decades old, and the way we use it now is even younger, but for some it is more important than running water. The speed with which this new technology has become something you don't even consider not getting is incredible.

You are on Stuff right now, so you probably use the internet on at least a daily basis. When was the last time you were at home and didn't use it for longer than a day?

We all go on holidays and get away from it - I did last weekend - but when was the last time you spent some downtime at home and didn't check the news online?

Would you rather lose your TV or your internet at this point?