The apartment complex I live in forces me to use whatever Internet connection the whole complex is on. Since I moved here last year, it’s been a local provider until that company went bankrupt. Service stopped on January 25. Not to worry, the apartment complex switched to using Verizon DSL. But that service went live on March 22.
I’m back in school getting my MBA while running TechConsumer. Here’s my story of doing both without Internet at home:
My first thought was to switch to dial-up Internet. But that wasn’t possible; the local provider that went bankrupt also handled phones for the entire complex. So I had no phone and couldn’t get one until Verizon came in (same two months later).
Plan B revolved around my brother Tom mailing me a spare Motorola Razr phone with a Bluetooth USB adapter. That way, I could use a dial-up Internet service (in this case, Juno) to connect to the Internet through my cellphone via the Bluetooth adapter.
But it ended up being something I used only if I absolutely had to. Not only did it use my cellphone minutes, but also the speed was unbearable. For example, I could use it to get basic email but if I was sent an attachment, there was little to no chance I’d get it before the connection timed out.
Plan C became my reality: planning my life such that all my Internet time was in chunks before or after class at school. This taught me just how reliant I was on the Internet. I mean, I could get to it every day, but it was 20 minutes away. How inconvenient!
As I’ve told this story to friends, it’s sometimes hard for them to grasp just how annoying it is. Big deal, you have to go somewhere to get Internet. So I pose the following question as a means to get my point across: How would watching TV be for you if you had to take 20 minutes to get to it? I find many (maybe most?) people still watch TV more than they use the Internet. For me it’s the opposite. But even that doesn’t really get the point across.
I use the Internet for oh-so-many reasons: phone book / maps / weather / driving directions / calendar / dictionary / encyclopedia / banking / movie show times / reviews / credit cards / bills / shopping / streaming movies / music downloads / pictures / email / news / order tracking, etc.
Not having any of that available in my apartment made life seem very difficult. It was my biggest exercise in planning ahead. It’s amazing how differently you have to structure your day when a huge convenience is taken away.
In any event, I now have the Internet and find myself relying on it again as if nothing happened. I felt like I should I write down my thoughts for future reference to remind myself that life isn’t, and hasn’t always been, this convenient…