My DSL went down for a number of days recently and while at first I felt very inconvenienced, it turned out to be an interesting experience. The truth is that most internet service providers are pretty good in terms of percentage internet downtime, but DSL has always been problematic. Not only can it be a hassle to setup, but it can be unreliable at times. There were several reasons why it was an interesting experience. First, it was enlightening. After having been without my connection at home for a fairly short while, I found that it was freeing to not be connected to the rest of the world. Not only that, but I realized that I didn’t have to be connected to the rest of the world. From a productivity standpoint, it was much easier to get done work without the distractions of RSS, e-mail, social networks, blogs, news sites, and Youtube. I’ve heard it before, but it’s true. It’s therapeutic to disconnect from the web for a while, nonetheless, if it’s unintended there are ways to get past a lack of a connection. The top five are listed below.
1. Free Wifi is Everywhere
Sometimes it’s easy to forget all of the places you can go to get a free wifi connection. Yes, cafes are one of the most prevalent locations, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Over these days whenever I had some substantive work I needed to do I’d go out to a location and utilize my mobile office. It can really force you to focus because the act of going somewhere to complete something is much constricting than the openess of staying home to do something. In short, the availability of wifi was one of the major ways I dealt with not having my DSL connection.
2. My 2nd Generation Kindle
After charging up and turning on my 2nd generation Kindle, I realized that its Atnt 3G connection still worked. It is a lifetime connection as stipulated by Amazon. I haven’t used my Kindle regularly for a longtime, but the lack of an internet connection made it very useful. After subscribing to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Financial Times, I found that I had all of the news that I really needed to have and it was nice to transition back to consuming news in that newspaper-esque format. Aside from this, the 2nd generation Kindle still has that beta browser which allowed me to consume some content from blogs in a limited format.
As far as e-mail goes, I really only needed my Android phone in order to keep up with e-mail. It made e-mail a lot more easy to be honest. Not being able to type out a very large e-mail forced me into being concise, which is something that everyone should strive for. It just makes e-mail more manageable for everyone.
SMS is one of those things that can be easily overlooked with the prevalence of 3G and 4G data connections, but it can still be very useful. With Google, SMS can be used to obtain a variety of information. SMS can also be used to make posting to Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites easy. SMS can really be a fairly robust alternative to a data connection, even allowing me to add notes to my Evernote.
5. Pen and Paper
This last one is kind a misnomer because I’m still a very big fan of pens and notepads. I obviously still had access to all of my electronics, sans an internet connection and though a computer isn’t very useful without a connection to the internet, you still have access to all of your applications. There are just still many ways in which I prefer doing certain things on paper over digitally and when your internet is out that might give you an excuse to consider it.