Startup: Back to the Dark Ages!

Phil Hooch, the man responsible for keeping the internet boilers running.

Yesterday morning I awoke to discover that someone had parked a car-tire on my internets tube. That, or it was clogged. Either way, it wasn’t working, and I couldn’t log in to AtomicToasters or Hooniverse. It completely threw off my morning routine.

You don’t truly realize how much you depend on the internet until it’s not available. In a sense, it’s become like electricity. When the power goes out, I will, of course, find myself flicking light switches out of habit, only to remember a second or so later that the power is out. The same applied to my computer yesterday. I kept walking over to it and trying to search for something, anytime a trivial little question would pop into my head.

Sure, I still had iPhone internets, but that’s small. I like my big-screen internets better. What say you? How dependent are you on having a working internet connection? Will you begin to seize in withdrawal after fifteen minutes or so? Or are you still figuring out what this blue tube is that plugs into the back of your computer?

  • Things the internet has changed:
    1. I forget about things called phone books, then discover 10 atop the fridge.
    2. The destruction of the pace of conversation. This is a double edged sword, especially for long-distance conversations.
    3. Access to more expertise on almost any subject or idle curiosity.
    4. Increasing literacy rates. Probably.

    Things the internet hasn't actually changed:
    1. Access to source data.
    2. People who cannot tell the difference between journalism and a press release, bull**** detection in general.
    3. When the power is off, I forget the water still works.
    4. Centralized sources of truly popular media.

    • zaddikim

      1-The funny thing about phone books is that I have hardly used them at all in the past few years, thanks to Google and Canada411. When I do need to use them, I've found the interface clunky, and no, I'm not really trying to be funny. It's kind of like running KDE for ages, and then being forced to use Gnome for one specific, obscure task.
      2- I've been almost completely reliant lately on Google for my LD calling, and since I've got my browser open for it, that also means ^-T, then browsing to [insert website here], and subsequently getting hell for not paying attention. ADD is a bitch sometimes.
      3- THIS – I am completely over the moon when it comes to snagging random knowledge. Between my regular sites (see below) and IMDB/Google, the world is my Saccostrea.
      4- Yes and no. txtspk FTL, lolwtfbbq!!!111oneoneone. Yes, it can broaden ones horizons infinitely, or it can bring ones focus in a little too much, to the exclusion of almost everything else.

      not changed –
      1- no comment
      2-It usually takes a second read to parse a document to fully engage my Bovine Excrement Filter, but unfortunately, I know far too many people who haven't had that module installed. A damn shame really – it ends up saving so much time in the long run.
      3- I do this too, and I damn well know better. I am disappoint.
      4- i welcome our centralized sources of truly popular media overlords, etc, blahyada…

    • P161911

      1- My wife has been known to sit and read the phone book. I think she is looking for new places to shop.

      Not changed:
      3. I grew up in a house with a well. When the power was off the water DIDN'T work, at least not for very long, there was a little residual pressure in the line. Now that I have county water, I forget too.

  • Mr_Biggles

    I don't miss it so much at home because there are always kids or other crap to look after. I didn't mean like kids…crap…never mind.

    Oddly enough when it's down at work I end up sitting at my desk staring at the computer, completely frozen up and unsure what to do. This, even though almost half of my work doesn't really involve the net. Probably because I use it to waste time at work, and so without it I will likely have to do more work and I'm unsure how to go about that.

    • zaddikim

      Three of my last four jobs almost completely relied on the internet, and if we didn't have it running, then we pretty much did sweet FA apart from cleaning our desks and doing general maintenance. If we got a customer calling about how X didn't work, and they were gonna lose their s***, then we just had to wing it. No VNC, no Google for the weirder problems, no DB access to previous cases, nothing.

      It certainly kept us on our toes. Fortunately, it didn't happen too often!

  • dwegmull

    Any talk of the Internet malfunctioning makes me think of the following clip:
    [youtube iRmxXp62O8g youtube]

  • Last year I assisted with a field trip to a remote area to launch high-power rockets. One student very much wanted to follow the home football game via the internet on his 3G cell phone, which was fine until we got away from the main highway. After that he still had conventional voice service, so he then repeatedly called his friends for running updates. Eventually that signal faded, too, so he spent much of the day at the launch site wandering around waving the phone, searching for coverage to learn the outcome.

    I felt no need to point out the van was equipped with a device called a "radio" over which the game was being "broadcast." It never occurred to him.

    • zsm

      I used to work at a summer camp in the summers. In the beginning of the summer we would setup. Then there was a 10 day program for the 'future leaders.' I usually only worked for those first 2 weeks. These were the young boy scouts that troops had decided had the most potential for the leadership training camp. Sort of like a camp for the gifted scouts. One year we had such a gifted scout not cut it (there were always a few). So we let him call his parents. Once we did that, we knew they were going home, the homesickness would win out, it always did. So we let him into the trailer with the a phone, and left to give him some privacy. Then we heard screaming and crying. We come in, and are yelled at, "How could we be so evil? Who would do such a thing?" and so on. It turned-out that the gifted kid thought we had played a prank on him and that phone was a toy or broken.

      It was 1994 and a rotary phone.

      • tonyola

        That reminds me of the scene in To Die For where the young woman is frantically trying to work a dial phone by punching her fingers in the holes.

      • Ouch. Still, at least your scout had the excuse of childhood. My student was a university undergraduate.

  • When the internet goes down at home, I am fucking ON IT. I would even get on the roof if the outage called for it. However, it rarely happens.

    At work, its a different story. Our IT guy likes to throttle my department because of some serious uploading going on. So, I am usually without internets for 15 minutes a day. Mostly, I just sit back, relax and look at my "firefox is fucked" screen, then go get a Coke and a smile, and it usually is back on.

  • At work, it's a huge deal, since I'm the one responsible for keeping the tubes flowing. At home, it's a blessing, because then I veg out in other, more productive ways.

    But I'm a neo-luddite without a facespace account, or the mytubes or anything.

  • IronBallsMcG

    When my interwebs go out, I send an email with the subject line "Brush." Usually this will clean the tubes. I've gotten in the habit of sending one or two each month as a form of preventive maintenance. I highly recommend this.

  • jjd241

    Anarchy, riots and the end of society as a whole!