Sunday, March 20, 2011


Wednesday morning last week, our Internet was disconnected from one ISP and reconnected to a new one. That’s the way it was supposed to go but, of course, it didn’t. Four days later, we’re still waiting for the connection to be usable.

The problem, we think, lies in our local exchange, and that means a technician will have to go there to sort it out; that won’t happen until sometime next week. When we switched to the ISP we’ve now left, it similarly took about a week and required a technician to intervene. It really shouldn’t be this hard.

We have back-up plans, but they’re not as good as real broadband. I tethered my Mac and my iPad to my iPhone. We also have a stick modem on a laptop (which we bought specifically as a back-up: If something happened to our landline Internet connection, which had happened, we could use that to access work). Today we got a wifi device for another cellphone company. These options are slow and expensive (compared to normal broadband). I could make a trip to a café with free wifi, but that’s hardly convenient.

I have Nigel’s old iPhone 3GS, which, thanks to the latest OS update, can tether to my desktop Mac by USB or Bluetooth and to the iPad by Bluetooth. The iPhone 4 can be turned into a wifi hotspot, and you can connect a laptop (well, several, actually) through wifi.

I’ve been on the Internet since the early 1990s, so not having easy access to it is really, really weird. I can’t do any number of routine, daily things I usually do, like check the weather, look something up or do emails or blog posts whenever I feel like it. I also cancelled one podcast recording (done over Skype) and trashed another recorded one (because I had no way to upload it). I feel disconnected from distant friends and family, something I haven’t felt since I arrived in New Zealand in 1995—as the beginning of the Internet Age.

On the plus side, I get all my news from TV which means I’m far less likely to get riled up and then dash off an angry rant for my blog. Unfortunately, that also means I’m badly informed about what’s going on in the world. And, of course, I can’t read the blogs of friends and acquaintances or download the latest episodes of my favourite podcasts.

Right now, I use my tethered set-up for critical uses, like online bill payment and receiving email, and forget about everything else. Interestingly, I’ve learned through this that the Internet has not been my only time-waster: I still manage to lose time quite easily, even without any Internet.

I wrote this post offline, as I do with nearly all of them, and then uploaded it. I actually have another post written and ready to go, but it has a photo. I think I might wait to post that one.


Roger Owen Green said...

Damn technology; if I were cut off from the Internet, I'd have to write by hand or something.

d said...

We had trouble with our provider (Orcon) and didn't have internet for almost 2 weeks. It was really difficult, and like you, I felt very disconnected from the world. While I have access to internet at work, I don't use it much and cannot access Facebook or any other social sites from there.

When we gave up on Orcon and called our new provider (Snap), Snap suggested that we cancel with Orcon *after* Snap has connected us, because it's easier to connect if there is already a connection.

In any case, they had us up in HOURS, thereby proving Orcon was either fucking with us, or they had really shitty service.

Jason in DC said...

Sorry to hear about your problems.

It is amazing to see how tied we are to all these different technologies in our lives. And how much of a disruption there is when they go out.

Perhaps two coffee cans and some string might help.

Hope you guys are back up soon.

Arthur Schenck said...

Roger: Get that though out of your head!! Actually, if I had to write by hand nowadays, I don't think even I could read it!

D: Hopefully we'll have a better time of it than that! We went through something similar the last time we switched ISPs, and a technician had to go to the exchange and do whatever technicians do. So, we're kinda used to this, and better prepared than last time.

Jason: Thanks, we hope so, too. Coffee cans are an interesting idea. Can you use Twitter with those? ;-)

Jason in DC said...

I don't use Twitter so I don't know if coffee cans would work or not. Is the above less than 140 characters?