Sunday, 10 April 2011

The internet

"I said I was an addict. I didn't say I had a problem." ~ House

Sorry to everyone on twitter. It's the only thing on the net I can send messages to with my phone so you have to endure me going cold turkey on what I now recognise is a real and genuine internet addiction. The cretins at Orange have left me with a non-functioning Livebox – a device that I was assured by the only useful man in the Customer Support department is now not given to customers as it's notoriously unreliable. But as he was the man whose job it was to give me the Migration Authorisation Code that wasn't much help. The result of this is that after a damned awesome weekend away (and seriously everyone who was there, thankyou, it was wonderful) I came back to discover that there is no internet at my house. After a week of this I've discovered several things.

I'm addicted to internet access. I need it to feel normal. Without it I get jumpy and irritable. It's not a nice feeling.

TV news and radio news and even a dead-tree newspaper are no substitute at all for real internet news. An example. The recent story about the US budget. I discovered there was a problem with the budget negotiations after pressing the red button. Had I had internet I would have instantly had Fox, CNN, the New York Times and maybe even official press releases from both parties and the Whitehouse to compare. I could have read analysis from the most respected commentators … a lot of idiots as well, but amongst them people who really knew what they were talking about. As it was I had BBC news 24, Channel 4, Radio 4 and the World Service. From these I got a half page. A half page of excellent analysis no doubt. But I had to wait several hours to listen out for this half page hidden amongst deep descriptions of stories I didn't care about. It's really frustrating not being able to tell the news what story you want to hear. Sure you get a wide selection … well in theory. In fact I heard fewer stories than I would searching the net for a half hour. And even listening to the world service I didn't get as broad a selection.

All of my friends live online. This is great because I can talk to them wherever I am. But if I'm not online then that's not really much help. It's depressing to not being able to talk to ones friends, or indeed anyone other than family, for days on end. I know it's quite pathetic, but I'm really missing everyone badly, I'm not enjoying the feeling that I'll be separated from everyone I respect and care about for a period of time measured in working days. Note to self: if you plan to be anywhere where you could be without internet access for more than a week, be sure to find a friend in easy distance.

It's relaxing not finding things to rant about.

It's also bloody boring.

The most frustrating thing not to have is instant fact checking and general referencing. To hold a long conversation without being able to instantly look up relevant facts is frustrating. There a literally dozens of instances in an average conversation of “who said that” or “I wonder what the figure for that is” or “when was that” or “what does that look like”, facts you dont know but which would be really useful to have at hand.

Long story short. The internet is bloody awesome.

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