Life before the Internet?

How do you get broadband if you don’t have an Internet connection?

Answer: You phone someone with a net connection to do it for you.

Explanation: TW is currently offline due to having to move to a place in which only the most intrepid ISPs will offer the most minimal services. Thanks to the world-class silliness of Virgin media tech support service, I have also very recently spent another two weeks offline. I will spare you from the uber-dull details, solved eventually again by the Cafe-Nero-style lad who seems to be Virgin’s only competent techy. It was hellish, in a very mild sense of the word “hellish”, true, but, nonetheless, you wouldn’t choose to do it.

In fact, how does anyone live now without being plugged into the matrix of the Net?

Even given the willful Luddism that stops me from doing Internet banking or shopping, I genuinely can’t imagine how we lived before the Internet, let alone before PCs. It’s not that I wasn’t alive, then, either.

But, to be honest, I can barely conceive of there not being an Internet. If ever anything felt like historical inevitability, it’s the world wide web.

How did we get information? Despite dumping industrial quantities of used books on charity shops every time I move, this house is still a book depository. But, it never has a book with the right information when I need it.

Which is always ten minutes ago, because of the “instant information gratification” expectation that has come along with the Internet. So the library won’t do either.

In fact the local library, which was limited enough (with romantic novels, improving multicultural children’s books and fishing hobbyist books filling about 70% of its shelves) has been more or less replaced by a caffeine-beverages-free Internet cafe. The incommoding books got sold off for pennies, even adding a few volumes to the aforementioned book depository.

I seem to remember it was possible to write letters, take photos, contact people, do calculations, play games, draw pictures, play music and so on. It seems unlikely that we did them much, though, given how bloody hard it is to do any of these things without a computer and a net connection.

Pencil and paper are OK. At least they are portable. But, have you tried using a manual typewriter? A calculator? Well, you just wouldn’t, would you? You might as well get out the slate and abacus.

Have you tried even using your PC without the Internet, recently? It’s OK for playing music and doing 3d rendering. After that it’s like playing frisbee with a dog with its back legs cutoff.

1 thought on “Life before the Internet?

  1. i totally agree! living with out a broadband connection is shocking now.

    it amazes me that i’ve only had one for a little over 3 years. How did i do anything before then?

    still, at least there ARE isps here… shame the same can’t be said about banks……..

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