When I was on a trip last week, quite a bit of snow fell where I live in France. It’s quite pretty, but it also seems to have knocked out my home ADSL connection. I am not sure that the breakdown is related to the snow, but it sure seems that way. I spent a good part of yesterday fiddling with wires and configurations, but when I heard that all of my neighbours didn’t have any signal either, I could stop. My ISP told me this morning that it should be fixed by the end of the day, which is what they told me yesterday. In the meantime, I keep watching and waiting for that little green light to come back on that indicates I’m connected to the outside world again. I try not to get obsessive about it; I won’t check it more than 10 times per hour. I can’t even blame it on my provider because everyone seems to be knocked out,. no matter which supplier they use
It’s now been out for five days. I have access to email and a few other services like Twitter and Gmail through my Blackberry phone, so I am not completely cut off. Without email, I would have to find some kind of alternative, but it is possible to limp along this way for a while. Not having access to the sources I have come to depend on does take some getting used to. While the phone provides rudimentary access, it is like looking at the world through a pinhole. While I can see if there are urgent messages that I need to respond to, I’m not participating in many long email threads with considered opinions. I also can’t use Gartner’s administrative applications to file expense reports, plan research or create notes.
At first, I thought I would be able to use this disconnected time to catch up on note and presentation writing. I am generally easily distracted from big tasks by the multitude of small tasks that come along, along with the other distractions that the Internet provides. Being semi-cut off could be a good thing. But it hasn’t worked out that way. I am surprised at how often I need to look up something, or how often applications assume the Internet is always out there, ready to serve up a piece of clip art, or reference to an article somewhere, or a link to an application. I am doing a lot of planning and outlining but not much finishing. Even more than the effect on work, I am unpleasantly surprised at how dependent I feel on having Internet access to run my life. I have several pending payments, purchases and money transfers that I have to keep in my head for when that blessed green light decides to do its thing again. Probably most irritating is that I can’t look up which group sings the song that I listened to for 17 minutes while waiting for my ISP’s technical service to tell me they have no idea when it will be fixed.
If you are reading this, then it means that the green light has come back on, and I’m back in business. That will be a very good thing. I’ve got stuff to do.
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