Living offline

I spent a little more than 20 days without internet at home, waiting for my provider to reconnect it to my new house. I think I learned the following things out of this experience:

  • Facebook is truly the big brother were you look through the keyhole of other people's photos etc. I read in a nice comic: if a party's photos don't get uploaded to Facebook, did the party really happen?
  • Twitter has too much noise.
  • In general I spend too much time consuming endless streams of information. I end up scrolling through articles fast, not really reading into them. The bigger an article is, the less is the chance that I'll read it.

Also, I read the news too often. I noticed that for the first time I would leave the office on Friday afternoon and Monday morning I would check the news and I would actually read something new. Bad news about Africa usually, but still it was new news to me. This hadn't happened in a long time because I check the news many times during the day. But why? What difference does it make? Is it a bad addiction? And how do you get over it?

The real need I had for internet these days was to check something in my bank, to register to the Amsterdam gemeente (municipality) and to google search for something I was coding last weekend. That's it. That's half an hour max.

Finally, a fun incident happened trying to figure out why my internet wasn't working. The internet provider had informed me that I would have internet access on the 22nd of February. The internet and dsl leds on my router had been lit a few days earlier. However, I couldn't ping or traceroute from the router interface or from a connected computer. So I thought that the actual connection will be active on the 22nd. Coming back from work that day I still had no internet. So I called them on the telephone to complain. To indicate that I'm a technical savvy person, I explained that I'm pinging and tracerouting and I mentioned the output I was getting. They suggested I try to browse something on a browser. I humoured them and went about to browse something… and magic! Browsing to some page (probably some news site) actually landed me to an activation page of my new internet… so all I had to do was actually open up a browser, go to any web site and then I would be served my provider's activation page to verify that my address information was correct. And the reason ping and traceroute wasn't working is that they would stop at the activation IP (and also all hostnames were resolved as the special activation IP). I hang up the phone apologizing and thanking the person who helped me. At least I had learned something new!

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