Tag Archives: technology

Life with or without the internet

A technology journalist in New York has just set sail on a year of living without the internet:
Paul Miller, Offline: day one of life without internet, The Verge, 02 May 2012

I think it’ll be interesting to see how he goes. I can’t find a feed, but his posts will be listed on his author page.

So far he hasn’t suggested that the internet is bad for all of us, only that it’s not working well for him, so he’s pretty refreshing from that point of view. (I’m so sick of the authors who assume that if something is bad for them, it’s bad for everybody.)

And as I said, he lives in New York, so with or without the internet he has a particular sort of life, lived in close proximity to other people and human activity and public resources (like libraries, museums, public events). And he’ll be continuing his work in an office, I think, so that gives him an extra layer of connection to the wider world as well.

In other words, disconnecting from the internet won’t be disconnecting him from the wider world, which I think would be the case if a country person like me did it (and the reason I wouldn’t want to do it). It will be disconnecting him from the wider world’s constant calls for his attention, though, apparently. It sounds like he has lots of friends or colleagues online who want to talk to him all the time, so that’s another difference between us.

In short, his life is so different to mine there’s really no comparison between them, but still, I’ll be interested to see what he thinks about his new sort of life.

For people like me from the pre-internet age, he’ll be kind-of visiting the world we used to live in… except that now everything has changed, and the internet has become infrastructure. It might be like the switchover from horses to cars: people who didn’t like the new world of cars might have wanted to return to riding horses, but found the trails and roads they used to ride had been lost, and the feeding areas and the watering troughs and the road rules too. I mean, maybe it’s like that, or maybe it’s still perfectly possible to live happily and easily in the former pre-car pre-internet way.


I hadn’t really noticed until today that can-openers have just about disappeared: I can’t remember the last time I had to use one. Cans now all seem to have a ring-pull top on them.

Which then makes me wonder: have can-opener manufacturers gone out of business, or are they making something different instead?

Incandescent light bulb

glass light bulb

The incandescent light bulb. I’m going to miss them when they go extinct. I’ve always throught they were beautiful.

I hate the new alternatives, or at least dislike them rather markedly. Maybe they save energy, so we’ve all got to start using them instead, but they’re ugly. And one broke in my hand when I tried to fit it into a lampshade, so, even though they look a bit sturdier than the glass bulbs, they’re probably not.

I don’t know what the alternatives are called, and a manufacturer’s website that I’m trying to check is taking too long to load, so screw it, I’m just going to call them the Ugly Bulbs.

The bulb in the photo is posing in front of a dog blanket, by the way – the only plainish background in sunlight I could find at the time. It’s not a political statement about the bulb being warm and cosy or anything like that. (Which makes me laugh, now that I’m thinking about it: political statement and high-mindedness versus using a dog blanket Because It Was There.)