A few weeks ago, my on-ramp to the Information Superhighway was closed; that is, I lost my Internet connection. It was a painful two days. Although I am fully cognizant of just how much I do online, it was unaware of how fully my life and especially my work has been integrated into and dependent upon the Internet.
The first day was Sunday, so as my day of rest, being Internet-less affected me little. However, Monday was grueling. I quickly realized that without Internet access there was little that I could do — and nothing that I could complete.
My backup computer was equipped with a modem so I reverted to dial-up access — once I signed up for an account and reconfigured things. Then I began downloading my messages. Six hours later, the task was finished! I kept the connection up all day, tying up my phone line — but I least able to putt down the shoulder of the Information Superhighway.
It was an arduous day and got me thinking how I take things for granted — until I don’t have them. As strange as it seems, I think I am more flummoxed when I lose Internet than I am when I lose AC power. (And since we have a well, when we lose power, we also lose water, save what is already in the storage tank.)
Given all this, I’ve made my list of utility reliability, from the most to the least:
- Natural gas: thankfully, I’ve never had an outage or a problem
- Landline telephone: problems are rare; it’s therefore interesting that I am in favor of canceling it; see next item
- Cell Phone: I’ve never had an outage and am almost always in a coverage area
- Dish television: aside from some initial programming issues, the only outages are brief and weather related
- Electricity: there seem to three or four outages a year, usually under a couple of hours in duration
- Internet Access: there are likely four to six outages a year, generally under 2 hours in duration. Interestingly, this service is provided by the same company that provides my much more dependable landline. I wish the reliability was the same.
- Cable television: it’s been a while since we had cable TV, but outages of several hours were common.