Voluntarily going back to the dark ages
April 3, 2012 4:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving soon and am seriously considering not getting high speed internet at my new apartment. This is partially to reduce costs and partially to shake up my life and see what kind of changes come from it.

I'm so used to being "connected", that I want to see what life is like "without" it.

I have
- iPhone 4s
- 6 year old macbook
- new-ish desktop PC
- great access at work (and the ability to do personal projects after hours)
- very good access at my boyfriend's place (where I spend a couple evenings a week, plus weekends)
- Decent access at my parent's place (same city as my job)

My question is twofold:

- What side effects should I be prepared for? What details/complications should I consider?

- What are some tools (besides a basic usb drive) to help me "get around" my primary personal computer being offline? This will certainly hamper the effectiveness of dropbox.
posted by itesser to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Check your iphone's data plan and either make it unlimited or set up a notification so that you won't go over the limit and have a huge charge at the end of the month. When I did this a few years ago, that was the only surprise - how much data I wound up using on my phone in the evenings when I was bored.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 4:59 PM on April 3, 2012

I've effectively done this a number of times due to not having a computer or the computer being broken.

- Went to bed earlier
- Spent more time reading/playing with cats/doing more enriching-type stuff
- Focused more on schoolwork
- Forced to get out of apartment more often to find things to do
- Less time wasting time on forums, surfing, etc

- You forget how much you use the internet to get directions, research vets, restaurants, hardware stores
- Less ability to keep up with people
- Often ended up spending a LOT more time at school/work to get internet-related things done
- Had to go into school on weekends if I wanted to be able to check mail, etc
- Had to learn to plan ahead in getting computer work done, printing out stuff I needed, etc

If you have online courses or rely on chatting to keep in contact with people losing the internet is a bad idea.

It was a pretty freeing experience, though inconvenient at times. Honestly it sounds like the iPhone would suffice for all the emergency stuff and you likely wouldn't have an issue with the internet gone. And you could always hook it up if it's a problem.
posted by schroedinger at 5:16 PM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

I did this for a while in college when my roommate just stopped paying the bill. Overall it was a great change. The only downside was realizing that a bill was due the next day or trying to email a paper late at night and having to walk the couple of blocks back to campus to take care of it. The only thing I ever really missed was netflix, but that wasn't even that big of a deal. Oh, and wanting to listen to songs I didn't own on the fly when I'd usually run to youtube.

Go for it. You can always get internet later.
posted by raccoon409 at 5:18 PM on April 3, 2012

I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but I would definitely skip dial-up if you're not going to get high speed. It will just be frustrating.

I've done this in the past, and emphatically second peanut_mcgillicuty's warning about iPhone data. Really easy to go over if you're not paying attention. I also found that I much prefer renting movies on iTunes to Netflix or RedBox or whatever, and it requires more planning without internet at home. I frequently used the WiFi on my phone to download stuff at work.

I ultimately chose to restart the internet because my workload was crazy and it was better to be able to work from home when I needed to rather than stay crazy late at work. I liked it while it lasted, though.
posted by charmcityblues at 5:21 PM on April 3, 2012

If you need to use it for a few hours, coffee shops and diners usually have free wifi. And libraries.
posted by barnone at 5:24 PM on April 3, 2012

- What side effects should I be prepared for? What details/complications should I consider?

You may come to sound like the Internet version of this:

You just don’t know, man. You don’t even know. Allow me to detonate some truth-bombs in your mind-shaft. Are you ready for this? Commercials aren’t the crap in between shows—shows are the crap in between commercials. Boom.

If that happens, please politely remember that whilst you have decided to exit the information super-highway, the rest of the world continues to indulge in cat memes, insanity wolf, and lifestyles of psuedo-efficiency.

You may want iExplorer, which turns your iPhone into a flash drive.
posted by nickrussell at 5:25 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can stay connected, but use various software tools to lock out the problematic sites. That way, you can get directions Google Maps but you just wile away hours screwing around on Facebook. Best of both worlds.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:28 PM on April 3, 2012

That is, you can use Google Maps but can't use Facebook.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:28 PM on April 3, 2012

I did this, partly to save money and partly because I just never set it up. It was a mistake - I ended up spending more money going to get a coffee and use free wifi, which I did almost every evening. I didn't have an iphone, though.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:18 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I did this for a couple of months in the summer a couple years ago. I had an android phone with 3g connection.

It was okay.

But I sorely missed wikipedia. And pornography... if you're into that sort of thing.
posted by Netzapper at 6:45 PM on April 3, 2012

Nope, not planning on dialup (that would be silly), yep, already have data limit alert on my phone (already hit the warning once, so I know it works!)

I'm already pretty far outside the meme culture, so that loss won't bother me much.

Good call on iExplorer. Fewer things to lose!

Is there any utility that can make a PDF newspaper of sorts out of a bunch of rss feeds?
posted by itesser at 7:34 PM on April 3, 2012

i have an android phone so i can make it a hotspot. i have a rooted phone with a free wifi tether app on it.

i gave up internet, which i thought i would never do, because i just can't afford it.

however, i also have a wifi only ipad. the readability app is fantastic. it cuts down on my web browsing at work because i installed the toolbar extension and just make sure to sync the ipad over work wifi before i leave at the end of the day. so i can check out mefi and news sites and if something seems interesting, i just save everything to read later. i can save a mefi page with all the comments etc to read later as well as opening all the links in the main post and saving those too.

i spend a lot less time futzing around at home on the interwebs. i gave up my hulu+ subscription and am strongly considering giving up my netflix account, but it's only $7. since i can't stream netflix on the ipad with the hotspot tether, i find i watch a lot less tv shows. i don't have a tv either.

of course, right now, i'm procrastinating at work on askme but this really hasn't been the norm lately. i find that i actually can do most things via my phone if i really need internet. i have unlimited data through sprint. i stream pandora or npr all the time at home while reading stuff on the ipad.
posted by sio42 at 9:11 AM on April 4, 2012

« Older Replacing a broken cell phone   |   How do I survive the city? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.