Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Falling Without an (Inter)Net

My transition from Japan, back to the States, has been difficult for myriad reasons, none more frustrating and disabling than the lack of Internet at my apartment. This lack of access, in combination with my insomniac/jet lagged sleep patterns, has driven me into a hazy, timeless fog.

Unfortunately, I have been forced to seek relief and get my Internet “fix” at Heafey Law Library on campus, a location at which I certainly have not been pining to spend more time.

Since it has been quite some time since Internet connectivity has been this difficult for me to obtain, these past few days have been quite interesting(terrible)...

First, I feel as if I am constantly falling behind. I cannot download any podcasts (two dailies, and two weeklies) and I cannot stream any of the weekly shows I like to watch (content from Revision3, hulu, Daily Show/Colbert, etc.). When I log into Facebook or onto Tweetdeck, the list of updates is so long and daunting that I just ‘mark as read’ and quickly page through them. Particularly frustrating is when an update or tweet referencing an earlier entry catches my eye... I will sit there and try to decipher a peculiar reference only, to realize that the subject matter is already moot, or the posting is just plain moronic/waste of time. Google Reader is adding up new posts to a number that is absurdly high, and I have been forced to clean house there as well (Really slashdot, 96 post-worthy entries?! Or, how surprising is it that TechCrunch has 15 new posts concerning twitter?)

Now granted, I know that the amount of information I am actually missing is relatively insignificant, so much so that I am probably saving time and energy in the long run. However, not staying up to date with things creates a cognitive dissonance, wherein I am almost guilty when I feel that there is just too much content to try and parse through (but...it is still content that I genuinely am interested in and want to read/view/listen!).

Second, I find that my Internet usage has become surprisingly more focused and streamlined. In order to reduce the time spent at the library over my “summer vacation”, I get in, sign on, TCB (take care of business), and get myself out of there! I will sometimes even bring a checklist of stuff that I know I need to do online, and run through it as quickly as possible. (This post was written at home, and I threw it up during a brief Lib visit...)

My limited access feels like a reversion to a time when dial-up connections were all that was available, and that clicking blindly at links (or opening multiple tabs...wait a TAB!?!) was an inefficient way to surf the web. Whereas currently, my web-habits are more of a "I want it all, and I want it now"/pack-rat hoarding mentality towards collecting and viewing online information. I feel like I am starving for connectivity, but the runners at the buffet are too slow in refilling my favorite dishes.

I know, I know...I should have absolutely nothing to complain about. There are many people who are forced to rely on satellite or dial-up connections. My high-speed broadband is installed Friday. Further, I think of the unemployed and those who cannot afford Internet, who have to trudge to the library to access the Internet, research jobs or fill out online applications. An Internet connection has become so ubiquitous, but remains so crucial to functioning in our society. It is often easy to take connectivity for granted, or to forget about the multitude of people who don’t have a connection, yet alone a computer.

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