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Friday, 3 February 2012

How to Get a Break Without Disconnecting

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How to Get a Break Without Disconnecting




It happened to most of us. We had a question, needed some quick information, jumped over to Wikipedia, and… oh that’s right—the blackout. If you use the internet a lot, you may even have made the same mistake several times on the same day. And in the process you realized exactly what the organizers of the blackout wanted you to learn. You really like the internet.

It’s helpful to stop and realize every once in awhile how much time and trouble internet technologies save each of us on a daily basis. Here are several of the major tasks you do regularly and what the alternative would be.

1.      Messaging

Need to quickly communicate a piece of information or connect with someone? Today you choose between email, Facebook messages, instant messages and texting, depending on who you’re contacting. Take away the internet and you’re left with two options you probably won’t like. If you call them you have to catch them at a time when they can answer, and then you get to go through the formalities of an entire conversation. Or if that’s too much trouble you can write them a letter. That’s right—a piece of paper, envelope, stamp, three days, wait for something to come back… it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

2.      Finding information

Do you remember card catalogs in libraries? They were invented to help us when we had a question but didn’t know where to start looking. The next time you wonder about a name, a date, or that recipe you know you read but can’t remember, imagine driving to the library, looking for a book on that topic, and hoping your information might be there. There are some questions you’ll have trouble answering at all without a quick Google search. We do it constantly, and you probably did it for the first time only ten years ago.

3.      Getting places

If you needed a map of your city right now, would you have to go buy one? Without the internet, you would be using it constantly. Instead of typing an address into Google maps and charting the distance and estimated time with traffic, imagine scanning across a sheet of paper and looking for an obscure road name before trying to decide how to get there. You never paid anything for the privilege of using Google Maps, it’s a much better tool, and best of all, you don’t even need to fold up the map when you’re done.

Here’s the most shocking thing about all of these technologies and the convenience they bring: you use them constantly without even thinking about it. They have so quickly become ingrained in our lifestyles that we don’t even realize how much time and trouble they save us. But try going back to the way you used to do these things and you’ll want to return to today’s conveniences as quickly as possible. Maybe that’s the true proof of how user-friendly they are—you use them, you love them, you could never do without them, and you don’t even realize it.

SeanTR is a technology blogger with a passion for technological innovations, language, and traveling.  When he’s not studying philosophy he contributes to ATTSavings.  Learn more about him @SeanTR
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