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Wow, how things have changed. A decade ago, when I worked in corporate America, a day without Internet was something to celebrate. “A day without email? I can actually get work done!”

Yesterday, when my Internet went down in the middle of the day, I had quite a different reaction. More along the lines of “How am I going to get any work done?” A decade ago, I wasn’t as cloud dependent. I also wasn’t self-employed, which has changed the nature of my work and my job.

Looking at my to-do list, here were the tasks I couldn’t easily accomplish without my access to the Interwebs. By easily, I mean, tasks I couldn’t do with my portable hotspot and available 200ish MB bandwidth.

1. Download and test an e-book conversion from a book scanning service (which I’ll be reviewing here as soon I can check out the results). The files include a 450 MB audio book, way more than the 200 pre-paid MB I had available to me.

2. Export my 600-odd LinkedIn connections to start a newsletter mailing list. Um, just no.

3. Researching exorcism rituals for my current fiction book (I love my job!). Technically, yes, I could have done that on my iPad, but I prefer doing that level of research on my computer. Much easier to cut and paste.

4. Invoice some clients directly through QuickBooks. Nope.

5. Review a .pdf proof (which I hadn’t yet downloaded to my computer) of a short story for an anthology. Again, nope.

6. Register copyright for my latest book. Nope. Good thing I still have 60 days to accomplish that one.

It was kind of alarming to realize how much I couldn’t do without easy high-speed Internet access.

Now before you say, “Cry me a river, Juli. There are data-starved children in third-world countries,” I get that. This wasn’t an essay on, “oh poor me, I have to live for a day without Internet.” It was more a commentary on how much things have changed. Remember dial-up? Literally, most of the tasks I have listed above would never have been on my to-do list in dial-up days.

Sometimes I just find it fascinating to see how much technology has changed our lives and how it creeps up on you, almost without realizing it.

So how would you fare with a day without high-speed Internet?


  1. After Hurricane Sandy, I was without Internet for about a week — the least of the problems many people were facing in the Northeast. But the company I work for is based in Dallas and I telecommute.

    I went to Panera Bread for Internet — jam packed and the connection was so bad, you couldn’t even get on. I tried the local library, Starbucks, even McDonalds. Nope, same issue at all of them.

    I settled for doing as much as I could with my wifi hot spot. My whole job is dependent on the Internet because I need to post news articles to the web and access other computers remotely.

  2. @Susan, I hear you on public wifi. I went to Starbucks today and learned the hard way that catching up on Tumblr on public wifi is an exercise in frustration.

    Broadband has made telecommuting a realistic option in a way it couldn’t have been a decade (or more) ago.