My internet went down for about 20 hours between Sunday and yesterday. Miraculously, I think it’s only the second outage I’ve had since March (and this one was caused by a cut fiber cable).
For the first time since the pandemic started, my family spent an evening and a day without internet access. It was… revelatory.
First off, we still had full internet connectivity with our phones so we weren’t exactly off the grid. But we couldn’t use any of our big screens.
When the internet went down we were in the middle of a Civilization VI local hotseat game. Unrelated to the internet outage, the power flashed and we were unable to reconnect to our offline game.
You see, I hadn’t previously set my Steam or Epic gaming accounts to work offline on that specific device. And that meant that all of my PC games were, in effect, useless until I reconnected to the internet.
And so were the Echo Dots, Google Minis, and about a dozen other always-connected gadgets in my house. My robot vacuum gets incredibly confused without WiFi and all my connected lights and speakers are difficult and unintuitive to operate offline.
Yet, none of this bothered me in the slightest. We just watched Hulu on one of our phones. I was able to accomplish a full work day’s worth of writing, editing, and research using my phone and the Google Docs and Chrome apps.
In fact, the only thing I couldn’t figure out how to do with my phone was call the local 800 number to get my internet fixed — I live in Mexico and my US phone just wouldn’t connect for some weird reason.
There was a time, just a decade ago, when the internet going out was almost as bad as the power getting cut off. It was not only a work-stopper (for those of us who worked from home back in the day) but a total entertainment stopper. I can assure, nobody sitting on the beach in Mexico in 2010 was publishing articles for a tech site or watching Netflix uninterrupted in 1080p HD using a cell phone with a data plan from another country.
The pandemic isn’t over and we’re all in this together.
The good news is that doing your part is easy peasy lemon squeezy:
1. Wear a mask.
2. Stay 2-3 meters away from others in public spaces.
3. Support government officials who take the pandemic seriously.