Everyone can now rejoice, as, despite the need to run a line across the melting floor of our newly resurfaced balcony (a need which had the Cox installers walking across it with plastic grocery bags over their shoes), I now have internet access back in my house. What do I spend my time doing on my trusty laptop once I get that access? Oh, you know, the important stuff: checking the email, goofing off on Twitter, and, of course, playing lots of Zuma Blitz on Facebook, not to mention watching some Hulu shows. Blog? What blog?? Don't tell me I don't know what to do on the internets...well, some of you will tell me anyway. I can hear it now - hello? Internet porn??? Yes, it's out there. No, I don't look at any of it.
ANYway, having had no in-house internet access for over a month was akin to my first week without access to a glass studio after I took a six-week course in hot glassworking. The withdrawal symptoms were not good, and I was forced to haunt the local library or nurse a single caffeinated drink for hours at a time in coffee shops in which the wifi access was not guaranteed (What I would have given to toss a chair through a window without suffering consequences every time I got a "Connected - Local Access Only" message - a message that says you are on the net, you just can't do anything. I'd have gotten better connectivity with a tinfoil hat on the laptop.). Because I married a man who is intent on squeezing blood from pennies, it took a while for us to thoroughly research our options and conclude that Cox internet was the way for us to go. My mother-in-law shook her head when I told her about my travels with my laptop, and we discussed how much internet access is taken for granted by our spouses, not to mention ourselves.
The digital divide is quite real. An hour a day on a library computer, some texting on a cellular phone that is free with your wireless plan, perhaps some work-only emails - that's about the most interaction the general public has with the series of tubes pulsing with information each day. It suffices for most people. For those trying to get a job in these tough times, however, access to the internet can be the thing that gives one an edge when every little thing helps. Sure, there are times when vacations from being digital are sorely needed, but we no longer live in a world where we can completely ignore it all.
When my eight-year-old little guy is having to sign netiquette forms issued by his school (and he hasn't even learned cursive yet, nor does he have his own email account), the net cannot be completely discounted. I wonder a great deal about these families that jump through the hoops and get their children into the good schools only to find that well-meaning measures that are meant to reduce the usage of paper for notes home from school and reduce the sheer volume of homework kids have to lug home in backpacks and book bags cannot be easily accessed at home. Possible results? Parents end up being out of certain loops due to lack of access to school listservs and general school emails, and opportunities for the kids to develop good study habits can go straight to hell. Yeah, I may be overstating all this as an admitted internet addict, but it's something I contemplate more as a result of my time spent bumming wifi.
And hey, speaking of internet addiction, this year's Rising Tide trivia contest is a truncated one due to my recent internet access odyssey. So it isn't a full week of queries. You'll just have to deal:
Here's a heads-up on my third annual Rising Tide contest, in which, on the three days before the conference (that's August 24th through August 26th this year), I ask a different trivia question, the answer of which could get you $5 off your conference fee from li'l ol' me.
First off, the money for this is coming from me and only from me. Do not ask the Rising Tide website, blog, Facebook, or Twitter accounts for sympathy if you have any beef with this little exercise - just bring it on over to me.
Ineligible participants are: the RT organizers, volunteers, panelists, and speakers. Sorry, folks, c'est la contest.
- Register for and/or donate $10 or more to Rising Tide VI.
- Check back on my blog each day during August 24-26.
- There will be a new question each day for you all to answer. Leave your answer in the comments.
- First correct answer to the question each day gets a five-note from li'l ol' me. If there's more than one correct answer each day, the first one in the chronology of comments left on this blog gets the five bucks. There can only be one winner each day.
- If you have not registered or donated, there will be no dough for you, no matter how right the answer is.