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Computer unplugged. Lived a day offline.

cat5 cable

Turns out that I am not a complete computer addict, I have managed to survive a day without a computer, without serious withdrawal effects. It was an interesting experience to get myself unplugged from the intrinsic wired environment, and it placed the hyper-communicative networks we have grown to be so accustomed to, into a new perspective.

Things to do offline

Computer’s disqualification has created what seemed like a plethora of free time, where “free time” is defined as a resource no longer allocated for the typical activities. Refreshing change. Highlights that filled up the day included:

  • Gone to sleep earlier
  • Advanced through Isaac Asimov’s Robot Series books
  • Watched tv
  • Spend time with family
  • Improved game skills for Super Smash Bros

What I’ve missed

Without a doubt, email. To be completely accurate, it would actually be connectivity. Though email is the building block of online communication, so it makes for a representative answer. I knew that notices of new blog comments would be emailed to my inbox. I wondered if someone was looking for my response to some issue.

I felt disconnected from the outside world. Any news would be substantially delayed, and people seeking my attention would have to find alternate routes of communication. I would have to find alternate routes of communication. I actually had to warn some people of my scheduled online absence, as such impairment to the expected channel of reach would have came as a shock. My girlfriend did not understand the decision behind this feat, but I suspect that she welcomed the extended phone conversation that followed in place of text chat. (It is too bad that we were unable to go out on that day)

Lessons learned

560 new RSS feed items

This actually made for a psychological vacation, away from the information overload that we are exposed to each day. A welcomed break, though I found myself returning to twice the amount of usual spam, and a pile of unread RSS feed items.

Obviously a new appreciation for the ease of communication. Hundreds of contacts, whom I don’t really know all that well, just a few clicks away on any social website of choice. Actually it is also reassuring that I can still easily get in touch with my entire close circle of friends, regardless of application server explosions or datacenter fires.

Finally, I’ve learned that I have interests outside of the office chair, and that dedicating some extra time could seriously enhance the new hobbies and activities. So next time you catch yourself refreshing a page, waiting for some new story/post/email to come up and fill your time – invest that time into something else instead. What would you do with an extra hour to spend?

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Uhh... nothing else appears to be relevant enough.

Discussion

  1. Posted by Jessie | March 26, 2007, 1:57 pm

    Wow you are a brave soul. I’m ashamed to say I don’t think I would have the willpower. I HAVE to have my email and MySpace!!

    Reply to comment

  2. Posted by Martin | March 26, 2007, 3:06 pm

    Doesn’t playing video games and watching tv sort of defeat the purpose?

    Reply to comment

  3. Posted by Tony | March 26, 2007, 5:33 pm

    Martin – I suppose that would depend on how you define “the purpose”.

    Reply to comment

  4. Posted by Paul | March 26, 2007, 6:25 pm

    TV or no TV, it is not an easy thing to do. Congrats on making it out alive ;) .

    Reply to comment

  5. Posted by Avinash | March 26, 2007, 9:03 pm

    Isaac Asimov’s Robot series books. WOW!

    For your last question, I love reading books if I’ve some spare time. I use each and every minute pretty carefully. I’m not addicted to TV or Radio. Since my music system is on almost 23hrs/day, I don’t care about other entertainment stuffs.

    If I’m not using computers, I’m surely in my private library reading books.

    - Avi

    Reply to comment

  6. Posted by Bashar | April 2, 2007, 12:19 pm

    Read a book. Go out with family. Watch a movie, or hang out with old friend.
    I wish I could also give my self time for regular sport.

    Reply to comment

  7. Posted by Avinash | April 2, 2007, 12:28 pm

    Wish I could easily do that! Computers are addictive, at least for me! They spoiled my routines.

    Reply to comment

  8. Posted by Bashar | April 2, 2007, 1:50 pm

    Avinash: I am only stating ideal case which I do sometimes, but when I go to bed I feel like my other half is still missing :)

    Reply to comment

  9. Posted by Tony | April 2, 2007, 2:00 pm

    My desktop is a Mac, it’s almost pretty enough to be my other half. Alright, maybe a quarter. It misses me greatly when I’m away, and excitedly greeds me with an absurd number of RSS items when I return. Yeah, I’m not addicted to my computer, it’s the other way around :P

    Reply to comment

  10. Posted by Avinash | April 2, 2007, 2:03 pm

    Well, I don’t feel anything like that but yeah, it’s certain that I can’t stay without computers for longer than 48hrs. Then I surely start to feel like I’ve lost something pretty important!

    Reply to comment

  11. Posted by Bobrobyn | April 13, 2007, 12:32 pm

    I know this reply is a little late, but: that’s a neat idea. I should try it sometime, when exams are over and I’m back at home.

    Here’s an even grander idea: Who can go a week without touching a computer? :P

    Reply to comment

  12. Posted by Tony | April 13, 2007, 1:17 pm

    A week might require some extra planning. I’ve actually gone a week, without noticing a complete lack of computers, when I went to Cuba on a vacation. Who needs computers when you’ve got an open bar ;)

    Though yeah, you should still try to unplug yourself for a day, it’s an interesting experience.

    Reply to comment

  13. Posted by Mert | September 21, 2007, 2:26 am

    I don’t think one day unplugged can be considered as enough. I think you should consider your addiction once more, but still if you can do all those things in one day, you should try for one week only with checking your e-mails (you don’t need computer for that) and see how helpful it will be for you. I think I am having the same issues these days and this is the only solution I can offer to myself I guess. I will go outside do sports, go to some museums, exhibitions, try doing something different.

    Reply to comment

  14. Posted by michaelp | January 8, 2008, 4:13 pm

    This is a great article… I have never tried to go a day without the computer. (On purpose anyways). I have done that, but it was when I was busy and had no time to go on. It would be hard on a day where I am being really lazy and have nothing to do. Although once, I was pretty much addicted to Warcraft 3, and my brother said I couldn’t go a week without it. I did manage. Definitely had to find a couple other things to do though. I may try now to go for a day on a week end day, to see if I can survive.

    Reply to comment

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