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Shutdown Day 2007: Can you survive for 24 hours without your computer?

Shutdown day 2007

Another world wide social experiment is sweeping the internets. A global shutdown day aims to test if we can go for a day without a computer, and if so – what will happen? I can only hope that the experiment will not extend pass the recreational use, as even a minor disturbance to the vital channels of communication can quickly turn the developed world to that of chaos. Virtually every aspect of our lives is handled by a computer system, at some level. Broken traffic lights, and planes falling out of the sky are common elements of movies exploring similar scenarios.

So in order to continue living (something I currently enjoy doing) for long enough to reflect on the results of the experiment (the details of any measure are left as an exercise for the reader), let us limit the attempts to our personal computers. Conveniently enough the day, March 24th, is a Saturday, so you don’t even have to miss work to participate.

There are plenty of things to do… I think. There’s a whole video – “You don’t have to turn your computer on to have fun with it”, full of ideas. 1:30 in length, quite entertaining actually.

I will be participating just to show myself that I can in fact do this. So here’s the deal, I’m looking for suggestions as to what to do, on this no doubt sunny day. 10°C, possibly scattered showers. If you think you can survive for a day without your computer, what would you do? If not, leave a comment with some ideas for me, I will consider anything short of permanently damaging hardware.

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Discussion

  1. Posted by Matthew | March 17, 2007, 11:50 am

    lol, Dont tell my gf about this, she’ll make me do it

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  2. Posted by AMailer | March 17, 2007, 2:56 pm

    Is this similar to http://www.worldjumpday.org/? :P

    Anyhow, shutdown day – I can do it! Might have to break my computer though :/

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  3. Posted by Tony | March 17, 2007, 3:34 pm

    Yeah, it’s kind of like that. There were numerous such experiments. Don’t go to major website of choice days are the most common variety. Though this computer shutdown day has more of a personal appeal, and gives me more of a chance to reflect on myself, rather then test out a theory of altering Earth’s orbit via jumping.

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  4. Posted by Lucas McDonnell | March 18, 2007, 10:59 am

    That video’s pretty funny. Unfortunately the only laptop I have is from work — and they may not be very impressed when I bring my broken laptop in and tell them I was using it as a tennis racket. :)

    I think Shutdown Day’s a great idea — especially if it’s a relatively warm spring day.

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  5. Posted by Apomb | March 18, 2007, 6:35 pm

    I’m gunna post how the progress is going from my cell phone!

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  6. Posted by Jack | March 20, 2007, 7:19 am

    Sounds kind of dumb to me! Everyone thinks they can just start a “day” now. The silly thing is that people always seem to follow it!

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  7. Posted by Tony | March 20, 2007, 1:12 pm

    @Lucas – you don’t have to tell them about your unorthodox usage of a laptop. Details… I wonder if I can find some old hardware to have fun with?

    @Apomb – haha, good one. I’ve seen cellphones that are more functional than my old computer.

    @Jack – I suppose you are right, but people only follow those days if they like the idea.

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  8. Posted by Adam C. | March 20, 2007, 3:36 pm

    That is hilarious. The best part was the curling at the end.

    A day without computers?? I honestly don’t think I can make it. We’ll see.

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  9. Posted by Emily | March 21, 2007, 1:05 am

    I survived two months without a computer, television, or radio. We had MP3 players, but only limited song selections. I was working at a summer camp in the middle of nowhere, and we were completely cut off from civilization. One day is nothing, unless I’ve got homework!

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  10. Posted by Tony | March 21, 2007, 1:18 am

    @Adam – next week I’ll be writing a reflective post on my computerless endeavours. Don’t forget to stop by and let us know how yours went. Good luck!

    @Emily – good call. Though I suppose it’s a different idea to stay in the concrete jungle of the hyper communicative city, and choose not to participate with your computer for a day.

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  11. Posted by Emily | March 21, 2007, 1:20 am

    Except that there are other mediums to get information from. When I was at the camp I had to rely on the staff that went into the city to get supplies and things to tell me what was going on. There is also a lot more to do in a city.

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  12. Posted by humanalog | March 21, 2007, 1:23 am

    I’ve gone a few days at a time without access, though presently I’m trying to find co-op placement, so I don’t konw that I’ll be participating in full.

    As for starter ideas of what to do:

    -Build a bomb shelter, GWtBW Green Army style: http://www.blastwavecomic.com/images/green.jpg

    -If that matress is still laying behind your building, you could make a primitive shelter out of it and camp out back there.

    -2 words: Foos – Ball.

    -Go on an epic adventure. If it is a quest to boot you’re ahead of the game.

    -People watch.

    -Learn to cook something new.

    -Video games or television in general.

    -Spend it on a bus, or with your girlfriend.

    -Kill zombies?

    Also: does it count if you’re viewing things on someone else’s computer? :p

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  13. Posted by Tony | March 21, 2007, 1:42 am

    @Emily – You’re right. It’s just like Apomb blogging through his cellphone for the Shutdown (cheater).

    @humanalog – actual suggestions! You get a star. I shall consider an epic adventure, though it will most likely end up a series of mini-quests.

    Yes, I think it’s not fair to view things on someone else’s computer. Or access a computer (an internet browser specifically) via other means, such as a cellphone (I’m looking at you Apomb). Getting a friend to use the computer on your behalf is gray area, but if any of your passwords are involved, it most likely means that you have serious dependency issues to be addressed.

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  14. Posted by humanalog | March 21, 2007, 2:40 pm

    Thanks. :)

    As for the proxy computer use: I’m doubting that there will be computer usage involved in my day if I am to participate, however I was wondering if it was in the spirit of the experiment if one were to enjoy a movie or somesuch on someone else’s computer (since many students don’t own actual television dvd/vcr set-ups). I imagine that it is not, but it is a gray area which may pop up.

    Re: the epic quest: Will you be at home, or in this area?
    (Since 81% of epic adventures require party based tactics and the strategic use of hats.)

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  15. Posted by Tony | March 21, 2007, 5:50 pm

    I would think that the spirit of the experiment will hold up as long as the computer is used just for it’s DVD player functionality. Personally I now think that a more accurate description would be can you survive a day without internet. So I suppose it’s alright to use a computer as a fancy type-writer, but I’d stay away from online enabled game consoles.

    Oh, and I will be in Toronto the for day, so it would have to be a party by proxy.

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  16. Posted by Mathew | August 19, 2007, 7:48 pm

    It’s really quite sad that when I went on holiday I was jumpy after being away from my computer and Internet access for 5 days…

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  17. Posted by Gizmo | August 27, 2007, 5:27 am

    Hmmm … shutdown day sounds pretty interesting. But I can’t say I can do it. I’m too hooked up on the computer. If i’m not surfing, I’m blogging, If I’m not reading something I’m trying out some new software.
    Some Ideas to do for those that what to try it out :
    - disassemble you PC, to the very last piece and leave it like so .. that way you will have something to do the next day :D , maybe clean it out a little;
    - re-read one / two / three of your childhood books;
    - clean your house;
    - sleeep :d
    - drink lots of beer :D ( don’t combine with first idea )
    - go to a movie marathon.

    I think these will keep you busy for one day.

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