Lessons learnt from being disconnected

I returned from a week-long family vacation a few days where I was without Internet or a computer the whole time. To tell the truth, being disconnected wasn’t bad at all and I didn’t really find myself missing the internet very much. Part of the reason for that might be that I was pretty busy doing other stuff for most of the day and was too tired by evening. But I also think that the fact that none of my work actually depends completely on the Internet makes it easier to disconnected. I’d probably be much more stressed out and worried if I needed to stay connected in order to make a living.

Though being disconnected wasn’t a problem, I did sometimes wish that I had a computer handy. In retrospect, I would have appreciated the chance to be able to keep some sort of a daily log, especially since I had ample time in the evenings for actually writing. Admittedly, I could have done it on paper, but I’m used to putting down everything electronically and moving it around easily. And then there are also the times when I was just plain bored and would have like the chances to play some games or maybe do some light programming (especially since I just picked up my copy of SICP again). I made do with my dad’s cell phone for the games (and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the physcis simulations they used), but I did miss my computer.

Always by the fifth day, the battery on my iPod was dying. It was partially my fault for not actually charging it fully before leaving. Having music being piped into your ears makes waiting at train stations far more bearable. Add to this the fact that I had brought my netbook home from school instead of my larger work laptop and I can safely say that I made a mistake by not taking it along.

But life goes. I’m definitely going to be taking my netbook with me whenever I travel. Maybe not on day trips, but certainly for anything more than a day or two. I had also considered buying an iPhone or an Android with a data plan, but I realized that I really don’t care all that much about being connected when I’m on the move. I am considering getting an iPod Touch so that I can connect via the school’s wifi whenever I’m on campus (which is 90% of the time) but even that may be overkill. We’ll see.

In other news, I’m happily Scheme and getting excited about two really cool projects I’ll be doing next semester (and will of course be blogging about). I’m also starting to miss the always-on really fast Internet I get at school as well all my customized setups, so it’ll be nice to get back. But I have a week and a half till then and will definitely have some more to write about till then.

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Shrutarshi Basu

Programmer, writer and engineer, currently working out of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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