Even if the Internet connection goes out, your computer does not become a dumb brick. There were days these last few days where I didn’t bother turning it on. Then I realized all the things I could still do.
(My home Internet connection finally came back this morning. I’m bit upset that they didn’t figure it out earlier. It turned out that the first technician grossly misdiagnosed the problem. He put in an order for a new drop to be put in. Turned out it was just a broken modem. Why didn’t they try that earlier? Worse, why didn’t I think of it earlier. To be honest, I did think of it, but didn’t push it. Now I just need to get my money back from Comcast.)
Without further ado, here’s my suggestions for what to do when the Internet goes out:
On the computer:
Organize photos in Picasa – I have nearly 6,000 photos on my computer. Many of them need to be deleted, organized, tagged, labeled, e-mailed, etc. (Yes, e-mailed–I can queue them in Outlook until the connection comes back).
Organize My Documents – I’ve let My Documents folder get very messy. Lots of files that don’t need to be there anymore. Others need to be filed, or re-filed.
Organize e-mail – I’ve got hundreds of folders in Outlook. I’ve tried to keep my Inbox empty and put things into @Action, @Someday, or @WaitingFor folders before they find a permanent home, but sometimes it still gets out of hand.
Organize and fill in information in Windows Media Player. I still have music tagged with the wrong genre…
Program. I’ve got two major programming projects I’m working on. They don’t depend on the Internet. The Internet is NICE if you need to learn something, but there’s always plenty of stuff to do that doesn’t require it. Write unit tests, run code coverage, design graphics, do all the other stuff if you must.
Write e-mails to family. Long ones. Your mom will thank you.
Catch up on podcasts. I got through ten episodes of Ask a Ninja, and nearly all backlogged podcasts. Now I’ll have a flood when I sync tonight.
General computer maintenance. Defrag your disk, delete temp files, delete old installation files you haven’t used in 5 years (yes, I have some of those…). Use DiskSlicer to find where your space is going.
Do long-avoided projects. I have approximately 20 hours of audio I need to edit and split into tracks. I’ve been putting it off for a very long time.
Off the Computer:
Practice the piano.
Read books. I’ve just started Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. Very good, so far. Go buy it. If you’re a geek, you’ll like it. How can you not love a 2 page diversion into the mathematics of when a bike chain will interfere with a broken spoke and fall off? Other than the geekiness, it’s a good story.
Learn to cook a new dish.
Or just go to the library and use the Internet. I only did this a few times, despite it being within walking distance from where I live.
With the talks in Annapolis this week between Middle East governments, peace is on a lot of people’s minds. A meeting like this, while it won’t solve anything immediately, does illustrate the point that you can’t reasonably talk and fight at the same time. With that in mind, I have a permanent solution.
How do you avoid getting things done at your job? You have meetings. You have meetings to plan your work. You have meetings to plan the meetings to plan your work. You have meetings about why the last meeting failed. You have meetings to decide to continue the meetings.
So let’s schedule everybody for a meeting once or twice a year for the next 500 years. Send them all a recurring Outlook appointment.
Of course, you’d have to make the punishment for not showing up pretty severe (like getting fired). Maybe just create an elite international team of kidnappers that will retrieve a missing president. (By the way, it wouldn’t do for the presidents to send delegations–they all have to come in person).
But what to do at these meetings? After a hundred years or so, they will have discussed everything in detail, so I suggest moving on to games. We’ll start with something formal and proper, like chess. After a few hundred years of international presidential chess (televised live, of course), they’ll begin to loosen up and we can move on to more interesting things, like Twister or water polo. Anybody who starts a war that year gets picked last.
Fantasia is a distant planet ruled by a mysterious race known as Fantasians. This planet is stuck in constant turmoil due to the magical force hidden deep within it’s core. This magic causes all Fantasians to be aggressive and violent in an attempt to feed the evil’s desire for souls. This is where you must take control of a small Province, and lead your people to victory over everyone else.
I’ve only played for a little bit, but I’ll try to give a decent description. It’s a multiplayer real-time strategy game that takes place over many, many hours. Just poking through the options, there are so many things to do. You’ve got military, buildings, wars, laws, research, mining, spies, diplomacy, markets, and more.
Here’s the cool thing, though: the game is completely on-line. No downloads of any type required. Best of all: it’s completely FREE. No monthly costs, no one-time costs.
Once completing the free registration, I was taken to a screen where I could control my province. Here’s where it is on the world map: It’s just a tiny little place amid a huge world. Once started, I got my scientists researching new building and military techniques, as well as exploration and building.
Fun stuff. Go check them out if you’re on the lookout for new, independent games.