Thursday, January 31, 2008

What would I do with no Internetz?

Most folks over the age of 18, or I guess maybe 20, remember a time when there was no Internet. When we really mailed messages and we actually went to the bank and bought newspapers, and of course research meant a library and an encyclopedia. I'm not going for a "Trip Down Memory Lane" like forwards my moms sends around, I'm just trying to imagine how the sudden lost of the Internet would effect my work, school and personal existence.

Today, it was widely reported that much of South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa were experiencing serious internet disturbances. These problems not only affect these nations but also those companies in the US and the UK which outsource help from there.

Folks in Dubai believe these internet problems are caused by cuts in international undersea cables. The BBC reports:

The company said: "We are working actively with the submarine cable system operators (FLAG Telecom and SEA-ME-WE 4) to ascertain the reasons for the cables being cut," it said. FLAG Telecoms operate the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG), a 28,000km (17,400 mile) long submarine communications cable.

EA-ME-WE 4, or the South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 4 project, is a submarine cable linking South East Asia to Europe via the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. Neither of the cable operators have confirmed the cause or location of the outage but some reports suggest it was caused by a ship's anchor near the port of Alexandria in Egypt.

There was disruption to 70% of the nationwide internet network in Egypt on Wednesday, while India suffered up to 60% disruption. International telephone calls, which have also been affected, are being rerouted to work around the problem.

It's hard to imagine what a vital part of our economy, communication and personal lives the Internet has become. It is our lifeblood. At my office, for instance, aside from using email and our website for much of our work, we also run a web-based database and use VOIP phones--if the internet was down for a day we might as well all go home. No one could work for more than 35 minutes without hitting an obstacle.

Clearly, my life as a Blogger and as a student would be severely affected without my beloved internet, but there's just no comparison to losing the massive communications networks of major cities. I live in the United States, at this point on the precipice of a possible recession, and I read everyday how the smallest things effect the larger economy, like the price of oil--I can't imagine how large the loss of communication for a day, a week, maybe more could effect the viability of an entire nation.

I know we are addicted to oil, but there seems to be a goal in mind to help us kick the habit. How can we alleviate our dependence on the Internet? Is it impossible?


courtney said...

how would i gchat?! what would i do all day?!

Jackie said...

oh my, i was so bored that i was actually going through everybody's Myspace, reading their profiles. I noticed this on yours and wondered if it was your own blog. good stuff. I remember life before the internet, it seems like so long ago. I want to start a blog, but would anybody read it? maybe another time, when I need to vent. have a good night, w/ your woman and kitties!!