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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011, 10:12 pm

Bizarre Week, More Predictable One Ahead

[Or in general, what has been going on]

Once a year I take a break from the Internet, usually for about a week. This need not mean being absent from the Net altogether, just a lot less omnipresent (if present at all). Last year I took my longest break ever (well, since the 90s) from the Internet, lasting about 5 days of zero access to the Net. It was an interesting experience. Usually I take these breaks in summer, but due to problems with the Internet connection (although I do work to have it restored in the new house as quickly as is feasible) this time it happens in spring. Anyway, for those who might be interested, here are my experiences when stepping offline after virtually ‘living’ on the grid on a daily basis for 51 weeks.

First of all, despite initial expectations, there is not much of a yearning to get back online. When the train of thought is interrupted and online activity slips out of mind, so is the desire to get back in there. Typically, there is a feedback loop such as conversations with people and it’s this type of cycle that make it disruptive upon departure. Productivity-wise, being offline is not more productive, but it depends on the definition of productive; activities merely change a bit. It is probably a lot harder taking 7 single days off throughout the year than it is to take one week off. It’s something to do with workflow. Similarly, when it comes to coding, it often works better if a week is set aside and dedicated just to code; transitions that are too frequent lead to mental baggage and distraction; separation between home and work computer sometimes helps eliminate the temptation to mix the two.

Anyway, as I digress, hopefully (if BT keeps its promise) I will be properly back online next week. The ISP is a very bad deal (more expensive than the rivals), but it’s supposed to be unlimited without restrictions, although BT loves to embed antifeatures like throttling and Phorm (spying on packets). Until then I am focused on getting research and development done; in addition, when time permits, I re-plan the operation of Techrights which once a year requires a rethink because technology changes and means of disseminating information (e.g. IRC, microblogging, audiocasting) make delivery a constantly-changing turf. Those who stick to “traditional” paradigms like “old media” did (e.g. newspapers) are doomed to become extinct because everything evolves.

I currently have three jobs, one of which is the business I start with some friends and people whom I know can offer me contracts. This oughtn’t interfere with my operation of this site as well as Techrights (I own about 6 domains at the moment, but these two are by far the most major ones), in fact in some ways these are complementary. There has been a lot of social life recently; now, that — unlike the jobs — can really come to the expense of hobby Web sites. Maybe sleep can give way.

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