Offline TimeMy home internet connection has now, thankfully, been restored, but during my wilderness weeks offline Op-Pop posted a link to a useful guide to "what should I do if the internet goes down?". Obviously I missed this at the time, well to be completely honest I did do some essential browsing from work but I was somewhat limited on time and content, but how do the suggestions match up retrospectively to my experiences? Time for an in-depth review:

What Should I Do If The Internet Goes Down Investigated
  1. Panic! - Definately reaction number one to my loss of connection. I lost count of how many times I rebooted my computer, restarted the cable modem, un-plugged and reconnected equipment and tried different cable connections in the house (a total of 3 involving disconnecting TV equipment). My heightened thought processes did not come up with any workable solution but did narrow down the source of the problem to the cable service itself.
  2. Find A Telephone - The thought seriously crossed my mind to dig out my old modem and see if one of my old dial-up accounts still worked but in the end I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I did however end up on the phone for several hours to the various NTL support desks where I mainly enjoyed listening to hold music.
  3. Use Your Back-Up Computer - I do have an old lap-top which I did dig out to see if my regular machine was the cause of the problem. It wasn't. Unfortunately while I'm planning on setting up a wireless network at home the cost has been holding me back so I had no wi-fi card on board to cart down to the nearest coffee shop. I do have a 56K modem card but once again I could bring myself to use it. I had to settle for going to the coffee shop and just drinking coffee. Pah!
  4. Install A Game - Jedi Academy purchased, played and completed. Result!
  5. Perform Routine Maintenance - Ran a full virus scan, studiously avoided taking a back-up of important files, and tinkered with automating defragging. Actually started to consider tidying my flat as an alternative.
  6. Turn On A Television Or Radio - Spent far too long surfing the 100 or so cable channels that supiciously still worked. If the TV signals could make it down the line, why couldn't the Internet ones? Continued my completely incomprehensible addiction to Monarch of the Glen (last episode of the series tonight *blub*) and watched in awe at the specticle that is Queer Eye, among many others.
  7. Read - Started reading the Telegraph daily, completed a full omnibus of Sherlock Holmes stories, and read The Death Of Me cover to cover.
  8. Go Outside - Steady on now things hadn't got that bad. Although that being said I did manage to visit my mum and friends in Newcastle, that was a slight cheat though as I was already planning to visit some time soon.
  9. Spend Time With Your Spouse - Unfortunately a hectic recording schedule meant that Fiona was unavailable.
  10. Use Your Emergency AOL Disk - Fortunately I won't let these stay in the flat for more than 5 minutes so I wasn't forced to sink this low.
All in all some fine suggestions, but I hope I never get a repeat of this situation. What I really need are some suggestions of preventative measures to avoid going through this again. Anyone? As an aside it's worth noting that I'm likely to give up all of these activities now I'm back on-line and I've spent nearly 100% of today in front of the PC.

Entry 612, Sunday, November 30th 2003, Filed In Diary

How many do you remember or have you suffered from? Personally the phrase "thin client" still makes me shudder. All the thin client projects I've been near in the past have been, thankfully, canned, but I still meet people trying to implement this architecture.

Having used mainframe dumb terminals (I've even *whispers* done some mainframe programming in the past) I'm not totally sure why you'd want to do this with a PC. PC's work fine as they are. If you want some central control over them this can be done with network software from experienced companies like Novell or Micro$oft. Trust me I've seen it work.

Most of the items in the top 10 that I remember are more than worthy of their place, I'm not sure about VoIP though. Years ago when most connections were modem based VoIP seemed crazy, but now it not only seems more practical, I've actually seen quite a few sucessful installations with some smart looking Cisco kit.

Entry 611, Sunday, November 30th 2003, Filed In Stuff

The pictures of the PlayStation Portable that were circulating a while back looked damn cool. The PS3 concept isn't looking so bad either.

Entry 610, Sunday, November 30th 2003, Filed In Stuff

Queer eye for the straight guy hit UK shores a few weeks ago and for many reasons, mostly not intentional I suspect, it's one of the funniest TV shows currently on air. Anyway I'm sure there'll be a million and one parodies, but the best I've seen so far is Mac eye for the Windows guy from Joy Of Tech.

Entry 609, Sunday, November 30th 2003, Filed In Stuff

Bizarre Love Triangle
Bizarre Love Triangle was just the title of a New Order song, but now it's also some fine French animation.

[Note: make sure you download the suggested Quicktime extension file - it's all very disappointing without it, and well worthwhile with].

Entry 608, Sunday, November 30th 2003, Filed In Stuff

Just when all the guys are questioning whether they are a metrosexual, and whether this is a good or bad thing, the term technosexual is born to further confuse things. Am I? Could be, but I'm not sure about the description "dandyish narcissist". Perhaps I'll stick with the geek label, or just get on with my life and let everyone else worry about how to categorize me [*].

I am intrigued though that the definition seems to suggest an exclusive male membership of the category. Are there no, to paraphrase, straight women who are in touch with their masculine side, having a fondness for electronics such as cell phones, pda's, computers, software, and the web? If not I'm rather disappointed as that's exactly the kind of woman I'm searching for - although it would explain why I've been single for so long (12 months and counting) - since otherwise I am such a catch.

[* Side Note]: having taken the Digital IQ Test that's doing the rounds it seems I have a techie IQ of 116, which apparently means "some might call me a nerd". Fair enough, I stand scientifically categorized.

[Update]: Take the on-line quiz to see how metrosexual you are.

Entry 607, Sunday, November 30th 2003, Filed In Diary

Bloogz is a handy blog search engine with a blog link rank list. Especially useful if blogs kill Google.

Entry 606, Sunday, November 30th 2003, Filed In Stuff

Plight Of The Pygmy Shrew
It's f**ked basically [from Tiger Aspect].

Entry 605, Sunday, November 30th 2003, Filed In Stuff

I'm finally back on-line after my internet connection died a few weeks ago *phew*

While I love the access my cable connection gives me dealing with the NTL support lines is pure hell when anything goes wrong. After numerous calls between customer support and technical support, including my purchase of a new phone to cope with the extended periods on hold (the battery in my old phone kept cutting out after 40 mins on hold), it turns out I had been deliberately disconnected by the technical team while they were trying to "stop the spread of a virus".

No doubt disconnecting customers is a truely effective way of stopping the spread of a virus, but it does seem to be rather over-reacting and causing more trouble than the original problem. And don't even get me started on my fully up-to-date XP security patches, always on firewall, and latest anti-virus software and virus definition files (which a lengthy scan yesterday showed my machine was as clean as a whistle).

Also of course the phone call (er no), letter (nope), and e-mail (no way) they used to tell me about the disconnection was most useful. *Grrrrr*. There wasn't even a note on my account to say what had happened. In the end a techie bloke had to trace my connection to prove the line was okay (this was quite impressive, and a little scary, but he could only get to my modem, not my machine, because of my firewall. Hah!). It was only this that revealed that my account had been deliberately barred. After that it was there was the small matter of two 40 minute periods on hold, the following 20 minute conversations with customer support, and I was back on.

Fortunately they agreed not to charge me for 1 week of connection time due the inconvenience. *Woohoo*.

Anyway the main thing is I'm now back on-line, and I can reacquaint myself with my addiction. Despite the hell of coming off cold turkey, this is no excuse to give up permenantly. Although there are things to do off-line (no really there are - more on this later) I sadly have a big gap in my life without an internet connection. *G33k*

Entry 604, Sunday, November 30th 2003, Filed In Diary

The new Doctor Who series is out now, it's an animated flash adventure, and is voiced by Richard E Grant. I don't know if this resolves the whole who's going to be the next Doctor Who question, would he do this on television as well? Interesting and entertaining all the same, but Eddie Izzard still gets my vote.

Entry 603, Thursday, November 13th 2003, Filed In Stuff

Fantastic news an official report has shown that the old advertising slogan is true - Guinness IS good for you. I might stop in the pub on the way home tomorrow and sink a couple of pints - purely for medicinal reasons of course.

Entry 602, Thursday, November 13th 2003, Filed In Stuff

Seriously, you cannot be serious, the ball was on the line. Homestar McEnroe's guide to tennis.

Entry 601, Thursday, November 13th 2003, Filed In Stuff

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