Am I that dependent on this Internet thing?

I have been

without Internet access at home for the past four days and it has been

miserable. While I am more than mildly upset with, my service

provider, for their inadequate and incompetent server migration, that is not

really why I am miserable. I have become dependent on my Internet connection.

Up until

this point, I had not realized how dependent I actually was. I use the Internet

to pay bills, keep in contact with friends and clients, manage my retirement

funds and stock portfolio, get bank statements in PDF form, keep up with

science and technology news, pick DVDs I want to rent, download music for my

iPod, VPN to the office, and play games. And this is just what I can think of

at the current moment.

I am

feeling vulnerable — I don't like the feeling of not being in control. I

realize, intellectually, I am not really in control of much of anything, but I

usually feel like I am; a delusion from which I retain some small sliver of

sanity. But this continuing saga of ineptitude by the folks at Insightbb has

brought me back to the cold reality that I need Internet access and that I am

crippled, at least perceptively and metaphorically speaking, without it.

The current

situation will pass I'm sure — despite their failings, the people at Insightbb

do want to provide me service — but it has raised a question in my mind; a

question that I think many TechRepublic members have contemplated:
  • Should I have a backup system for my personal connection to the Internet?


thinking this could take the form of a Treo or other

handheld device that acts as a phone and Internet browsing appliance. That

would give me two ways to get to my bank's Web site wouldn't it? I did find one

solution to my lack of connection problem in the form of a laptop with wireless

and the free connection provided by Panera Bread restaurants. But I was

concerned about the security of such a setup.

So help me

out here — do you have a backup service for your personal use? What is it? Is

it worth the extra cost? Or should I just start weaning myself from my Internet

dependence and join the Luddites?


Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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