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Life without an Internet connection is not the end of the world

The Tao of Questy - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 03:08

For the most part I stay away from questions about politics and religion because the conversations get too emotional and irrational. I am starting to feel the same way about the recent rash of questions about net neutrality

I am not saying that regulations regarding net neutrality are not important, but they are not so important that anyone should consider leaving the country because of them. Any regulations surrounding net neutrality are not life and death issues.

If you are scratching your head right now, wondering what net neutrality is, I have a few links at the end of this that explain the topic. I am interested in net neutrality because I have worked in the fields of technology and telecommunications for many years. I feel pretty confident in saying that the world will not end if the internet shuts down tomorrow. I can live a normal healthy life without a broadband connection to my home.

Maybe I feel this way because I grew up in an era where the commercial internet did not exist. Yea, the internet technically existed in the 1960s and 1970s, but it did not became a commercial entity until the 1990s. Even in the 1990s the internet was so expensive to use, it was a small part of our lives.

What can we do using the computer without an Internet connection?

I can use a computer to do many of the things I did without a computer years ago. I really feel old when I answer questions about life before the internet went commercial.

Playing games

The obvious answer of using a computer not connected to the internet is playing games, but I have never been much of a gamer. I buy an old version of a game that is reduced in price because it has gone out of style or no longer the latest and greatest version.

I love music

I can listen to music all day long that is stored on my computer. I have a cassette player as well as a vinyl record turntable connected to my computer that allow me to take music from old analog sources and convert them to computer files. Yes, most of the songs are available somewhere as digital downloads. But I enjoy taking an occasional Saturday afternoon to convert files.

I love old movies

Just like with my music library, I can take old video files from tapes and DVDs and rip them as files stored on my computer. I have tons of old movies on an external hard drive.

I love restoring old photographs

I have boxes of old photographs, and just like with the movies and the music I get the urge to digitize old photographs from time to time. Not only does digitizing old photos give me a better way to store them, I can take old faded photos and try to restore the color. I can take different photos and edit them together. I currently have three different versions of PaintShop Pro on my computer, I update it to the latest and greatest version every few years.

I love to write

From days before I owned a personal computer I have pages of notes for stories, and various reference books. Over the years I have downloaded many books and movies that are now files on my hard drive that I use as reference material for when I write. I always have notepad open on my computer, and as ideas come to me, I jot them down in notepad. If I really wanted to be lazy, I have a laptop computer set up to take notes that I dictate to it verbally.

Who needs the internet?

As I am writing the draft of this blog post in notepad, and think about all the ways I use my computer, I realize all the many ways I use a computer without needing an internet connection. This answer is off the top of my head, and is just relating to my personal computer at home. I could write another chapter on various business and productivity applications I could use at work without an internet connection.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

If the internet gets shut down tomorrow, I have plenty of things to do on my computer that do not require an internet connection. I guess I am ready for the apocalypse, the end of the internet, or whatever comes my way.

Learn more:

Internet equality and net neutrality explained in simple terms

Internet censorship and net neutrality is not a simple matter

Net Neutrality anxiety high over proposed changes by FCC Chairman


Categories: Tom's Blogs

Net Neutrality anxiety high over proposed changes by FCC Chairman

The Guru 42 Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:00

Many new questions are popping up regarding FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposing to reverse the FCC classification of home and mobile ISPs as common carriers.

There is panic and paranoia over what these changes might mean. I am not getting excited.

I have written quite a bit about proposed internet regulations over the years.  Here is a little historic perspective on the fight for control over telecommunications.

Government controls radio

The Radio Act of 1912 mandated that all radio stations in the United States be licensed by the federal government.

The government took over full control of all radio service for the good of the cause when the United States entered into WWI. All amateur and commercial use of radio ended in the U.S. on April 7, 1917. It became illegal for private U.S. citizens to own an operational radio transmitter or receiver.

The Radio Act of 1927 created The Federal Radio Commission (FRC) to regulate radio use "as the public interest, convenience, or necessity" requires.

Expanding power and control beyond radio, to all forms of telecommunications, now falls under The Federal Communications Commission which was created in 1934.

The Federal Communications Commission battles starting in 1934

The Communications Act of 1934 established the basic regulations of communication by wire and radio. The internet went commercial in the mid 1990s and The Telecommunications Act of 1996 addressed the new and emerging technologies.

Since 1996 the categories of Telecommunications Service, Broadcast Services, and Cable Services have become muddied together, rather than being distinctly different services. In 2015, the FCC classified Internet Service Providers as common carriers under The Communications Act of 1934 Title II, for the purpose of enforcing net neutrality.

The term "Net neutrality" was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003. The concept is based on legal concept of common carrier which became popular in the United States with the late 1800s with the railroad barons controlling the flow of goods and services.

Any FCC ruling can be challenged in the courts, as it has been in the past.

Telecommunications and Federal Trade Commission antitrust suits

Government antitrust suits have been a part of telecommunications dating back to the early 20th century. In 1913 Kingsbury Commitment was an out-of-court settlement of the government's antitrust challenge of AT&T's monopoly of the phone industry. In 1949 an antitrust lawsuit alleged that AT&T and the Bell System operating companies were using their near-monopoly in telecommunications to attempt to establish unfair advantages.

The government forced the breakup of the Bell System in 1982 into seven different holding companies. Through mergers and acquisitions over the years, four of the seven "Baby Bells" are now part of AT&T and two are part of Verizon.

Any actions by a telecommunications company can be challenged in the courts and the Federal Trade Commission as they have been in the past.

It's nothing new

Any changes made to Net Neutrality regulations in December 2017 will only be one event in an ongoing battle for control of telecommunications that has been waged on many fronts since the early development of radio and telephone services in the early 20th century.

Any changes made will be challenged, and changed again.

Learn more:

Net Neutrality and the myth that the internet is free



Photo: FCC Chairman Genachowski swears in Ajit Pai as a new Commissioner at the FCC headquarters in Washington, DC.
May 14, 2012. [Federal Communications Commission Photo]



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