January 7, 2008

"Be prepared with this loss of internet preparedness kit."

Almost everything these days is powered by computers and controlled through networks across the internet. From traffic lights to powerplants, entire businesses to satellites, and news networks and blogs. If you're reading this right now: chances are a big chunk of your life is dependent on internet access and networking.

So what happens when the internet fails us and we cannot access any of our networks or news or tools or email? What happens when we lose the internet?

This morning I awoke to find myself in that exact situation: the internet in my apartment complex was down, and it looked like it wouldn't be up and running for a while. I was stuck without access to world news, without access to my email, I was - simply put, in trouble. But I wasn't completely out of luck, thanks to a bit of planning and preparation I was alright without access to the internet.

You can prepare yourself for this catastrophe by reading and using this Internet Hunger exclusive: because you never know when you could lose access to the internet, it's best to be prepared with this loss of internet preparedness kit.

Accessing Important News Headlines.

Because you will not have access to websites like CNN, FOX, and Digg, you'll need another way to access important news. If your internet is down because it's armageddon, how will you know that your internet isn't going to be turned back on?

The best way to access important news headlines when your internet is down is to own a working radio or television set. Even if you buy a radio or TV simply for this purpose, you need access to world news and this is the best way to get it without internet access.

If you want to be completely assured that you can stay up-to-date on the latest news, CNN.com offers a way for you to receive news directly to your cell phone. Which leads to the next part of the loss of internet preparedness kit...

Communicating with colleagues, friends and family.

If you have a cellphone you can use it for more than just accessing news and information from cellular stations, you can use it to keep in touch with your co-workers, friends, and family members.

It's best to prepare for this part of the kit by requesting phone numbers whenever communicating with someone via e-mail, that way, when your internet does go down, you can call to request work off, or find out what your friends are up to, or let your family know how horrible your life has become without internet access.

Because you won't have access to your email or instant messaging (or Myspace or FaceBook or LinkedIn profiles) you will have to rely on your cellular phone - or a landline phone, where available - to keep in touch with your contacts. Plan for this part of the kit now by asking your friends, family, and co-workers for the phone numbers.

Managing your schedule.

News and contacts are only a small part of internet life, if you use web-based applications to manage your schedule or events in your life, you'll need a backup plan for when you lose access to the internet.

The best way to do this is to sync any web calendars with computer or hardcopy calendars. Most computers now come with built in calendars that you can use, but if you don't have one now you can use these links to find one for your computer: Windows users can click here, Mac users click here.

By using hardcopy calendars, or calendars on your computer that don't use the internet, you can keep track of your appointments and all of those birthdays you always forget, despite your internet being down.

Expect the worst.

You can only plan ahead so much when it comes to disasters like losing internet access, so prepare as much as you can using the methods described here, and then do what you do best: expect the worst. Chances are you won't be able to access the internet again for a few days, your website or blog will lose traffic because you can't update, your parents will worry because they can no longer reach you via email, and all of your instant message buddies will disown you.

Plan ahead and don't let a loss of internet destroy your online life.

Or you can just check your internet cable connections and then try access the internet again.