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INTERNET SHUTDOWN USA

Posted 04-19-2008 at 04:49 PM by MenuBar Memorial

A Basic Survival Guide - by Agnes Jane Coxhucker, BFD Analyst

Everybody's heard by now about the plans to close down the internet for vital updates to the infrastructure. You can already feel the initial reverberations; websites loading slower, browser crashes, periodic IP outages, etc. Now's the time to start preparing for whatever is to come. But all is not as bad as it may sound.


Agnes Jane Coxhucker, BFD Analyst

Since we don't know how long the outage will last, or even the geographical extent of the blackout, most of what you read today is supposition and hearsay. The aging dARPAnet structure is still indeed the backbone to all internet communications in the US and in dire need of modernization after all these years. If we are to keep up with the rest of the world in terms of internet connectivity, we need to rebuild at the very center.

The major question is, how important to the structure of the internet is dARPAnet today? It is the common opinion that every ISP in the United States is essentially tied into the network, so a shutdown in the very core would probably affect the entire United States and possibly as far reaching as Canada and Mexico. Nobody knows how long the outage will last or how "world-wide" the WWW will be once it returns.

A coast-to-coast internet outage may not be as bad as it sounds. Of course, many internet related services will be on-hold for the duration. People with internet enabled alarms in their homes and businesses will need to replace them temporarily with manually controlled units. Shipping and deliveries will need to be handled over the phone. Companies that depended upon sending files electronically will need to use the old "SneakerNet" method; hiring local couriers or by mailing the files on disks. This will painfully slow down the work of advertising companies and insurance sales, but most others won't even notice.

Web browsers will still work. Although you won't be able to connect to any on-line sites, many people already know that you can use them as an image/PDF viewer or to view sites that have already been downloaded to your hard-drive. One way companies might cope in this transitory time would be to manually mail out disks to customers with copies of their web sites on the disk for easy viewing off-line. Many of the popular and trendy social networking sites should probably have already instructed their users on how to save their sites offline so they can view them later.

All the major web browser companies are currently working to make offline compatible upgrades to their browsers. Not everybody will upgrade (as we all know "upgrade" means slower, less compatible and more bugs), but those who do upgrade will enjoy the extra features included in the new browsers. One of the promised options would be the ability to rent video disks from your local video rental store which will play right in the new browsers - without the need for installing plug-ins or players!

Most of your favorite games and programs will still work just fine. We will always be able to use MS Word, PowerPoint and spreadsheet programs. Graphic and video production tools will still work just fine for the creative pros, and the kids will always be entertained by the massive assortment of games available with single-player options.

As Americans, we might find it hard to imagine a whole country's internet being disabled for any amount of time, much less on the possible scale of years, but in actuality, internet usage is just one aspect of what computer users do, and I don't think it will make as much of an impact as people are led to believe.

All rights reserved. INTERNET SHUTDOWN USA© 2008. All these opinions expressed here are not the opinions of anybody who cannot undeniably claim them as untrue whether true or false or not. This message should be copied or transmitted without the written consent of the answer man and proof of such writing in any non-written format without the due oversight of at least two victims. Not to be used as a flotation device.
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