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Culture

An unwilling Internet hunger fast

Sometimes I don't want to be offline as much as I may pretend to want it.

I've been meaning for a long time to try to take a vacation from Internet access. Like many others, I've become a bit enslaved to the convenience of an always-on lifestyle.

Well, the past few days life - or, rather, Las Lenas Ski Resort - has imposed upon me a monastic life without the web.

I hated it.

I've been skiing here with Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu), and I think we both found it charming at first when the hotel's Internet connection went down. "We're roughing it!" we laughed.

Not for long. As a snow storm blew in, the hotel's satellite Internet connection went down. Two days later, it's still down. Compounding the problem, the chairlifts are also shut down due to avalanche danger. This would be the time for long talks and strategic insights. Instead, it's the equivalent of a constant stream of "Nicotine fits," except the web is the drug.

Yes, I am pathetic, but there's more to this craving than simply a desire to blog, though I admit that is strong. August is my company's end of quarter, so one of the only reasons I was willing to take off three days was that I assumed I'd be able to respond to customer inquiries while away. It turns out that this has become very hard to do in a web-free world.

It's now Saturday and we made a sprint to get beyond the storm so that we could luxuriate in the 14 kbps connection that our phone's modem signals provide. As I watched the RSS feeds trickle in and the email squeeze out, it was like I had been suffocating for days and only now was able to gulp in life-giving air.

Oddly enough, it may well be the opposite. I may be sucking in the very air that will soon prove so noxious to me. For the moment, I just don't care. Just give me the web.