The information hit me hard, almost not understandable. What did that service rep just say? No internet for almost two weeks? Really? I had her repeat the installation date again. Yup, no internet for two weeks. Wow.
We were moving into our new apartment in a couple of days, but, my face scrunched up trying to swallow the concept, no internet for two weeks. I even tried Googling "no internet," but only found people having trouble connecting to their internet service, which 'did' still exist. Ours however, I repeated it again so it would sink in, would not exist for two weeks. Uhg!
We are pretty much wire-cutter type people, we stream Netflix and other sites for our entertainment and news. We are not the type who have something going in the background all the time. My first thought was "I'm going to have lots of time for local projects, digitally speaking."
Since there would be no internet radio and we probably don't own an 'actual' radio , I pulled out my external media drive and copied hundreds of songs from my digital library over to the laptop. My external drive is old and noisy and takes up room on my desk. Hmm, this is sounding familiar. Anyway, moving them to the laptop works nicely.
I forget how easy this is in iTunes. From the Finder I browse through the folders full of songs and copy selections. Then command-tab to iTunes where the VO cursor is already in the correct playlist and paste the selections into the window. Then flip back to the Finder and copy some more. There, just over five hundred should get us through, favorites of my wife's and myself. From Madonna to Moody Blues, from Aretha to Zeppelin and everything in between. We would have to visit a classic and oldies rock internet station to hear these same favorites online.
What about my podcasts? We still have internet for another day or two, so I spent a bit of time online. I was looking for new releases and archives of my favorites to begin downloading. These include, but are not limited to :
AppleVis of course, to pick up any I haven't yet heard.
Maccessibility, always a good listen.
IAccessVO, another must listen.
The Mac Observer's Daily Observations, also check out the ACM and MacGeekGab podcasts. You can pretty much get any Apple news that actually matters at the TMO web site.
TED Radio Hour : NPR.
A journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, and new ways to think and create. Based on riveting TEDTalks from the world's most remarkable minds.
Star Talk Radio. Hosted by astrophysicist & and Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson. Where science, pop culture and comedy collide.
Another treat in iTunes, when browsing through my Podcasts lists I noticed many of the past episodes were already downloaded, some were ones I just downloaded again. I put the VO cursor on one that I still wanted and pressed 'Control-Option-Shift-M' to pop up the contextual menu. Then chose 'show in Finder'. This opened a folder full of past downloaded episodes, plus put me in the iTunes directories. I could copy and paste into the desktop folder where I am accumulating everything for off-line viewing. I ended up with over two hundred episodes this way. After listening, I delete the episodes by trashing the file in the Finder.
I normally use iTunes or the Podcasts app for listening to my podcasts. However, trying this without internet was becoming a battle with dismissing dialogs telling me repeatedly that I am not online. Rather than temporarily changing my settings for these apps, I decided to use one of my favorite media player apps, Quicktime Player. I find the podcast I want to enjoy in the Finder, press Control-Option-Shift-M, go down to the 'Open with' submenu, and choose Quicktime Player. I especially like the ability to fast forward or rewind in scrub mode, listening while I find my place. One can press the fast-forward and rewind buttons several times to cycle through different levels of speed. Press the Play/Pause button to stop and start the track.
Quicktime Player does much more than simply play media. It also allows for video, audio or even screen recordings. If you use a laptop, Quicktime uses the built in camera and mic easily. It uses the built in mic when recording the screen as well.
Another thing I wanted to download while we still had internet, some novel sized fiction reading. I searched for "novel book text fiction free download" and found many sites where complete stories were available. There were often several formats from which to choose. I went for the text versions, they take up less room and I can easily read through them with VoiceOver. These are entire stories, I have twenty five full novels downloaded, many of which I will eventually read. A couple of good sites are...
Baen Books free library. Mostly fiction on this link.
Free ebooks - Project Gutenberg, top 100 download lists.
I like the text versions, they open into TextEdit and I can use the 'Read All' command Control-Option-a, to read through them. I press Control by itself to pause or resume speaking. For a home-made bookmark I enter "****" on a line of it's own. Then use VO-f to start from there next time. I delete my special mark before continuing, then enter it again when needed.
Did I mention that I may have digital hoarder tendencies? I did not come anywhere near using all the media I had accumulated. We used the music library several times and still do, it's very nice to have a shuffled list of hundreds of songs to help break up the day.
I listened to about twenty of the podcasts, maybe I'll get to the others before they are obsolete. Maybe not.
I've read one of the novels and started another. Twenty-three to go. :-)
Oh well, I may have gone a bit overboard, but I found several additional ways to access the online world - offline. I guess in the long run, doing without internet wasn't as bad as I had imagined. With the business of moving into a new residence, adapting to a new environment and several ongoing projects on the digital burners, I barely had time to notice that there was no internet.
Life has a way of keeping things interesting. At our previous address, I had good internet but no cell service. Then we move. For two weeks, we have decent cell service but no internet. Never a dull moment! :-)
I know, it's true. All of our cool digital stuff that we work with, play with and enjoy, is all about "Living." Live well!
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