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My Month of No Service

Two days before my birthday, I decided to officially drop my phone carrier. In its place I decided to connect with something easier. That’s right, I’m using the internet of all things as a carrier. You might think I’m odd but think again.

Even though my iPhone has “no service,” I can still text and call. In fact, I can even FaceTime or video call. Everything I did on a carrier, I can do on the internet. The only difference is my connection to the internet is limited. Let me explain my story.

It’s been over a month now since dropping my phone carrier. During the first week, I experienced a feeling of frustration towards those with smartphones. I felt like they were spoiled and addicted to their phones. To me they were “phone-addicts” and I was the normal one.

However, depending on the internet has placed me on another ground. I realized that technology, if used in a creative and productive way, can be good. For example, I didn’t give up on technology. Instead, I searched for an alternative and found it.

Of course, this is a new way to communicate, so it’s nowhere near perfection. The internet does get the job done if you can handle some of the limitations. One of the limitations is not having unlimited access while on the go.

If you are at a Starbucks or are blessed with home internet, then you can connect using your WiFi signal. In this case, the internet is unlimited. During my month of “no service”, I made several free calls by connecting to free internet hotspots at restaurants and stores.

These were normal shopping or going out trips. I didn’t go to these stores for their internet. I actually purchased essentials. Personally, I don’t think its bad to turn your WiFi on when your out and about. Sadly, there’s countless times when I’ve turned on my WiFi for a simple internet connection but only saw locked internet hotspots.

If I had an internet hotspot, I would be happy to share it with others. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where we are scared of hackers and strangers. Even connecting to a free hotspot can throw up red flags for some. That old saying “don’t talk to strangers” should read more like this “don’t connect to strangers.”

When I was unable to connect, I went to another back up plan. This plan is from T-Mobile and gives me free internet access with a sim card. This small card, about the size of a penny, shoots a signal to T-Mobile’s wireless towers and shoots an internet signal back.

The signal is not perfect, but again it does its job. With this connection and a free app, I’ve sent text messages, surfed social media sites, and read emails. There are some restrictions I put on my tablet to stop my data from burning up. The data runs in bytes, so I’ve was careful how I used bytes. Bytes? What do I mean by bytes?

Byte is digital information sent from one electronic device to another. Just like an actor in your favorite movie. When he reads a story line in a script, he’s acting out that information. Likewise, the internet uses bytes (digital information) to send to actors (in this case smartphones, tablet, anything with WiFi), so they can act out picture messages, audio, or video clips.

Knowing this, I decided to conserve my bytes by turning off my internet data consistently.  If I wasn’t using it for more than half an hour then I turned it off. The majority of my data was used on text messaging, so if I wasn’t having a text conversation then my internet would be off.

One thing I didn’t enjoy was checking my data consistently. It was a pain to keep turning on and off my internet. It became easier to leave off. Also, I felt some of the data was being burned too much. Whenever I turned the data back on, it looked like my data burned more than when I left it on.

I guess I did learn some positive things from this month though. I learned to be more patient with technology, myself, and others. Also, not having unlimited communication all the time made me look at the internet in another way. Now the internet is worthwhile and useful service in which anybody can use for a purpose.


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