Every year we grow more and more dependent on the Internet. But would you know what to do if your connection suddenly went down... No one knows when the Internet will fail. It could happen at any time, leaving you bereft of your e-mail, your sports scores, and your Blogs. Therefore, it's important that you and your family have a contingency plan for just such an emergency. If your connection to Cyberspace were to ever get severed, you should at least be prepared. We have included a few key points that should assist you if that were to happen. 1. Panic... An excited, agitated state will give you that heightened sense of awareness and will increase your thought processes allowing you to come up with rational solutions. Panic is just nature's way of putting your body into over-drive. It's a defense mechanism that gives you an edge when dealing with potentially harmful situations, such as a severed arm or the loss of your Internet. 2. Find A Telephone... Do you have access to a telephone line. Early computers connected to the Internet using a dial-up device along with a hardware device known as a "modem." Since this technology is obsolete, it will be of no use to you. Instead, use your telephone to call your friends to see if their connection is also down, as you will have lost the ability to send an email or an instant message. You can also use a telephone to call 911, an emergency service that will first tell you to calm down, and then will send out specially-trained technicians to find the source of the Internet's failure. 3. Use Your Back-Up Computer... It's always good to have an emergency laptop handy, in case you need to harry over to a buddy's place where the Net is still up. If there is still no Internet at that location, at the very least you could connect to a small network or LAN (Less-than Adequate Network). Laptops can also be placed on tables at coffeeshops, while you sit around with a latte, nervously waiting for your connection to be restored. 4. Install A Game... In emergency situations, installing a single-player computer game can occupy your down-time. While it won't replace the adrenaline rush of intense networked multiplayer action provided by the Internet, a quick game of Sim City or Flight Simulator may distract you long enough for your connection to return. 5. Perform Routine Maintenance... While programs such as Norton Antivirus have removed most of the tedium of computer system maintenance, nothing could help pass the time faster than cleaning out your hard drive, emptying your cache, or organizing your celebrity fake porn collection. Take the time to stare at your screen while you perform a defragmentation. The time will literally fly while you barely notice your separation from the Internet. 6. Turn On A Television Or Radio... Televisions, strange boxes that sit in your parents' living rooms, were once used to provide entertainment, long before DVDs and Playstations were invented. Televisions have the capability of broadcasting streaming information similar to the content on multimedia websites. With a "remote control," a wireless device that is like a small one-handed keyboard, you may be able to surf a limited number of "channels," while you deal with the loss of your connection. Unfortunately, television is only a one-way media. In ancient times, radios were also used to entertain. A radio allowed you to listen to news, sports, and music, much the same way that you listen to live streaming audio on a Shoutcast server. Like the television, a radio will only have a limited selection of listening stations, and no video. Hopefully your separation from the Internet will be brief. 7. Read... People in pre-Internet times used to read "books" and "magazines", written materials once created in printable format to pass the time. Some e-books are still available on paper, and may offer a short-term solution until your power is back and your broadband is restored. If reading is not an option, as a last resort, you may wish to try doing "chores," or try your hand at cooking. While these activities cannot replace the Internet, they may be able to make the down-time a little more tolerable. 8. Go Outside... The idea of leaving your workstation may seem a little extreme, but you can perform errands that you normally get parents or spouses to do: grocery shopping, drycleaning, etc. Leaving your dorm room, basement, or above-garage apartment suite, may be risky, but again, the time may afford an effective distraction from your Internet woes. NOTE: Be careful to avoid the sun, because your pasty white skin will not be used to the exposure. 9. Spend Time With Your Spouse... Communicating with your wife or girlfriend may seem like a radical suggestion, but the time investment may offer long-term rewards. Spending any amount of time talking about your "relationship" may free up more Internet time for you later on, when your ADSL or Cable link to the World Wide Web has been restored. WARNING: These will probably be the longest hours of your life. 10. Use Your Emergency AOL Disk... If you find that your connection to the Internet is going to be longer than you can possibly stand, as a last resort, pull out an emergency AOL CD, the one with 910 free hours of connection to the AOL service. Take the CD in one hand...and slash it across your wrist! Suicide will probably be a better alternative than connecting to that service. Hopefully some of these Internet alternatives will be able to assist you during an offline crisis. Emergency radio broadcasts will likely advise you of the state of the Internet and be able to predict when your bandwidth will be restored, but remember to have an emergency plan in case your digital detachment is longer than you expect.