How to Survive Without Internet At Home and Still Be Awesome

How to Live Without Internet At Home

I started 2013 with extremely low information diet. I was aiming to have my yearly fasting and praying but I went through the trouble of spending minimal time on the internet instead — for two weeks. To be honest it was more painful than fasting food.

What happened seems like a divine intervention. My DSL connection was completely down as well as our fixed-line telephone, and for over a week the only thing my internet service provider could tell me is that the problem was already reported and assigned to their technical group for the immediate action and troubleshooting (even though there is almost no technical support at all). For a problem to last that long, they should have prepared  a more sensible reply on what was happening. Ultimately, it was fixed… after 2 weeks.

Looking back, it seems like a blessing in disguise because now I can genuinely tell you how to survive without internet at home while keeping your sanity intact,  and still be awesome.

1. Enjoy the great outdoors

How about getting some sunlight every day until your internet is back? Stroll to the nearest park, get some snacks at your favorite food cart, go bar hopping at night or island hopping, discover local attractions,  travel to a far away place, try mountain climbing, cycling, running, swimming, snorkeling and more.

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2. Spend time with your family and friends

Single and ready to mingle? Time to do some real action instead of stalking your love interest in Facebook or just stay indoors with your parents for some cheesy mommy or daddy bonding.

Catch up with your friends by hanging out with them in person not through Google+ hang-out. It is so much better than instant message or SMS.

Married? How about dating your spouse and treating them at their favorite restaurant. If you are a parent, play with your children. Nothing is more awesome than spending quality time with your kids.

3. Learn something new

This is the best time killer when you want to pursue greatness on something. Perhaps YouTube could offer the best learning resources for guitar tutorial, cooking instructions, and other disciplines but you still have to spend a lot of time doing real work to master them. Now is that time so don\’t waste it.

4. Entertain yourself using other media

Having a cable TV subscription might be getting unpopular to younger generations but if you happen to have one with your mom then perhaps you could endure staying at home without internet simply by watching HBO series such as Game of Thrones or anything interesting to watch.

There are many alternatives for entertainment – don\’t forget FM radio, magazines, e-books and even good old print books.

5. Explore your hobbies

Have that DSLR collecting dust? Go out and practice your photography skills instead of relying heavily on Instagram filters to make great pictures.

Can\’t update your blog because you don\’t have access to the internet? You can still write your drafts on your favorite word processor or get busy thinking of interesting topics to write about once your internet access is back.

How about using your talent in Draw Something to draw something cool on real canvass this time around?

6. Go shopping

This is specially for the girls. I know my wife loves shopping. If you do, then I am sure you can easily exchange internet access to shopping experience. I enjoy window shopping gadgets but reviewing them online and reading how fan-boys troll each other is more fun.

7. Plan or execute a DIY Project

It takes time to plan a project and if you failed to plan, you plan to fail. Personal project could take  different forms for different purposes. Examples are: redecorating your living room, building a tree house and installing a home theater system — just to name a few.

Don\’t expect your next project to be successful if you didn\’t put much effort on planning and making sure you have all the right tools.

8. Get yourself busy at work

Convert your restless energy at home to productive force at work. You might impress your boss and get recognition, or simply get a few minutes to browse your favorite website when no one else is looking.

Also, spend this time escalating your internet problems to social media channels of your ISP.

Hopefully you are not working from home because if that is the case then this is not applicable for you. I work from home from time to time so you could imagine how difficult it was for me without internet access.

9. Use offline apps

I\’m glad that there are so-called offline apps. I strongly believe that for an app to be truly useful it has to offer some degree of usability when not connected to the internet even if it is meant to connect online. I\’m glad that free apps like Pocket and Pulse can cache online content for offline consumption later.

Plenty of games fall under this category but I hate that some games needs to connect to the internet before you could play them.

10. Use your mobile data plan

I strictly don\’t count mobile data plan as internet at home because not everyone has mobile data plans and not every place has good 4G connection. However if you do have a data plan it is probably limited even it was deemed \”unlimited\”. Telcos cap your bandwidth because they can. Also, having a data plan and keeping it on is like a double-edged sword. My phone\’s battery could not last a day when I use HSPA+ continuously. I could only imagine that LTE phones could easily drain battery faster.

11. Find an open or free WiFi

Here\’s the last tip but it\’s a cheat! If you know how to crack your neighbor\’s WiFi password then you have no problem surviving without internet at home — after all, you could use your neighbor\’s internet. Just kidding. Besides, it is illegal in some places. Your last resort is to ask nicely for WiFi password for temporary access if you really can\’t live without internet.

Other method involves wardriving — the act of looking for open WiFi in a vehicle. I have tried wardriving before and it is a dangerous practice if you don\’t know what you are doing. I suggest you just drop by to the nearest coffee shop to get complementary free WiFi access.

Hopefully when you follow these tips you can still be productive while your internet connection is still not available. I know that prevention is better than cure so I am now thinking of a better continuity plan to minimize my internet downtime.

Now it\’s your turn. What will you do if you have no internet access for 1 week or more? Do you think you could survive this ordeal?

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8 Blogging Lessons from Game of Thrones (Part 2)

The last episode for season 2 is just around the corner and it seems that I am already having a withdrawal syndrome just because I won’t be seeing Game of Thrones again in cable TV until next year. In the meantime I am reading A Game of Thrones, the first book of  A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin to catch up with the saga .

There are lots of lesson to learn from watching Game of Thrones and as  a blogger I thought that I share with you what bloggers can learn from Game of  Thrones.

I had to break the original post into two because it was too long. This is the second part of the post –

Read the first part here:

8 Blogging Lessons from Game of Thrones (Part 1)

Now to continue…

5. Be Part of a Community or Tribe

 When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. – Eddard Star (reference from the book)

There are many occasions in the book as well as in the TV series that one must pledge fealty or allegiance to the king. It is important to form alliance because a kingdom can\’t win a war without the support of its army and its people. If you are a lone blogger out there, there is a slim chance that people will discover your blog. You need to interact and engage with your fellow bloggers and readers.

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Some people are  in search of a movement or something to believe in.

Daenerys Targeryan was able to mobilize her tribe despite the harsh condition of the desert. The remaining Dothraki people believed in her as the Mother of Dragons and they continued to follow her wherever she will go.

It\’s human nature to be part of a group of people with same interest or goal. If you possess great talent and produce good content people will follow you when you contribute high value to the community or tribe.

 

6. Use Effective Call to Action

If Tyrion Lannister is born on the internet age, he is probably one the most successful internet marketing genius in Westeros. With wisely crafted words, he use call to action effectively like no other.

Here are  the guidelines he is using:

  • He gives tangible offer.
  • His offers are not empty words. He backs it up with good track record (A Lannister always pay his debts)
  • His offers are always relevant and timely
  • He is always willing to over-deliver offer to out-win competitors.

If you can pattern your call to action from the imp, you\’ll probably have ridiculously high conversion rate on your sales funnel.

 

7. Use A/B Testing

How do you think Tyrion found out who is leaking information to the Queen? That\’s right, by changing different variables and testing the members of the council, otherwise known as split testing or bucket testing.

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Through testing you will find out which part of your blog is performing best or worst and then you can decide if you want to improve them or eliminate them.

You might be surprised from the results.

 

8. Leverage on Available Resources Wisely

Not everyone can nurture and tame a dragon; not everyone can command a huge army. And there is a big chance that your pocket is not as deep as the Lannister\’s so you might as well use what\’s already available at your disposal. The good news is, there are many ways to win a war as there are many ways to create a successful blog.

Robb Stark might be a newbie at war but he was able to capitalize of the experience of his commanders and wits of his war council.

New bloggers are always daunted with plethora of options available and that could be a blessing in disguise. Learn from experienced bloggers. Observe how they create content and design their blogs. Know what technology they use that you can use also. WordPress is probably the best blogging tool available but there are other great options too like Blogger and Tumblr. Use what works best for you.

You don\’t even have to reinvent the wheel. Just throw in some personal branding, values you believe in, and you get a unique blog that could give your competition a run for their money . They may not even know what hit them until it\’s in front of them.

Daenerys has no army to command but 3 baby dragons and a few loyal followers. When the baby dragons grow they could prove to be  a formidable force but for now the only thing she can do is hide, train, and complain a lot while entrepreneurial people try to poach her dragons.

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Ideas are like baby dragons. You have to protect them specially at infancy stage.

Sometimes you have to risk everything just to protect your ideas until they mature. People will not believe in you until your ideas are fully developed so you must stick to your plan and just keep on going.

If you are like Dany, who only has baby dragons right now, just continue taking care of your dragons until they are ready. Continue blogging and don\’t let other people take your dragons away from you.

According to Darren Rowse, the average age of most successful blogs  was 33.8 months so if you are just starting to blog don\’t be discouraged.  You will see the fruit of success later.

One more example — the Battle of Blackwater. It is one of the most epic battle we have seen in television and probably the best in the series so far. Since I have never read the 2nd book yet, I have no expectation whatsoever from that episode. I thought they would use wildfire as catapult loads but the way they used wildfire was unprecedented .

The world needs innovators and the little trick Tyrion pulled off disrupted the plans of Stannis Baratheon.

If you have access to disruptive technology like wildfire, you should use it to your advantage.

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In the words of  Varys, \”Power resides where men believe it resides. It\’s a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.\”

No matter how small blogger you are, you can trick yourself as an influential blogger if you view yourself in a different perspective. The internet levels the playing field and even a no-name blogger can create a dent in the universe if you use your resources wisely.

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8 Blogging Lessons from Game of Thrones (Part 1)

The last episode for season 2 is just around the corner and it seems that I am already having a withdrawal syndrome just because I won\’t be seeing Game of Thrones again in cable TV until next year. In the meantime I am reading A Game of Thrones, the first book of  A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin to catch up with the saga .

There are lots of lesson to learn from watching Game of Thrones and as  a blogger I thought that I share with you what bloggers can learn from this award-winning TV series and medieval fantasy novel.

If you have not read the book or watched the series yet, there are some spoilers here but I kept it to the minimum.

1. It\’s All About Branding

All houses in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire seems to have a motto. Here are the mottos of great houses:

  • House Baratheon: Ours Is the Fury
  • House Lannister: Hear Me Roar
  • House Stark: Winter Is Coming
  • House Tully: Family, Duty, Honor
  • House Targaryen: Fire and Blood
  • House Tyrell: Growing Stronger
  • House Greyjoy: We Do Not Sow
  • House Arryn: As High as Honor

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Having motto  forces you to focus on what really matters. For example during tough times, Catelyn Stark was hard pressed to make difficult decisions. The guiding principles of House Tully provided her guidance on what she should prioritize. Family, Duty, Honor. It had always been the order.

House Stark is known for their direwolf sigil while House Lannister is know for their lion sigil. When the banner-men are waving the flags of their houses, the sigil already speaks for itself even from afar. That is how a logo speaks for itself too. A logo does not only provide identity to your blog, it also makes your readers remember you.

You may not create a motto for your blog but you should be able to describe your blog in less than 15 words for elevator pitch or simple promotions. Knowing what your blog is all about helps you create content that is targeted for your audience and it helps you promote your blog easily.

Take note that a logo or a motto does not create a brand. It\’s more than that.

 

2. Always Have a Plan

Winter is coming (House Stark motto) — it\’s a way of saying that you should always be prepared.

You probably heard the saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Despite the young age, Robb commanded an army with combined forces of Stark, Tully and Frey.  How do you think they were able to capture Jamie Lannister from the Battle of Wispering Woods? It didn\’t happen by chance. Eddark Stark had been grooming Robb to be his replacement.

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Building a blog is like building a castle. If you know that winter is coming, you should be prepared to protect it at all times and be ready to conquer new territories in order to expand.

You should always try to make your blog relevant. Adapt to the needs of your readers.

Everyone knows that mobile is the buzzword these days and there are different studies pointing to that direction. So did you make your blog mobile friendly already? Social media is all around us. You can\’t deny its existence. Do you have social media plan, even a simple one? How can you keep on posting all year round? If you wish to join the ranks of the best blogs among your niche, you must be consistent. Do you have an editorial calendar to keep good ideas flowing?

How many times Google had changed algorithm? How many times must you follow Google\’s lead? If Google removes your blog from the first page of search results, can you still survive? You probably can\’t rely on just one strategy, do you? If you plan ahead, you can prepare alternate route for fall back to save you from complete wipe out when the odds turn against you. Manage your risk or risk will manage you.

 

3. Protect Your Blog

The Wall stretches for 300 miles and is about 700 feet high according to the TV adaptation and in the books.  The Wall is not there just for decoration. It was allegedly built using both magic and mundane means some thousand of years ago to defend the realm from what  are lurking beyond the wall — shadowcats, giants, ghouls, wild tribes and even White Walkers.

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Even Night\’s Watch gets fresh recruits every now and then to replenish the ranks and they have positions called builders, assigned to maintain the Wall in its pristine condition. If you are protecting a realm of blogs, I strongly believe you should do the same. Always update your blogs and backup.

If you are using WordPress and you can\’t backup your blog by yourself, you can hire someone or use services like VaultPress or BackupBuddy to have a peace of mind.

Last year I wrote about popular and best WordPress security plugins so you may want to check that out, too.

 

4. Think Before You Click

Most characters in Game of Thrones acts so quickly but thinks so slowly that they don\’t think through the consequences of their actions first.

How many times this happened in real life? You had a heated argument with a competitor online and started to throw nasty words on Twitter at each other. Then you realize  later you had acted on your emotions but you already sent the tweet to thousands of your followers and the tweet went viral. It reached your boss and he didn\’t like how you acted foolhardy.  The next morning you were jobless. You broke the social media policy of your company.

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Lady (the direwolf) should still be alive if Sansa did not lie about the direwolf incident with Joffrey and Arya.

The stubborn Viserys should have not suffered ill fate if he only used a little bit more patience and respect. He got what he wanted though — a gold crown — albeit in a form and fashion he least expected.

Jon Snow might have been dead by now when he planned to abandon his oath from the Night\’s Watch when the bad news about this father reached him. Thanks to his Night\’s Watch brothers, they were able to convince him to go back.

It\’s crazy how these young characters acted so carelessly.

With the internet and the notion of online anonymity, it\’s easy to defame one person or another. If you don\’t follow any social media policy on your day job, it\’s easy to forget that you are responsible not only for yourself but also for the company you work for. But even if you don\’t follow one — even if you only work for yourself — when you are writing a blog post, make sure that you are always objective when you are reporting a fact. Do not invent details or misquote people. Opinion is good in making a statement but you still have to back it up with facts and not sensualize it with gossips.

In the words of Cercei Lannister:  When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die; there is no middle ground.

Make sure that everything you do is based on your conscious choice, not swayed by emotions. Be proactive. Be responsible on whatever you do.

Read the second part here:

8 Blogging Lessons from Game of Thrones (Part 2)

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