How long would the devices you use day-to-day survive without internet access?

We live in an internet-saturated world, so that question might feel silly.

“My devices are basically always connected to the internet; why would I care how long they could last without it?”

But, there are a few reasons that might be worth thinking about it.

There are lots of situations where having a device and software that is still useful offline can prove to be really valuable.

Think of, say, a natural disaster or other emergency where the internet is out for a period of time… Or a situation where you’re camping/traveling away from data and want to still be creative on your devices… Or maybe you just want to get offline for a period of time for some extra mental clarity, but you still want to be able to be productive while disconnected from the internet.

It’s kinda shocking how many devices and apps these days require an internet connection on a pretty regular basis to just keep functioning. They need to verify your account, to confirm that you’re still “allowed” to use your software, or they need to just “phone home” back to the “mother ship” for one reason or another. Many of these apps or devices will just stop working in pretty key features after a period of time without internet access.

(As a specific example, if you’ve downloaded a movie to your tablet on your Netflix app, your tablet isn’t allow to be disconnected from the internet for more than a few weeks before the movie will simply be deleted from your device. 🤯 )

That silly and annoying. Personal computers were game-changing revolutions that worked really well long before the internet came along.

The idea of a similar level of basic functionality from our devices today when they don’t have internet seems like a reasonable request.

That’s one of the reasons I don’t tend to use apps like Notion for my personal notes – which, at the time I tried it, required an internet connection to be able to use. For me, basic (and often mission critical) features like notes working well with or without an internet connection is something I see as vital. Offline-first options like Neovim/VimWiki, Markor, or Obsidian seem like much better defaults, even if they might not share all the same features with their online-only alternatives.

In the best case, that added resilience is comforting to me. In the worst case, having been purposeful about setting up your tech with an “Offline-First Computing” paradigm may end up being really important, if you’re left without the internet for a long period of time…

In most cases, though, I simply find that having a device that is still useful even when the cafe’s internet is AWFUL was worth the effort of making sure my devices are set up to work really well while offline! 😄

Written for you while disconnected from the internet. 🫶🏽