Hawley’s Big Fat Experiment

April 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Posted in General | 3 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

Right now, I’m looking at the newly passed Digital Rights Bill and pondering its potential impact on myself, and my internet habits.

The reason I’m pondering is that as usual the bill seems like a knee-jerk reaction to the “evils” of the internet, and yet again there is a golden opportunity for honest, law-abiding folk to get royally screwed over.  If either of you, my dear readers, happens to be a hardcore political science student, then please feel free to correct my paranoiac fantasies.

Last night I set off the download for DnD Online.  I plumped for the 3.9gb high-res download.

Because I’m not on first name terms with my ISP (I pay my bills on time, they give me a good internet service, that’s about it.  We’re like neighbours who wave at each other and smile; we are not about to start sharing warm showers and going for brunch) I’m not sure how much downloading gaming takes up, and I’m pretty sure it’s not that large an amount, but 3.9gb is a fair chunk out of anyone’s monthly usage allowance.

Right now I pay for more than the basic 5gb that most ISPs offer as their standard package.  This is because I’m on a gaming tariff that has no traffic shaping, and seeing as I’ve been the victim of traffic shaping in the past, I’m willing to pay a bit extra to not have it happen to me again.  The side effect is that I get a mahoosive download allowance.

I have a lot of fun with my download allowance.  As well as a voracious MMO appetite, I have an Xbox and a Wii to feed; as well as downloading content and updates for various games, there is watching iPlayer on the Wii and the Sky player thingy on the Xbox.  There’s also the completely legal, paid for and everything, downloading of games through the aforementioned consoles as well as through Steam on the pc.

Never mind such moments as deciding to download and play free-to-play games from their official websites.

That’s quite a lot of downloading every month.  But my profligacy might well be at an end.

If my ISP gets to monitor and police my use of the internet, then it’s probably going to find that I look like someone who is a bad person.  If they don’t bother investigating what I’m downloading, if they only look at the amount, the rate and the methods (I’m pretty sure it’s not just Blizzard and eeeeeeeviel intarnet pirates that use peer2peer networks) of my downloading then I’m probably in trouble.

And then there’s the possibility of cloning ip addresses.  I might not even have to be naughty to get stitched up.

How do the ISPs feel about this?  Well, despite the government (in a fantastically blasé way) stating that internet access is a “human right”, I can’t help feeling that ISPs aren’t charities (it’s the fact I have to pay them that makes me wonder about their charitable status).  So the last thing they want to do is spend money employing extra staff to police their customers properly, and then lose money by warning customers off; anyone who is an eeeeeeeeviel pirate will just migrate to the next ISP in the list; anyone who is a legal, law-abiding user will move because their ip address has been cloned, and will want a new one where they aren’t liable to be taken to court at any moment.

What will I do?  Well, I’m going to start off with an experiment.  It will be called:

Can Hawley live without PC Gaming?

Yes, I shall voluntarily stop gaming for a week.  I’ll be scientific about it (or something), so I’ll stop from Sunday morning to Saturday evening.  7 days, give or take a few hours used for sleep purposes.  Not just online gaming, but no computerised games at all.  No single player gaming.  No Xbox- or Wii-flavoured methodone.  Nothing electronic;  I shall live like someone from the 1950s (only with email.  There are limits) for a week.

After that, I’ll have more of an idea of what it will be like to go cold turkey from gaming thanks to losing my “human right” to the world wide interwebs.  Maybe it will be good training for that rapidly approaching point in the future when I’m stuck using an iPassive because the internet has been locked down, and is about as much use as a television.




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  1. Didn’t this experiment happen accidentally when you moved house? I know when we moved I without interwebs for 2 weeks or so. Yes I missed the games, but more i missed the easy access to information of any kind.

    I mean:

    What’s my ISP’s phone number, so I can get internets?

    Google it..?

    Oh wait no internets…


  2. Wotcha Alex,
    Last year I did get a couple of weeks with no intarnets, but I had a number of single player games to keep the edge off, and intarnets at work.
    If the worst happened, I could rely on mobile intarnets for the infomation goodness at home, but I’m not sure gaming would be financially or technologically viable via 3g, though. Hence the (lack of) gaming experiment.

  3. Best of luck in your experiment. I know I’d go crazy without internet access.

    The only way I could survive would be to get my hands on some tv series DVD boxes and do a BSG/Lost/House/Regenesis/*insert your favourite tv soap* marathon.

    The other possibility would be to raid local library for some good sci-fi books that I haven’t read yet, which I don’t think they have since I did just that last summer when I was without internet for a rather lengthy time.

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