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Tips For “Surviving” Without Home Internet

Update - 4/20/17 - We still have no options for internet here.  BUT, thankfully, Verizon now offers unlimited data!!  I use my phone as a hotspot, as described below, and it works wonderfully.  It's faster than the internet we've had here in the past too.  The only thing we have not yet figured out is how to get Netflix on the big tv in the living room..  but we haven't really had time or inclination to work to hard at that, at this point.  

1. Use your phone as a hotspot.  I was impressed by how easy it is to connect my laptop using my phone.  Just remember to plug your phone in, it will drain your battery fairly fast.  On my phone (Samsung Note 5, Verizon Network) I simply chose “Mobile Hotspot” from the drop down menu, and followed the instructions.  After the key was added to my laptop, for future use all I had to do was click on the mobile hotspot button and my laptop automatically connected, as it does to any other saved wifi hotspot. 

2.      2. Know where the local free Wifi is.  For me, in Watsontown PA, I’m finding our local libraries, and The Well (At Christ Wesleyan Church) to be the best options so far.  But my moms house is also an option I took advantage of this week. Panera & Sheetz also have free wifi.  Our local Sheetz (Lewisburg) was sooooooooo slow, I left and went to the library instead.  This map may help, but it did not show our local libraries, so it's not a full list - 

        3. Download Netflix while on wifi.  This is a new option – you can download Netflix shows while on wifi, to watch when you do not have wifi.  This is also going to be great for long flights and while traveling in general… (Link to how to use Netflix on wifi)

             Update to the latest version of Netflix in the iTunes or Google Play app store.
 It needs to be a version that was launched on or after November 30, 2016.

Open Netflix on the device you wish to store content on.

Tap the menu button on the top-left side of the Netflix application.

Tap “Available for Download” in the list on the left side of the screen.
If it’s a movie or TV show, look for the download button.
( It’s a small arrow facing down to a flat line. Tap that.)

Once you have movies and TV shows downloaded, you’ll be able to access and stream them even when you don’t have a connection. 


        4. Keep a to do list for when on Wifi.  When I am on wifi, I don’t want to waste too much time.  So I keep a list of what I need to do.  Updates are pretty automatic, but I do check my phone to make sure I don’t have to authorize any updates before they occur.  I have my phone photos set to back up on google photos when I’m on wifi, so that happens automatically too.  But I need to be reminded to download new books to my phone, check the latest shutterfly deals, upload photos, etc.  I keep an entire folder on my laptop for when I am on wifi.  It has subfolders for blog posts I’ve written and will post when online, for photos I want to upload to facebook, and a notepad to do list of things I want to research and download while online.
      5..Use spotify.  Yes, it costs, but it also saves a lot for our family.  We can download our playlists to play offline.  Our data usage dropped significantly with the family subscription to spotify.

6.       6. Use an offline newsreader.  I'm currently trying Pocket - it has an app for android and an extension for chrome

7.       7. Make sure of facebooks “Saved Articles” feature.  Rather than reading every article that sparks your interest, save them for later.  Then when online, open the articles you have saved and save them to an offline newsreader.


My biggest inconvenience so far is my limited access to  I’m not truly limited, I can use my phone as a hotspot – but I feel like I should limit that.  At a time of year when I usually spend a LOT of time on genealogy, this feels like a huge inconvenience, yet it’s probably a blessing in disguise.  I’m planning out trips to genealogy libraries in our area, most of which have free wifi, and I plan to make my rounds.  I can spend a day using both the wifi, and all of the resources in their libraries, for a little gas money and usually a $5 a day fee – and it will get me out to libraries I haven’t visited in awhile, where hopefully I will find more resources.


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