I love having internet access. I was thinking today how much it enables me to get so much done, to investigate things, to learn and enjoy. I'm sure every user of it has a different collection of favorite websites that they visit, and who knows just how much more we could get done if we availed ourselves of all that was there for our particular needs, but we just don't know the resources that we have at our fingertips.
Years ago, when the internet first came out, I had it already condemned in my mind as a place of evil, that there was so much filth available that I didn't want access to it in our home. So for years we went without. Then we attended a Missions conference in Vancouver, BC, and at one of the missions exhibits, a man spoke with me about its usefulness in just being able to communicate with people the world over by e-mail at a touch of a button. He described the internet as being like a big city--there are streets you know are safe, and there are streets you don't go down because of the dangers that lurk there. So we signed up for it, and since then we've been hooked. I thought I'd share a smidgen of the ways I use the internet, and hope that this listing might make your internet use a bit more useful.
I blog, as you obviously know. Go to blogger.com and start your own blog! I recommend it. Studying the Bible, as I often need to look up a verse for my blogging or for other purposes, I go to biblegateway.com. Blueletterbible.com is probably more excellent in the surrounding aspects of Bible study. If I need to know the meaning of a word, I go to dictionary.com, and there are various aspects of word study that I can do there. For an antique dictionary that contains biblical reference, I go to cbtministries.org/resources/webster1828.htm.
My favorite search engine is google.com, which I think might be because it's so catchy and easy to type, but whatever, I like it.
If Tim wants to watch a movie, I look it up on christianitytoday.com/movies or christiananswers.net to find a Christian review before he watches it. It has spared us a lot of grief in watching nasty movies. If I want secular information on a movie, I go to imdb.com (internet movie database).
I listen to Christian radio shows any time of the day or night, even if they're not on local radio, by going to oneplace.com--and I can download them to my mp3 player. I also go directly to our local Christian radio station websites and can play them live from our computer--which means I could access any station the world over. I read magazine articles without purchasing magazines (I hardly ever buy one) by going to their websites. If I want to check some books out of our library, I go to their website (for us it's sno-isle.org) and browse through their online listing of books or videos, reserving any I want. Then when I go in, all that are available are on a shelf waiting for me. It's so nifty, I love it!
I find recipes by going to allrecipes.com. I find ways to fix things at diynetwork.com. I find medical advice by going to mayoclinic.com. If I want to know where an item is cheapest in our area, I go to pricingcentral.com, mysimon.com, bizrate.com...(found them on google). If I want to know the hours or location of a store, I can look online.
If I need an address, I go either to whitepages.com or yellowpages.com. I can find how to get to someone's house or other destination, or how many miles it is to someplace, by going to mapquest.com. If I want airline tickets, I can go directly to the airline without needing a travel agent. If I want to know what the weather is likely to be, I go to weather.com, and I can even get an hour-by-hour and a 10-day forecast there...and not just for where I am, but most cities with which I might have any connection. If I want to know how our time zone compares with another, I go to timeanddate.com and it clarifies what can be a rather confusing subject. For outdoor websites, such as for hiking and outings, a google search will turn up parks.wa.gov and various related sites. I remember when we were looking for the church we attend now, I found the map and phone number for it online too.
For job search, we've used monster.com, careerbuilder.com, hotjobs.com, medzilla.com...also found specific companies and recruiters by using google. We also go to specific corporations and check out their employment links. Gary has an e-mail that is devoted to his job search, because he gets a lot of junk mail and besides, it's easier to keep things sorted out away from family e-mail. It works well to do it this way.
I like looking at real estate websites, and my favorite is realtor.com though I also like zillow.com, redfin.com, and trulia.com. I look at hgtv.com for ideas on how to fix up our house, and will be looking closer at all their articles on how to make a house more appealing when it comes time to sell--and then again at articles regarding being a smart homebuyer as well.
Back when we thought we were going to move to Colorado (before we found the church that again anchored us into the area), I did a lot of research regarding what that area's like, even finding that it and our current location are almost the exact same distance from Katie's college. I looked at the real estate websites, and also the tourism ones. I still think it would be fun to investigate Colorado. I don't think we'll move there, though.
If I want to research a bill going through the state legislature, or give input to my state legislators, I can go to leg.wa.gov. For federal legislation, go to thomas.loc.gov. These also have other helpful related links. Focus on the Family has citizenlink.com, a website connected with its magazine regarding legislative and other community issues, and Family Research Council, at frc.org, is a reputable Christian organization with the same focus. Sometimes also I've gone directly to a corporate website to give them input regarding objectionable commercials. Just today I found out that the President's Council on Physical Fitness is putting on the First National President's Challenge, encouraging Americans to be more physically active--and their website is presidentschallenge.org--sign up by April 3. (It's not that I'm so athletically minded--I hope to get inspired there.) At MSN's money website (found it on google) I found out today on a life expectancy calculator that I am expected to live to age 84. Sounds alright to me, I think, but maybe I can be healthier for those years, or live longer, if I walk more.
So there you have a little picture into how much can be done online. It's good for rounding out (or slimming down?) or simplifying a person's life. Of course, you probably already knew that, or you wouldn't have found my blog. Ha. Well, may God bless you in all of it anyway. And of course, stay on the safe streets, will you?