Mon 4 Nov, 2002 04:41 pm
I was looking at a Q by Jespah. She remarked that she sends out her stock proxies online. Thinking about this, I realized that there are many practical things that we do on that net, that would have been impossible even 5 years ago.
For instance, I arranged online to have my telephone bill charged to my credit card. I get no paper bill anymore, but may access it on the Internet.
What kinds of practical things do you do online, that would have been impossible to do only a few years ago?
Ah, we pay the bills. It is, oddly enough, one of my favorite features, as it assures that the creditor gets the payment in a day and I can immediately make sure that the correct amount was taken out of the account. Plus, there are a number of bills that don't change from month to month (car insurance is one), so those are paid automatically. All we need to do is enter the information in the checkbook (we keep both Quicken and a paper checkbook, mainly because one of us has to carry the checkbook around, so that assures things are entered into it).
And before I shop, I drop in on Amazon.com for a price comparison, and the really valuable reviews written by previous buyers. It's a priceless and uninhibited data base.
I don't know if you'd call this "practical", but two things that are very useful for toddler-entertaining are the Google image search and lyric search. The sozlet will park herself in my lap and announce she wants to see a white mama cat. Zap. Applause and delight. Now, an elephant taking a bath. Zap. Etc.
And I have a zillion song fragments that I can instantly fill in the blanks with a search... "The other day/ I met a bear" (just that) went through my head this a.m., found the whole thing, sang it to her, she loved it.
Didja see the article in the NYT about having to pay to get paper bills? Grr.
My work would be much much harder without the internet. Sometimes, impossible.
I would need to have a gigantic stock of newspapers. And personnel to search, almost blindly, through them.
I would also need a library on history, philosophy and political analysis, and a great librarian to pinpoint the anecdote, the fact, the issue, the quote or the debate on that subject.
I would need a driver to send me all the published polls as soon as the pollsters have their report ready.
I wouldn't be able to browse foreign papers.
All my team would have to be in the same building, or we would have to have a messenger sending paper copies and diskettes to and fro.
And I'm still the type of person who hasn't bought or paid for a commodity via internet.
Maybe so, Phoenix, but that printout isn't going to change tomorrow. I'm never sure about some web sites and their shipping confirmations.
Okay, that's the bookkeeper in me.
Roger- Most online stores send confirmations to your E Mail. I have a box called, "personal stuff", where I keep the confirmations, until they are shipped. OK, so I also have the confirmation that I printed for my husband AND the one that I keep with the credit card bills!
I still don't do much shopping because I'm a big fan of the whole "instant gratification" thing. I like to get what a want and have it NOW! There isn't much gratification in a confirmation e-mail saying your order will be shipped in 7 to 10 days.
I've given up on buying dictionaries and encyclopedias though. The Web has become my main source for reference. I don't even keep a phonebook around the house any more. I can look up all those numbers on-line. I'm about to drop my newspaper subscription for the same reason. Search engines like Google let you find pretty much anything if you learn to select the right keywords.
I've toyed with the idea of on-line banking but my bank still hasn't offered a direct tie-in to Microsoft's Money program so I gave up on that. I did file my income taxes electroniclly this year though...
Real estate shopping in distant places has become so much easier with the net. Once we decided we'd like to retire and move in the not too far distant future, the question became where. We (i.e. I) first tried a webpage which asked many questions and then gave you a list of the best places for your to retire. Trouble is, it always came up Long Island which is, of course, where we are now. Since we definitely can't afford to retire on Long Island, I started researching on my own -- cost of living, amenities, housing prices, real estate taxes, crime rates, etc.
We started off thinking about the Eastern Shore of VA but decided after a month or two it was a little too far away from the kids. Now we've decided on the Lake Wallenpaupack area of Pennsylvania. On the web, we can check out all the local real estate pages, including multiple listings plus how far away each community is from the features we're interested in.
I remember years ago when my parents were getting ready to retire that my father would send away for real estate catalogs (Strout, I think) for all different areas. When they finally came, the info wasn't particularly current and, of course, you still had no way of knowing about the demographics of the area let alone how far away the nearest Sears store was (my husband loves Craftsman tools).
Super invention, this internet. Plus it's so much fun!
bandylu, right, that's a really useful aspect. When we were preparing to move from Madison to Pasadena, I was extremely bummed (the move was for hubby's job), looked around the Internet, and found a clickable tour of Pasadena. It cheered me up immensely -- Pasadena is much more green and homey than I'd expected of Southern California -- and I remotely identified favorite-places-to-be, which did not disappoint when I saw them in person. Really made a huge difference in my mindset.
Ooh, I found it! This is the very thing:
Internet banking and bill paying is especially usefull if you're living out of the country.
I've used it to buy many books and dvds online, I use Paypal for EBAY purchases sometimes and if I wanted could add my bank account and credit cards to paypal, and I assume pay bills and transfer money in between them all if needed. My family used to have a family group at YahooGroups with which we stayed in touch and posted pictures, etc.
RESEARCH for work:
So many fantastic Art history sites, I no longer buy them for this purpose.
... and BUY
I found this house I recently bought in the real estate listings online. Much more information than the newspaper advertisements.
1. Last year 2001 taxes on line.
2. Reserve books at the library
3. trade stock
4. Order Credit Reports
5. Transfer Payroll
6. purchase airline tickets
7. rent cars
I job hunt (alas)
I read the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" on line.
I have bought stuff on-line (I recently bought an Ohio State coffee mug and a T-Shirt).
Pay some of my bills on-line.
I'll soon be starting an on-line class.