Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the best internet tool you're not using

Google, marry me.

I am far from being a tech-person. I leave the hooking of the stereo up to Hubby. When the computer breaks, I usually whine until he fixes it. I can do things for myself, but I prefer not to mess around with something that can probably learn to think for itself, and, when it does, will be far smarter than me.

But, my friends, but....there is this thing that Al Gore "invented" called the internet.

I'm always telling people about how I read this blog, or saw this recipe...or the other day on flickr or twitter someone did so and so...and often their eyes glaze over. I do get a lot of "how do you have time to read all that?" And that's where the title of today's post comes in.

One: I know that people get attached to their particular email, and you think "it gets mail, who cares?" Seriously, people. Seriously? Please do yourself a favor and check out a Google account. Why? You ask? Because it does so much more than Email. There are great posts about it on Simple Mom, a blog on home management, and she sums things up nicely, but basically Google is so much more than Email. You can have a calendar...and share it online. When I first saw this I thought "who would want to read my calendar?" Well, Hubby, for one...and from work at that. You can create to-do lists, manage sounds overwhelming and believe me, I didn't start utilizing a lot of what Google can do until recently. I'm a paper and pencil girl, and all that computer organization kind of made my head woozy. But I'll tell you what, I love it now.

That brings us to Two: When you get a Google account, you can set up a Google homepage (iGoogle). What is on that homepage? Well, if you're like me (at home all day), I have my computer on all day. My Google homepage is up. I have my Email, twitter, news feeds, calendar, todo list, all staring at me all day....easy to access whenever I get a spare minute away from Toast. I don't have to click and log in and navigate bookmarks to find what I's all there. You pick the things you want on it...puzzles, daily joke, what news organizations feed there...your horoscope. And you can personalize it with neat themes that make it pretty. If you're into that.

Oh, and speaking of bookmarks, here's three: Google Reader!!!!! There are a lot of readers out there, and they may all be lovely, but I have only used Google. A lot of what I'm about to gush may be true about all of them (just my disclaimer!)...
So let's say that you enjoy reading certain blogs. Like this one. And maybe this one leads you to another one that you spend two hours one night reading and then reading the archives (not that I've ever done this)...then three weeks later you remember how much you enjoyed those, but you didn't bookmark them. So you don't remember the address. Or maybe you did bookmark them, but your bookmark folder is so long and so unorganized that you spend a half an hour trying to figure it out and then give up and go find some chocolate. Not that I've ever done this. And when you do get your chocolate and get back to the page, you forget which posts you've read and which you haven't. And you give up.

Enter Google Reader. Simply put, it's an online magazine you design yourself. Sometimes at the bottom of your favorite webpages, you'll see this thing called "RSS". You think "What is that?" Well, when you pick up an RSS feed, from any available reader (and there are many, as I said before)...Google (or your reader) automatically posts the new additions to the site for you. So when you log into Google homepage, after checking your Email, you click on reader, and there are all of the things you like to read..waiting for you. If there are no new posts, you don't waste your time slogging through bookmarks. If there are 40 new posts, and you don't care, you just click "mark as read" and forget about them. This is how I keep up on all the blogs I like. Some days I can't read anything. Some days I get a three hour nap time and I can catch up on everything. It's always there waiting for me.

So what are you waiting for? Go fool around with won't be sorry!!!

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