A Week Around the Web

I don’t have any devices with apps on them – I still read websites on a laptop. I bookmark my favourites and don’t use an RSS reader. I am starting to feel like a Luddite!

Today I will tell you about my daily and weekly trips around the Internet. This may be the end of an era: I am hoping that the rumoured mini iPad will be released soon, and I am on board for that – which will bring me into the app age.

Every day I check news, blogs and personal email several times. Everything else I check once or twice a week – even Facebook!

First, I want to know “What’s going on in the world?” My go-to source is Canada’s online newspaper, The Globe and Mail. While it is Toronto and Ontario-based, I still find it the best source for Canadian news and trends. Starting this coming week, it will be subscription-based! I am waiting to hear if I’ll be able to access it free through the public library, and if not, I will need to subscribe for $20/month, about the same price as getting my local print newspaper delivered.

I also check The Guardian or BBC because I like their coverage of EU and international news. In general, I prefer newspaper sites for news, rather than TV/media sites like CNN or MSN, because newspapers see the world through the lens of a particular place. I occasionally read the New York Times or Sydney (AUS) newspaper sites for other perspectives.

I have a desktop weather application which I check if anything I’m doing is weather-dependent. But usually it’s not!

When I have a few extra minutes at work, I catch up on tech news and science news. To cheer myself up on breaks, I go to Cute Overload!

I read lots of personal finance blogs, but when it comes to web sites, I am addicted to financial makeover stories. The very best ones are in Moneysense magazine. The Globe and Mail has run Financial Facelift on Saturdays for ages, and the National Post has its Family Finance articles. You will see that all the sites deal mainly with high-middle income families with huge mortgages and crazy monthly expenditures, but I still enjoy them immensely.

I am still using off-line software to track my own spending. Maybe at some point I’ll switch over to Mint. I do, of course, use online banking and check my accounts regularly.

I work in a public library that has a big computer lab. Every day I work with lots of people who are new to Internet use. One of the biggest problems for new users is that when they turn the library computer on, they expect the desktop to look exactly like the computer they learned on (at a friend’s house, at their old job, etc.) Likewise, when they open an Internet browser, they are confused if the home page is not the one they’re used to. For most people, that is their online email home page, such as MSN or Yahoo. A lot of people don’t know how to log into their own email, or don’t know their user name and password, because their kid set it up for them to log on automatically!

I have 3 email accounts: one personal, one I use for all commercial transactions such as online shopping and free downloads, and one for this blog. The commercial one is a Yahoo account, so I sometimes get sucked into their chatty “news” and celebrity gossip. I just make sure not to watch any video clips because then I’d be there all day! If I were serious about not wasting time on personal email, I would use only gmail, because it has clean screens with no distractions!

I like connecting with Facebook for this blog, but otherwise I am not a daily user. I would describe myself as a Facebook lurker. I like to know what’s happening in my friends’ lives, but I don’t post much myself. I think it’s because I need to maintain a lot of privacy about my work – I can’t be talking about customers or employees! – and I don’t want to infringe on my child’s privacy either. That leaves only myself to talk about, and I’d rather do that here on the blog  🙂 Needless to say, posting even more often on Twitter does not appeal.

What I like most about the Internet is being able to find a community of like-minded folks. My very first blog was a brief stint on Friendster! My first successful blog was on Mog. They are now a music streaming subscription service, but they used to be a music blog community. I must say I do miss that community terribly. After the site changed focus, a number of users formed their own group on Multiply, but then Multiply developed an online shopping focus! So now the ex-Mog people have a couple of music-related groups on Facebook. After exchanging posts and comments with Moggers for 3 years, those people became my real friends. Plus, I met my spouse through Mog!

Nowadays I keep up on new music mainly through Pitchfork and Stereogum, and through Facebook feeds like NME. When I hear about new bands, I try to find songs I can stream online, or watch their videos on YouTube. When I find a keeper, I buy albums through iTunes. It seems like a looong time ago that MySpace was the music source of choice!

In my area, there are three main concert ticket sites and I subscribe to all of them by email to get advance notice of upcoming shows. I have accounts with stored credit card details so I can order tickets immediately without wasting precious time on inputting personal data. We go to a lot of shows! I’ve been offline most of this week because we’re attending the Halifax Pop Explosion every night.

I am not a big online shopper, just because I’m not much of a shopper in general. I prefer to buy local, but I order unique items through web sites, especially for gifts. (Where else but online could I have found a Revolutionary Girl Utena signet ring?) I have Paypal and Ebay accounts “just in case,” but I’m not an online seller anywhere. I also have an email subscription to my local Freecycle – I haven’t picked up anything yet, but after my latest declutter, I will be offering stuff up.

I tried for a while to find good grocery coupons online, but as you may know, the coupon scene in Canada is meagre, and it’s almost all for cleaning and personal care products, rather than food. Plus I am a food snob and buy very little packaged food!

Speaking of food, I certainly do find bucket-loads of recipes I want to try online, I have a recipes bookmark folder, and I actually do get around to making quite a few recipes. I cook enough now that I can adapt recipes to my tastes easily, unless I am learning a completely new technique.

My online life is a bit lacking in fun stuff like Pinterest and Polyvore – or Farmville!

Finally, there are tons of online “look-up” sources I use, such as Wikipedia for basic information on new topics, the library for finding books and placing them on hold, and a time zone/calendar site.

I have used a few older sites for media storage, such as Mediafire and Scribd, but I still have a 1T networked backup drive!

So that is my online life. Nothing seedy or shocking, I’m afraid. But life pre-Internet is unimaginable now!

I’d love to hear about your favourite web sites – or apps – and your biggest time wasters!

The Internet, brought to you by Tim Berners-Lee


  1. SarahN

    I’m holidaying, so my commenting will be diminished, but love that you read my humble city’s newspaper! Looking forward to checking some of your preferred sites when I get back to the mouse wheel!

  2. I have 3 email accounts, as well. And I categorize them for different purposes, too. Sometimes, though, I’ll totally forget to check one of them for a few days. If it’s my personal account, that really irks some friends and family!
    In this age, there is so much out there to choose from. And I think that’s what we need to do — choose! Most of us only have so much free time in a day to browse sites, read news, catch up on everyone we’ve ever met. I try to limit myself both in hours spent and in which social media I use. Otherwise, nothing would ever get done in my “real life”.

    • I read a great quote this week: “It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure.” It’s a given that we are inundated with information, but it’s up to us to filter it and screen it and decide what and how much is relevant. You are so right! Definitely need to make smart choices about Internet and information use.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: