Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why I Love the Internet

How did we ever live without the Internet, and who could have predicted what an integral part of our lives it would become?

I leave my computer on all the time because the Internet has become my constant companion. This week alone I used the Internet as my research assistant, my recipe helper, my kitchen counselor, my clipping service, my secretarial aide, and my entertainment committee.

Let me explain...


Last night at 9 p.m., my husband explained that he had invited six people over for dinner tonight. They're from Israel, and a few of them eat according to the rules of kosher. Okay, I knew that serving pork or shrimp was out. But what could I cook to avoid mixing meat and dairy? Then I had an idea: I'd serve salmon! David and I went online, and YES! that works. (No, I don't have a kosher kitchen, but our friends assured us that as long as we adhered to the meat/dairy thing, they could, indeed, eat at our home.)


Next, I discovered that the second page of my best salmon recipe had gone missing in the move. I went online, typed in the URL, and here's what we're having for dinner Crispy Salmon with Risotto and Slow-Roasted Tomatoes.


But how on earth do you clean leeks? Inquiring minds want to know. Back to the computer, and here's the video How to Clean Leeks.


As for the clipping service? Years ago, if you wanted to know what the media was saying about anyone or anything, you hired a clipping service. People read the print media with scissors in hand and cut out any articles relating to you or your interests.

Not any more. Today we have "google alerts," and it's a smart idea for anyone in business or with a public presence to put an alert on his/her name.

I have no idea how this happened, but a photo of me and my husband wound up on this website, Broadway to Vegas. Scroll down and look at the right side. I'm doing something incredibly impolite...I'm pointing. It'll be a long time before I do that again! Ever! Anywhere!

And I guess I won't be joking about not knowing Mandarin, either.


I don't even know who was listening in!

But whoever it was, got the name of my book right. Gotta love them for that!


All of us Killer Hobbies Blog Sisters are working on a project together. We were having trouble exchanging files. So Mitch, who has since been officially designated as "my assistant" by my husband, suggested we all use Google Docs.

Voila! The problem is solved!


Once in a while, I need a smile. I went to You Tube, where I watched my friends at Apollo Piano Moving hauling our 1,100-pound, 9-foot Steinway Grand into the Chinese Embassy with its 55 steps.
Apollo Piano Movers at the Chinese Embassy

Okay, maybe that bag of groceries wasn't so heavy after all. Way to go, Jake!


So tell me, how do you use the Internet? Do you refer to it daily, as I do? Do you keep your computer on all the time? Use it as you watch TV? (We do. We look up the names of actors, and we check to see what's factual in movies.)


Mason Canyon said...

I find myself using the computer more and more each day. I never thought I'd use it for anything but work, now I can't image not using it.

Camille Minichino said...

ALL the time!
I have a dictionary bookmarked, as well as the imdb, which is terrific for settling those movie disputes. While I'm writing, I'm constantly checking a date or a name or an abstruse factoid.

For my first books, fifteen years ago, I had binders of research; now I have bookmarks on my toolbar.

Sheila Connolly said...

Daily? How about every time I hear that little noise that says I have a new email? But it is wonderful to be able to research anything instantly.

One of my favorites is the ground-level view available on some mapping systems. When I was working on Snake in the Glass, I wanted to know what a particular Tucson neighborhood looked like (and whether there was on-street parking!). I placed myself in the middle of the intersection and rotated 360 degrees and had my answers and more--in fact, I actually mentioned a store on the corner in the book.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

How do you bookmark something? Is that the same as marking it as a favorite? And what's imdb?

Terri Thayer said...

What you said, plus a few more. I read the papers, blogs, check up on my friends on Facebook and Twitter.

The problem is that there is so much content out there. As a kid, I read everything in front of me. The cereal box was endlessly fascinating. The internet is a giant cereal box to me, one that I could easily get lost in.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm with you, Joanna. I use the Internet constantly, perhaps more than I should. But it's so handy just to be able to look up any little bit of information I need while writing--plus check e-mail to make sure I'm not missing anything. It's addictive!

Camille Minichino said...

I'm not sure what marking as favorite is Joanna, but bookmarking saves the URL in the tool bar that runs along the top of the screen.
To bookmark something you just drag the URL down to the toolbar. Then when you want the site next, you just click on it without having to enter it.

imdb is Internet Movie Data Base -- everything you want to know about every movie!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Wow, Camille. You taught me a new skill. Thanks so much!

Terri, I totally understand about getting lost in the 'net.

Linda, I confess I'm addicted to checking my email.

signlady217 said...

I keep mine on most of the time, too. I like to check the blogs throughout the day to read any new comments that have been added, and also check my e-mail. Since I'm taking an online class for medical transcription, I have about 12 medical dictionaries/websites bookmarked (saved as favorites). And there are all kinds of interesting (to me) bits of trivia to learn about or verify; just whatever pops into my head. For example, after reading Betty's blog on Friday, I looked up the CHA info, and from that found a bunch of helpful videos on Youtube about card-making and envelope-making (there went a couple of hours!) Yes, it is easy to spend way too much time at the computer, but it can be so very much fun!!

Mare F said...

I use it for everything. LOL. Just a few minutes ago I checked to see if I could freeze sour cream successfully (in order to use a coupon). Nope, can't do it. Now that I tend to forget things on a regular basis Google is my best friend.

Betty Hechtman said...

Very odd. I left a comment late last night which doesn't seem to have shown up.

I agreed with everybody about the easy access to information and mentioned how after the Craft and Hobby Show I'd been curious about a tool I'd seen at a booth. Thanks to a few minutes with a google search, I found out it was a spindle, used for spinning and in fact preceded spinning wheels by a long time. I also read directions how to use one.

I'll try again and see if it shows up this time.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I'm busy proofreading Photo, Snap, Shot, the next book in the Kiki Lowenstein series and I turn to the Internet all the time, Betty. I check proper names, locations, definitions, and so on. What a time saver! I wonder if books today are more accurate because research can be done so much more easily?

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Mason, I'm with you. I have to have the Internet connection on--and my first computer was basically just a word-processor. So, the Internet has totally changed how I use my PC.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Sheila, I did what you did when I was meeting someone at a nearby restaurant. I wanted to make sure I'd recognize the facade, so I googled it. Voila! I knew exactly where to turn.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Signlady, I've taught online classes. Yet another use of the Internet! I could read my students' work and link them to helpful sites, say, grammar sites that showed correct comma usage.

Mary Cunningham said...

My question is, how did we ever get along without the Internet?!?

I'm constantly Googling recipes, research for books, blog topics, etc.

Also, will definitely try that salmon recipe!


Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Mary, the salmon was great. I forgot to add the half-and-half to the risotto. I'd premeasured everything, but I put the half-and-half back in the refrigerator to keep, and forgot it!

The risotto was still very good, and our six young Israeli friends loved the meal. They were all headed back to Israel this week. One of the boys told me, "This will be my favorite memory of my time in America."

I was so touched.

Linda said...

I actually spend WAY too much time on the computer. Historical research is much easier and blogs have opened a whole new world of connections with people of common interest. I need not buy (and find a place to keep) a multi-volume encyclopedia and can find out-of-print materials either online or through used booksellers.

Unfortunately, I cannot seem to stop clicking links when looking at something like CHA. One site leads to another and pretty soon, I look up and it is two hours later and I am totally sidetracked. Or, I start checking one of my favorite cardmaking blogs and end up wandering the web for an hour or more looking at the different blogs connected to the posted cards.

And I love staying in touch with friends by e-mail, but can we start a petition to stop forwarding the same urban legends and cutesy chain letters over and over again?

Camille, you mentioned binders of research--I need to break myself of the habit of printing my research so I can read a hard copy and mark it up with notes (am I the only person who does that?)

Camille Minichino said...

I don't print research any more, except for a few pages. I keep the links bookmarked.

BUT I can't seem to break the habit of printing every day's writing! Even if I just change a few lines, I print it out. I guess at some level I don't trust all my backups!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Linda, I still like to print out my research, too. I like to pick it up and wander into the kitchen with it, or put it in a binder. I still find it hard to read the screen and toggle back and forth. It's easier for me to put papers on my desk and look back and forth.

And I love following from one link to another. It's like taking a little explore from the comfort of my home.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Camille, I don't print out each day's work, but I finally discovered that dating each variation of my w-i-p was the best way to know which was the most recent incarnation. I do print out sections for proofing and for "backwards" outlining. I outine first, but then at a certain point, I often go back and outline again for continuity.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Oh, and Linda, I've learned to take those moments of cutesy emails as a tiny break in my too serious day. That said, I get pretty stinky about political rants unless they involve something I care about and I've signed up animal welfare.