Thursday, July 14, 2005

What I do on the Web...

July 14, 2005
My Top 10 uses of the Web and internet:

Email – I use email everyday to communicate to friends and relatives and colleagues. It is quick and instantaneous and free. In addition, I also use Instant Messenger for short communications.
News – The internet is a great source for instant news as it happens. The caveat is knowing which sites are reliable and what their biases are. I follow both Main Stream Media such as the New York Times and CNN as well as new media such as Drudge report… I usually read a few sources about a topic of interest and then make up my own mind. This is the big difference between now and pre-internet. In the old days, I can only rely on what the MSM chooses to report. Now I can pick and choose and also come up with my own conclusion.
Investing – I manage my own IRA portfolio through a discount broker. I usually spend about 30 minutes a day reviewing the market and making adjustments to my portfolio when necessary. The best tool is being able to place buy/sell orders so that they execute automatically when a target price is met. I don’t have to rely on an investment broker to make the trade or give me advice. The internet has provided me with information and tools that allow me to take control of my finances and make intelligent decisions about my investments. I can also make payments online and bank online and monitor my credit expenses.
Job Search – I use the internet to perform job searches. I can setup agents that will notify me automatically when a match is made and then I can submit my application online. I also post my resume on some job sites. So far, I have not found a job yet but I have gotten some interviews. I am hopeful that I will find a dream job soon.
Shopping – I use the internet to either shop online or research an item that I want to buy. In some cases, the easiest way is to order online. I usually receive the item in the mail in a few days. In other case, I use the internet to research an item and find the best brand and then I go to the store to check it out before buying.
Hobby – I am an amateur photographer. I use the web to store my pictures and to share with my friends. I can also order digital prints. I also submit some of my best images to photo contests and post some on photo sites for others to enjoy. It is a great way to develop a hobby with very limited resources and investments. I own a digital camera and have a high speed broadband connection. You can see some of my work at:
Charity work – I have found some volunteer work online and have been able to donate my time and skills to help others less fortunate. I can do this at home with my computer and still get all the satisfaction of giving. Currently, I have registered with and also volunteered as a digital imaging consultant to Digital Divide Data – a non-profit company trying to bring technology business to Cambodia. Their philosophy of helping is in line with my thinking. Not just give a person fish to eat but to teach that person how to fish so that he will never be hungry…
Political Activist – The internet has provided an avenue for me to participate in the political process. In the past, I have never gotten involved with political rallies or fund raising. I just went to the polls every 4 years and voted. Today, that is not good enough. I found I can be more effective in influencing public policy by joining forces with like minded people. We can educate people about the issues and come up with solutions. We can apply our influence to effect legislation that can have dramatic impact on our lives. The strength is in numbers. Alone, I can’t do much but in a large group, we can bring about positive changes. I have helped in the 2004 re-election of President GW Bush. I am an independent but generally Conservative in most of my views. I usually vote for the right person for the office regardless of political party. Lately, I have leaned more heavily on the Republican Party since I have found that they have the right solutions facing our country at this time. I don’t always agree with everything the current administration is doing but I do support them on the big issues.
Blogs – The web provides us, the common person, an outlet to voice our opinions. The web has numerous blog sites that gives me a perspective on the whole spectrum of ideology. In addition, I have created my own blog site from that is free of charge. I can post my opinions and even though if no one is reading them, I feel it is soothing for me to be able to give my personal opinion. It is almost like a diary of my current thinking on the issues of the day. Once in a while, I would submit a response or letter to the Editor on a particular article. Again, this is another way the internet provides an outlet for the average person to voice an opinion. In the old day, I would react to an article I read but most likely not write a letter and mail it. Today, the ease of use makes it second nature to respond to something I read and it takes little effort.
Search/Browse – Finally, I use the web to browse. I can view museums, watch movies, listen to music or talk radio streaming, or research the most obscure topic. The search tools are great and the possibilities are endless.

The Web has definitely changed my life and the way I live it. It is a wonderful tool but it can be miss-used. With freedom comes responsibility.

Jack Lee
Yorktown Hts. NY


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