It’s hard for me to remember a time before the internet. I think we were playing Oregon Trail from a big floppy disk in our middle school library. I haven’t paid a bill in person or used a phone book in my entire adult life. Life has a certain added layer of comfort because of the internet. Access to information and entertainment is just so much easier with it than flipping through newspapers and watching the news on TV. Plus, there are all those other optional yet fantastic services that are just a registration away. If tomorrow, the internet was suddenly destroyed by some site crunching, blog busting mega-virus, I’d probably need extensive therapy. I really don’t know what I’d do without it! Amazingly, I was actually forced to put a good deal of thought into possible canceling my internet service at home. I wanted to immediately dismiss the idea as preposterous but felt that the decision deserved more analysis than that since we are talking about a recurring bill in an already strained household in need of a debt diet. As I whittle down to necessities only, the internet service, which I get through my cable provider, was suddenly up next on the chopping block. Frankly, regardless of how nonessential many of my web dealing are, the fact that my life is impacted in such a wonderful and positive way by the convenience and ease of access, I’m keeping it. How could I possible live without such pleasures as:
Redbox – Since I no longer have a membership at a huge chain video rental store, Redbox is such a treat. I can grab a blockbuster on my way home from work, have an impromptu movie night then drop it off tomorrow, all for just a buck! The website allows me to reserve a title at the box of my choosing and pick it up when I’m ready (by 9PM the next day). This way, I can eliminate the disappointment of finding that the new release I want is completely checked out when I’m standing there, box of microwave popcorn in hand!
Facebook – It’s my second home and, in many cases, my strongest link to several friends and family members, with more being added every day. I’m constantly updating, posting pictures, commenting, checking up on folks, reading notes, etc. Forget the whole internet, I’d be devastated if we just lost Facebook! (*sniff*)
SeatGuru – This site is a true gem for the frequent traveler. It offers reviews of ENTIRE PLANES from nose to tail! While in the processes of booking a flight, I always click over to SeatGuru to see which seats are rated the best, which in-flight movie is playing and how much a glass of wine is selling for. The seat reviews are very detailed, e.g., “immovable armrests,” “missing a window,” “limited leg room due to equipment box” and “seat does not recline.” Control freak that I am, this site is a critical!
AccessAtlanta – I wouldn’t have a clue what was going on in this city on any given without the help of my Access Atlanta calendar. With it, I’m equipped to take in all the great concerts, festivals and kids events being offered year round. This is primarily how I plan my weekends. Without it, I’d be at home staring at a blank wall while the girls fell unconscious from cabin fever. I'm sure these type of sites exist for most urban cities and probably a bunch of small ones!
HalfOffDepot – Oh how I love thee . . . let me count the ways! I cannot even tell you how much money I’ve saved since I started using Half Off Depot. Available in a slew of cities all over the US and even in Canada, they negotiate great deals on everything from show tickets to spa treatments to meals at great restaurants and all I have to do is log on, take my pick and CHA-CHING, it’s all HALF OFF the original price. So, I can get a $100 concert tickets for $50, plus dinner grab dinner afterward with a gift card worth $50 that I only spent $25 for. The lifetime of savings is astronomical! I’ve actually been able to snag tickets to this great puppetry venue for the girls that I had been dying to go to but couldn’t reconcile the $16 per person ticket price. Well, low and behold, a few weeks ago, this place was featured as the “deal of the day” of Half Off Depot with tickets going for $7!!! Finally, we can go check it out without breaking the bank. Clearance and sale items have even steeper discounts. Seriously, this site is a no brainer.
Fandango/MovieFone – Both these sites rock simply because I can purchase my movie tickets in advance, avoid long lines and sold out shows. As I mentioned early with Redbox, here’s nothing more disappointing that being all set to see the latest release only to have it sell out 30 minutes after you’ve been standing in a line wrapped around the building. That is soooooo 2001! Never again! I don’t mind paying few extra dollars for that piece of mind. I list Fandango and MovieFone together because they offer the same service and I’ve learned that most theaters use one or the other, not both. The AMC close to me will show as “no online ticketing available” on one site but be fully capable of online booking on the other. Take notes!
This is only a sampling of the great websites that I would suddenly be barred from if I let the internet go. Not to mention the fact that I READ BLOGS (*wink*), pay all my bills, manage my bank account, monitor my daughter’s school lunch account, renew books at the library, play all sorts of educational games with the girls and numerous other critical functions of life via that superfast wireless signal wrapping my whole place in this technological security blanket of connectivity.
To web or not to web . . . . clearly, that’s not up for debate! Do you have any sites you just can’t live without? Either vital or purely for amusement, what can you just NOT live without?