When it comes to online shopping, I’ve realized that my mom isn’t really seeing the whole picture. Sure, she’s learned to order her running shoes online so that she can save money. We’ve set up online banking so that she can easily pay all of the bills electronically, saving paper and minimizing piles on the kitchen counter. She even knows that there’s a way to download music with something called “iTunes” that somehow can get on your “iPod”. Yes, she uses air quotes.
But I don’t think she realizes all of the ways that the internet can improve her day-to-day life. If she needs to find research for a paper she’s writing on childhood development, even the local librarian is going to recommend Google Scholar as a starting point. If she needs a detailed map from St. Louis to Durham, it’s always faster to use Mapquest or Google Maps. If she misses the finale of her favorite show, she should know that they are often available for free on the network’s website.
So it’s time I step in. I can’t say that I understand what moms out there want. And I certainly don’t claim to understand how my mom thinks AT ALL. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the point. No one has ever taken the time to tell my mom what she should know about the internet and how it can make her life easier. The more time I spend working at Shoeboxed, the more I feel compelled to help my mom see what she’s missing.
So if you want to use the internet and if you want to know how it can make your life easier, here are a few sites that you might want to check out:
Amazingmail.com. Let’s start with the basics. Who doesn’t like to show off the cool places they have visited? Now you can do it easily and cheaply. Upload your digital photos to the computer (the camera should come with instructions) and make a postcard that you can send to friends. It’s a great alternative to the yearly Christmas card, and the product always looks great. Then check out Ofoto.com where you can print your favorites.
Keycode.com and HotCoupons.com. You might want to sit down for this one. There are online sites that specialize in coupons! Many of the sites offer deals for specific retailers that can’t be found in the weekend newspaper. And don’t think that you can’t find local deals! You can enter your city’s name and “local coupons” into Google and find printable bar codes for your favorite shops.
Iexplore.com. You know something’s good when it’s affiliated with National Geographic. If you want to go on an exciting vacation but don’t have any time to plan it, you should check out this site. It has travel and activity guides for every inch of the globe, with advice on how to get the most out of your vacation. Whether you’re looking to climb a mountain or go sailing, Iexplore can make the appropriate recommendation (based on your experience and the trip’s level of difficulty). It will even recommend pre-screened travel and gear packages.
Rottentomatoes.com. When you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy, do you really trust the opinion of Roger Ebert, Richard Roepert, or Gene Shallot? Of course not. This is a democracy, people! When I’m choosing a movie, I want to hear the opinion of all the qualified critics and film gurus. Next time you’re heading to the cinema, check out rottentomatoes.com. The “Tomatometer” is the most trusted scale when it comes to finding the freshest movie. On a scale from one to ten, anything over a seven is a safe bet.