10 Reasons That I Miss The Old Internet

Nowadays it seems like the Internet has always been around.  For many people, grown ups even, it always has!  Yet, at the age of 43, I distinctly remember the time before the Internet. But along with that there was the time when the Internet was new.  Those were some cool times.  Of course, all those ‘new’ things are now old.  That’s the way it happens.  But, there are times when I miss the old Internet.  Here are a few throwbacks that many will remember.

The Dial-Up Tone

The Internet was first accessed over phone lines.  You had to connect your computer’s modem to another and establish a connection.  This was done with a series of bongs and boops and clicks.  It was a pretty cool sound.  I was such a geek that I could often tell just by listening to the patterns if I was going to get a good connection or if I’d have to re-dial.

When I Was An Expert

I was pretty computer savvy back in the day.  As such, I learned a lot about the Internet before many others did.  Even though it lasted only a couple of years, I became sort of an expert.  I was one of those people that others asked when they needed to learn how to connect to the Internet, to find things on the Internet, or even to explain what the Internet was.

When The Internet Wasn’t Full of Ads

The Internet is all about making money nowadays.  Everything is monetized, it seems.  But, it wasn’t always like that.  Before everyone figured out how to place ads, the Internet was mostly filled with real information.

A Distinction From The Real World

You know you’re an old timer if you remember ever saying that you were ‘going on the Internet’.  Back then, going on the Internet was a distinct and separate activity from everything else in the world.  Now, it’s become part of the world.  But, there was a time when you ‘got off the Internet’ and returned to your life.

When The Internet Was Mostly Fun

Nowadays, the Internet gives everybody a voice. This lets many people talk, but few remember to actually listen.  Back when the Internet was a baby, it was mostly fun.  I remember once when someone created a web site and had nothing but a picture of a toilet.  People searched for this and talked about it and we all laughed.  Nobody knew, at first, what to do with the Internet.  But one thing’s for sure, the seriousness that abounds today was not yet there.

Counters

Part of the appeal of the early Internet was getting page views.  Pages had little counters at the bottom that showed how often it’d been viewed.  People would look at this when visiting a page to make sure they were on a ‘cool’ site.  When people started creating personal sites, having big numbers was huge.  Of course, it was pretty easy to ‘Refresh’ over and over, but nobody ever cheated, right? 🙂

The Novelty Of Shopping Online

Buying something off the Internet?  Believe it or not, that was once a foreign concept.  Nobody really knew what to do with it. Once sites started establishing an inventory, it grew even further.  You started having sites that did nothing but sell random items that were supposedly deals.  Yes, deal-of-the-day sites were once a novelty!  And they even went further?  Remember the Woot Off?  People would sit literally all day in front of their computer as random items would go up for sale.  Maybe they still do them, but if so, it’s definitely not the event it once was.

Usenet

Once the Internet started growing, some felt it went a little too far and wide.  This was before Google and search engines were very reliable.  So, Usenet became the spot where specific categories and discussions could take place.  For example, fans of The X Files didn’t know how to find all the different places where they could discuss their show.  Usenet gave them the forum alt.tv.the-x-files.  Everyone knew to go there and soon every subject under the sun had a group.  I’m sure Usenet still exists, but I haven’t used it in over a decade.

Yahoo

I still lament how cool Yahoo was back in the day.  For awhile, the Internet and Yahoo were pretty much the same.  For me, anyways. I used them for e-mail, games, news, sports, stocks.  I stored photos there.  It was my first dab at online dating.  Their Messenger app was the first of many different chat apps I used.  In the age where you didn’t have tabs on your browser, all I needed was the My Yahoo page with links to everything.  Slowly, Yahoo found themselves beat at their own games, and now they’re pretty much an afterthought.

Finding Music

Nowadays, you can find music anywhere.  Pandora and Spotify have nailed the market on streaming apps. If you want a specific song, it’s probably on Youtube.  But it wasn’t always that way.  For a number of years, finding music online was a huge deal.  And it was often illegal!  Finding MP3 copies of a new album was a pretty big deal!  At first the music industry basically tried to keep music off the Internet altogether.  Very interesting times!

Those are some of my favorite memories of the old Internet.  What are some of the things you remember or have heard of?  

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Keep Your Summer Budget Under Control

Summer is right around the corner.  Before long the kids will be done with school. Grills will be filling the streets with smells of burgers and hot dogs. The ice cream truck will be jangling down the street.  Summer is the time to enjoy the world, and boy can that be expensive!  Your wallet can take a hit if your summer budget gets out of control.  But, you can keep things under control.

Here are a few summer budget tips so that you can have fun and keep your finances in check!

Shop For Travel Deals

Travel and leisure activities abound during the summer months.   These can add up to big spending amounts if you’re not careful.  The good news is that you can often find deals.  Look through Groupon or other apps.  Visit travel websites or those of places you’d like to go.  There are often specials.  If you want to get away, look for places like AirBnB.  This can reduce the cost compared to more expensive hotel options.

Pay For What You Can Afford

It’s tempting to go all out for that great family adventure. This is all great so long as you can afford it.  Summer fun is not worth going into debt for. If you can’t afford to pay off your summer fun, look for ways to cut back.

Save All Year Around

It may be too late to stash money aside this year, but make a plan for next year.  Stick a hundred bucks per month aside, and you’ll have more freedom next year.

Mix In Free Things

Summer doesn’t have to be all about money to have fun.  Picnics at the park are a free option, but still make great times.  Bike rides along local trails are another free adventure.  A hike along the woods?  That doesn’t cost anything at all if you do it right.  Working in some free options is a great way to keep your summer budget in line.

Enjoy Your Personal Space

If you have a patio or deck, summer is the time to use it!  Invite over neighbors or friends and enjoy some drinks or a dinner.  It’s a great way to have fun and keep money in your summer budget for other things.

Adjust Your Air Conditioning

A big cost that can blow a summer budget is air conditioning.  When it gets hot, you have to shut the windows and keep things cool.  That makes sense, but look for ways to reduce your A/C bills.  If you can, open the windows at night.  If you’re gone during the day, don’t run the A/C all day.  Change your filters to make sure your A/C is running efficiently.  If you can save $20 per month during the summer month, that can equal an extra evening out!

Consider Seasonal Memberships

Zoos, museums, and beaches often offer seasonal passes. If you use these options regularly, an annual pass can save you big time.  We use several annual memberships to our advantage.  On top of saving money, you always have a fallback plan if you can’t think of anything to do!

Hopefully these ideas help prevent your summer budget from stressing you out.  With the warm, long days ahead, having one less thing to worry about is all for the better!

Readers, what summer budget saving ideas do you have?  Please share in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

10 Practical Baby Shower Gifts Every Mom Will Love

Ah, the baby shower.  The time to give all that’s cute for the new life about to enter the world.  While many gifts will draw ooh’s and ahh’s during the shower, there are some that will bring those later.  These are practical baby shower gifts that every parent will appreciate when it matters most.

Diapers (Size 1 and 2)

Diapers are a fairly common gift.  But, here’s the thing, most diapers for yet-to-be born babies are Newborn size.  This is great except that many babies are out of this size in a flash.  While you can usually exchange unopened diapers for a bigger size, make it easy on the mom to be.  Give them the next size or two up.  When that Newborn size diaper just won’t fit, your gift will be at the ready.

Baby Wipes

Babies get changed pretty regularly.  Sometimes it seems like a changing happens every hour!  Baby wipes are always a great gift, and they’re guaranteed to be used.  It’s not something that any parent wants to run out of.  Trust me, they will appreciate some baby wipes.

Portable Changing Pad

Babies get changed everywhere.  Most registries include a changing pad, which is great for the house.  But when baby needs to be changed on-the-go, a portable changing pad is just the thing.  They’re pretty handy nowadays as they have spots for just about everything. Well, maybe not the dirty diaper, but that’s just as well!

Burp Cloths / Bibs

If it’s not coming out one end, it’s coming out the other.  Don’t ever think that babies can have too many bibs or burp cloths.  They can’t.  My advice: Go for quantity.  Many people will buy fancy bibs or burp cloths, which is fine.  But, if you get a larger pack of the no-frills variety, it means mom will have more.  They’ll definitely get put to use!

Onesies

As many clothes as baby will get, the onesie is always in style.  Parents can never have too many of them.  Grab a pack or two of plain white onesies and I guarantee you’ll save the day at least once.  Don’t forget to get a couple in bigger sizes too!

Lightweight Blankets

Many people will get really special blankets.  Some will have monograms or really fancy designs.  These will definitely appreciated, but so will some lightweight blankets.  These are great for on-the-go.  They even work in the summer when baby needs to be kept warm from air conditioning.

Fingernail Kits

Start off good grooming habits at a  young age with a nice fingernail kit.  For bonus tips, make sure that mom uses it before the baby goes to see the doctor.  The doctor will be very impressed with a well clipped baby!

Bouncy Seat

A great gift is a bouncy seat.  These can be picked up and moved anywhere, giving baby a safe, comfortable spot.  Plus, you can soothe baby with the bouncing motion.

Clothing For The Next Season

If baby is due in the summer, guess what they’re going to get?  A whole closet of cute summer things.  This is great until cooler weather arrives.  You can save the day by getting clothes in a larger size for upcoming seasons.  Make sure to provide a gift receipt because sizing can be a little tricky.

Book

We actually requested this at our shower.  We asked for people to bring a small book and to sign it.  These will forever make great keepsakes.

Those were some practical baby shower gifts that I know moms will love.  Will the items above steal the show during the shower?  Maybe not, but these will definitely make life easier for parents when it matters most.  That right there is a great gift that will be long remembered.

Readers, what baby shower ideas do you love that are practical and thoughtful?  Share in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Pros And Cons Of Working From Home

Our employer allows us to work from home one day per week, with manager approval.  My manager has approved us working from home, with one caveat. We are not allowed to work from home on Monday or Friday.  This is designed to prevent abuse in the form of beginning or extending the weekend without using time off.

I like our policy and it seems to work well.  I don’t take advantage of it every week.  I’d say I probably use it about half the time.  Over time, I’ve come to realize there are pros and cons of working from home.

Pros Of Working From Home

  • No commute.  This is the obvious one.  I don’t have to drive to and from work.  As my commute is around 10 minutes each way, this isn’t a big deal.  Still, every minute avoiding crazy drivers is better, right?
  • No co-worker distractions. Our office is pretty open.  On top of that, some of my nearby workers can be quite loud.  Having some peace and quiet one day per week is definitely welcome.
  • Casual dress.  I can dress in comfortable pants or shorts and a t-shirt when I work from home.  Not only is it more comfortable, but it keeps my nicer and more expensive clothing to last longer.  After all, I’m wearing it less!
  • I can have lunch with my wife. Last week, my work from home day was sunny and warm.  My wife and I grabbed subs and stopped to eat at a nearby park.  That was spontaneous, fun, and all within an hour.  It wouldn’t have happened had I been in the office!
  • Longer gym time.  I go to the gym before work on days that I work out.  When I work from home, I can stay a little longer.  Even that extra few minutes helps me feel like I’ve gotten a better workout.
  • Breaks up the workweek.  My work from home day is on Tuesday.  This provides a nice way to break up the week.  This makes the normally dreaded Wednesdays and Thursdays a bit easier to take.

Cons of Working From Home

  • There are other distractions.  Just because my co-workers aren’t there to distract me doesn’t mean I’m free of diversions. There are plenty of other things to distract me at home, and discipline is required to avoid them.
  • Disconnect from co-workers.  There’s just something about seeing the people you’re working with that you miss when working from home.  Or, if you have a question, sometimes it’s just easiest to walk over and talk.  I miss this when I work from home.
  • Other costs.  Even though I save on gas, there are sometimes other costs.  My home office is in the basement.  In the cold months, I turn on a space heater to keep warm on days I work from home.
  • Harder to get re-motivated.  If I lose my concentration, it’s harder to get back in the swing of things at home than if I’m at work.  At work, I can use my hard working colleagues as motivation. If it’s just me, this can be more difficult.
  • Lonely.  I enjoy being by myself, but only to a certain degree.  There are times when I’m in the house for the whole day, and I miss human interaction.  I’m not sure I could work from home each and every day!

All in all, I think working from home one day per week is perfect.  It’s just the right balance for me.  I’m glad I have the opportunity to do so.

Readers, do you work from home?  If so, how often?  What are some of the things you like?  What about drawbacks?  Let me know your experiences in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.