Remember When Yahoo Ruled The Universe?

Business Insider featured a great article pointing out how Yahoo is doing great these days…at getting their butts kicked.

This article rang so true for me.

For me, when the Internet became big, Yahoo was numero uno as far as it went.

I thought I’d go back and look at all the various services that I used with Yahoo and see if I still used them or what happened.

  1. Yahoo Mail – I signed up for a Yahoo mail account some time in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s.  I had recently switched jobs and prior to that, had been using my work e-mail for most communication.  It was too much of a big hassle to send out thet ‘My e-mail address is changing’ notification when I left, so I decided to move to an e-mail that I knew would stick with me.  Today: This is still a service that I still used and is my primary personal e-mail.
  2. My Yahoo Home Page – For years, internet browsers didn’t have these things called ‘tabs’.  So, in order to pull as much information as possible, I used the My Yahoo page to give me information at a glance.  I customized various news feeds that kept me up to date, it had stock quotes that I could customize, and a whole slew of other features that I used religiously, until one day…..I didn’t.  Today: I haven’t used this feature in years.
  3. Yahoo Search – I used Yahoo for internet searches always.  I’ll never forget the day I was sitting with a co-worker and he pulled up a search engine page that was so simple it was almost laughable.  “Google,” I said, “What’s that?”  It didn’t take long until I switched over.  Today: Google gets about 99% of my searches.  Bing gets the other 1%.  That leaves Yahoo with…nothing.
  4. Yahoo Personals – Hey, I haven’t had to use an internet dating service for many years now, but back in the early part of the 2000’s (way before I met wonderful Mrs. Beagle), I jumped on the internet dating bandwagon.  I used a couple of different services, but Yahoo was my main source of finding potential matchups.  I got an e-mail a couple of years ago that they were discontinuing this service, so even if I wasn’t happily married, Yahoo would be getting exactly none of this usage.
  5. Yahoo Photos – Yahoo also had a pretty cool place to centrally store photos.  I stored a lot of various pictures over the years after I got my first digital camera (a sweet 3 mega-pixel deal that I paid handsomely for).  Eventually, other services like My Space and then Facebook made this go dormant.  Again, I got an e-mail that Yahoo was discontinuing this service, so by default, they get no traffic from me or anybody else.

There had to have been other Yahoo services that I used.  I just don’t remember them.  I do know that I don’t use them anymore. And, what’s even more telling is that I haven’t replaced any of the services that I stopped using with any other Yahoo services.  In other words, Yahoo has done very little to grow and adapt to my needs, and I’m pretty sure there are millions of other people out there that would say the exact same thing.

Any recovering Yahoo users out there with fond (or not so fond) memories?

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Fun Find: What’s Your Favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

A few weeks at a nearby shopping center, back on a bitter cold day (haven’t there been a lot more of those this year), we saw a group of girls (and a couple of adults) huddled in front of a table. They were, of course, selling Girl Scout cookies.

We hadn’t gotten any yet this year so we decided to purchase a couple of boxes.

I found this a very interesting news article that chronicles some of the highlights of Girl Scout Cookies over the years, and how they’ve grown to an integral part of our culture.

My favorites are Thin Mints.  What are your favorites?  Drop a comment and let us know.

Have a great weekend!

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Using Annual Passes To Save Money

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how we were considering an annual membership to the zoo.

Now that a couple of months have passed, I thought it would be wise to follow up, summarize what we chose, and outline how our strategy will hopefully save us some money.

The Zoo

The Detroit Zoo is ranked as one of the best zoos in the country.  Over the past twenty years or so, they have undertaken a huge effort to make displays more ‘natural’ so that animals, while in enclosed areas, are in more of a natural setting that would mimic the ‘wild’ that they might be in if they weren’t in captivity.

It’s a fun place and it’s within a short driving distance of our home.  We had gone a couple of times in years past, but only purchased day passes.  This year, we thought with Baby Beagle getting old enough to where he really enjoys being out, that an annual pass might be a good idea.

The twelve month pass (good from the day you purchase it until 364 days later) is $69 for a family.  This includes my wife and I, as well as any children we have under the age of 18. It also includes parking costs.

The day pass breakdown is as follows: Each adult is $11, children under two (i.e. Baby Beagle) are free.  Parking is $5 per car.

So, a day trip would cost $27.  In order to re-coup the $69, we would have to go three times in the course of twelve month.

We’ve already gone twice in two weeks, so all we need is one more usage and everything after that is gravy!  Plus, I believe that some or all of it is considered a taxable donation, so we may be able to write some of this off on our taxes.  I’ll have to check with our tax guy next spring.

No brainer!

The Beach

We have employed the same philosophy for the local beach and decided to try this yet again.

Our city runs a very well maintained and safe beach.  For residents, the admission cost per family (charged by car) is pretty straightforward.  For a single admission, it’s $5.  For a one year pass, it’s $30.  This means it will take six trips to the beach to break even.

So far, we’ve only gone once, but we’re hoping to really take advantage of this if the weather cooperates.

This will be the third year we’ve used the seasonal pass.  In 2008, the weather always seemed to work in our favor and we went all the time.  I didn’t keep track, but I’d guess we probably went 20-25 times, so we got our money’s worth many times over.

Last year, I think we broke even.  We went five times (the seasonal pass was $25 in 2008 and 2009).  We found it more difficult for a few reasons:  Last summer seemed a lot cooler than normal, with more cloudy days and less days crossing over the 80 degree threshold.  We were also adjusting to having Baby Beagle, who was brand new at the time.  Finally (and maybe TMI), my wife was breast feeding and that made it harder to go out for a long day trip in those circumstances.

This year should be much better!

Bonus: Even though we typically only use this for the beach, this pass also gets us into other city parks that have sports fields, and it also gets us back into this park during the winter for ice skating once the lake freezes over adequately.  Down the road, I could certainly see us using our pass even more!

I’ll keep track of our usage and report back on how we do.  All in all, I’m pretty sure that the combined $99 will be very well spent!

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