Even if you’re buying your laptop just to do e-mail (I hear this a lot from others!), do yourself a favor and explore a few other computing tasks that your laptop will allow you to do, such as:
➟ Running software programs such as word processors to write letters or create flyers, spreadsheet software photo-imaging software to work with your snapshots.
➟ Working with financial activities, from keeping your checkbook and credit card records in software databases and doing your taxes to investing, banking,and shopping online. These types of activities can be very safe to perform online, and they are incrediblyconvenient, with your accounts available 24/7.
➟ Keep in touch with friends and family. The Internet makes it possible to communicate with other people via e-mail; share video images using Webcams (tiny,inexpensive video cameras that capture and send your images to another computer); and make phone calls using a technology called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) that uses your laptop and Internet connection to place calls. You can also chat with others by typing and sending messages using a technology called instant messaging. These messages are exchanged in real time so that you and your grandchild.
➟ Research any topic from the comfort of your home. Online, you can find many reputable Web sites that give you information on anything from expert medical advice to the best travel deals. You can read news from around the corner or around the world. You can visit government Web sites to find out information about your taxes, social security, and more, or even go to entertainment sites to look up your local television listings.
➟ Create greeting cards, letters, or home inventories. Whether you’re organizing your holiday card list or figuring out a monthly budget, computer programs can help.
➟ Pursue hobbies such as genealogy or sports. You can research your favorite teams online or connect with people who have the same interests. The online world is full of special-interest chat groups where you can discuss these interests with others.
➟ Play interactive games with others over the Internet. You can play everything from shuffleboard to poker or action games in virtual worlds.
➟ Share and create photos, drawings, and videos. If you have a digital camera, you can transfer photos to your laptop (doing this is called uploading) or copy photos off the Internet and share them in e-mails or use them to create your own greeting cards. If you’re artistically inclined, you can create digital drawings. Many popular Web sites make sharing digital movies easy, too. If you have a digital video camera and editing software, you can use editing tools to make a movie and share it with others. Steven Spielberg, look out!
➟ Shop online and compare products easily, day or night. You can shop for anything from a garden shed to travel deals or a new camera. Using handy online features, you can easily compare prices from several stores or read customer product reviews. Web sites such as www.nextag.com list product prices from a variety of vendors on one Web page, so you can find the best deals. Beyond the convenience, all this information can help you save money.