Saturday, September 8, 2012

Eight things I love about the internet

Not ten? Well, I ran out of time :D I'm going to do this in list form without numbers, because so much about the net is connected and inter-dependent that I don't feel it's fair to rank things.

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* Search engines. I do use Google almost exclusively but any engine that works similarly will do. I looked up "getting kicked in the balls", and found stuff! People have discussed this subject on the net! (okay so that shouldn't surprise me, given what people are willing to talk about to complete strangers)

* Google. I use it so much because it works for me, but also because it's mostly ad-free. I absolutely hate sites that have pop-ups, drop-downs, moving, speaking bits of crap that I could not possibly care less about. I know they use ads to make money, but do the ads really have to be so flaming irritating??

* Discussion forums. Where I found most of the info I needed on "getting kicked in the balls." Sometimes research is about what other people experience or how they see things, and forums are the go-to resource.

* Google maps and Google Earth. Freaking fantastic. Takes me right to the front door of a specific building I have no other possible way of seeing. I can then describe that door in my WIP, and readers can say "hey, I've seen that door."

* The way it brings writers together and makes everybody stronger. At Critique Circle you can get a huge range of crits and a veritable smorgasbord of helpful resources, with a free account. At Magical Words you can connect with successful writers on a personal level. At The Bookshelf Muse you have an encyclopedia of writing resources and wisdom that, again, are shared for free. A Google search turned up the name of my local writers group, who not only provide awesome crits, but it's so much fun to get together with other writers on a regular, physical basis. Those are just the first ones that popped into my head; there are so many more.

* When I am hopelessly stuck on something in my WIP, I can clear my head by going to, for example, for astronomy news that never fails to ignite my sense of wonderment. When I'm frustrated with the quality of news reporting in my home country of the US, I go to the BBC for a different perspective or to read about stuff I don't find on US sites. I can see videos of solar flares, not artists' conceptions!

* Youtube. I'm a bit wary of it, because there's a lot of nonsense there, but that's true of the internet in general anyway. I love youtube because I can find videos of, say, people shooting off AK-47s, which I can replay to see how they handle the thing and how the weapon sounds when it's fired--in complete safety.

Photo by yoshiaka/stock.xchng
* I can download music in under a minute and use it to enhance my mood as I write specific scenes. I wrote a pivotal poem for inclusion in my WIP while listening to a Rod Stewart track. The character's voice came out strongly in the poem, and I very much doubt it would have been as good without that enhancement.

What do you guys like best about the net?  I mean, besides the cat videos.

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