I have been a fan of the Internet ever since I first discovered it back in the late ‘90s. But as each year passes, I become more and more enamored of this amazing resource.
This evening, just by doing a search on Google, I got help with a problem that had vexed me for several days. My wife, Becky, had found a loose part lying in the bottom of our dishwasher, but try as I might, I could not figure out where it went. Usually, I am pretty good at these things, but this had me stumped. I took the part to my local Home Depot and found a Kitchen Aid dishwasher similar to the one we have. I inspected the interior, and finally located the part. I took a half dozen pictures with my smart phone, and went home thinking that I’d have the part reinstalled in a minute or two. Wrong. Try as I might, I could not figure out from the pictures where the darned thing went. And, I might add, the owner’s manual that came with the dishwasher was totally useless.
Frustrated, I went to the Internet and Googled, “Where does part #W10919676 go in a Kitchen Aid model#KDFE204E dishwasher?” I hit enter, and in a split second I got a hit with a link to an appliance repair blog site. There was the answer to my dilemma, complete with an excellent picture that showed perfectly where the part went. Within a couple of minutes, I had reinstalled the part.
Initially, it was the Internet that enabled me to have what limited success I have had as an author, first with Lulu.com, and then with Kindle and Createspace. I’ve made countless “Internet friends,” through the years, and use the Internet for everything from buying replacement toothbrush heads for my electric toothbrush, to sending wonderful greeting cards to friends.
Whenever I am writing, I always have the Internet up on my screen, and can readily fact-check information for my books, or for a blog post I might be writing. I’ve viewed maps of cities and states I’ll never get to visit, and used the information I’ve gleaned there to enhance the backstories of every one of my novels. I’ve made airline reservations, paid bills, banked online, and even video chatted with my delightful oldest granddaughter—all via the Internet.
As with anything so marvelous, there is always a downside, and the Internet is replete with bad actors, who are constantly attempting to scam us, or separate us from our money. Evil doers haunt its back stairways, waiting to ambush unsuspecting travelers. Social media sites are used by bullies to browbeat and intimidate friends and enemies alike. Ad blockers help keep us from being bombarded by unwanted advertising, and spyware assists us in minimizing infections to our computers by viruses that lie in wait on sites designed to do us harm.
But, if we exercise caution, and stay alert, we can avoid most of the pitfalls of the Internet while maximing the positive aspects it presents. So, the next time you are faced with a problem that seems unsolvable, do what I do: Google it, or do a search on YouTube. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much help is right there at your fingertips on the greatest invention of all—the Internet (with thanks to Al Gore). Don’t believe me? Google it!