The Internet CAN be your best friend

For those of you that read this blog regularly, you may know that I have had various friends sick or pass away within the past year. THAT isn’t what this is all about, it is just an introduction to get us all on the same page.

For anybody that has a serious illness or has a friend or far away person that needs support for their loved one, there is this gem of a website and it is FREE to use.

(In their own words), Caring Bridge“personalized websites that support and connect loved ones during critical illness, treatment and recovery.”

The advocate or patient can make entries about the daily trials and successes of long term illness or conditions.

For the person that is in treatment or in the hospital, everybody that is invited can sign on to Caring Bridge with their email address, and gets notified when updates are made to the blog.

For the caregiver (or advocate), the condition and circumstances are described one time as well as a Journal that helps them vent and tell friends and family just where they are at.The caregiver can privately pause to cry, or save to look at later, but Caring Bridge allows the creator of the blog to control the flow of information.  That is one great thing about the computer.  It is just between you and it.

There is a really nice area “My Story” that tells the “How we got here” for those late comers that need to be brought up to speed.  And the blog entries are kept chronologically and time stamped so the family member of friend can keep track of the events.

Let’s face it, even though we all want to help, sometimes those 20 phone calls after a long day just drains everybody that is truly living the drama. Caring Bridge can be accessed from anywhere there is an internet connection.  Hospital, while waiting for a test or home with your feet up on the couch.

As I said in the beginning Caring Bridge is free to use, which is so great for the people with these insane hospital bills.  But as anyone that owns a business knows it isn’t free to run and to keep running.  There is a place to donate and even though the minimum donation choice on the secure form is $70, they certainly will take less, every bit helps and it is a very special service for all of us to know about.  Here’s how to donate if you are so inclined.

I have used the link for my college roommates husband that has had brain surgery nearly 2 months ago and is still in the throws of it all.  But if you are ever invited to join the Caring Bridge “family.” Please think a moment and give what you can.

What is the “bing” thing?

A few times over the past couple weeks people have asked me about BING.  What is it?  How does it work? Quite honestly, until then, I didn’t care to know anything about it. All I knew was it was a Microsoft product and I am not a big fan of Microsoft.  Nothing personal, “Bill”  but with all the bugs, viruses and careless products, once I got back to Mac, I realized I was home.  Besides, I use Google I am happy with it.

But for some of the same reasons I didn’t like Microsoft, I guess I shouldn’t really like Google.  Competition is good. It makes us sharper and make better products and if it weren’t for competition we would be sitting around like fat cats, producing mediocre products and services and shoving them down the consumers (that is you and me) throats.

So I checked out Bing.  To you and me, we would call it a search engine.  To Microsoft, they call it a DECISION ENGINE. Their ad slogan is “Bing and Decide.”

So what? You still don’t know what it does, do you?  I had a friend of mine walk me through it and it is kind of neat in some ways. Then I try it on and off when I feel like it.  It pulls together a lot of media (many of which have been purchased or morphed by Microsoft), into one place.

What makes it different from Google?

Click here to read an amusing article in PC World.

Anything with Smackdown in the title and it doesn’t relate to wrestling, immediately gets my attention.

But the minute you log on to Bing, you know it is different.  It is pictures, it is motion and the page art changes every day.  Hardly the static geek look of Google, but if you know your search words, “Who needs all those pretty pictures?” I say.  Bing, like Google allows gateways to their products, Google has maps and street view (great for stalkers and data junkies) while Bing focuses on more lifestyle things.

So I am not saying it is better, I am just saying it is different.  As different as the personalities and marketing strategies of Microsoft and Google.  My suggestion?  Take a few days and give it a try, you may not want to give up your Google or dogpile, but it is good to see what else is out there to use, for FREE!