Thursday, May 17, 2007

How did I do without this before?

Having more time on my hands the other day than was entirely necessary, I decided to "personalize" my home page on Google.

I use gmail for my business, and I go to the Google search page a lot, so I decide to take Google up on their offer and put more gadgets on a personalized home page. I used to think those were silly. Now I think personalized home pages are as important as sliced bread. Or the next thing to it.

Right at the top, of course, I put my mail. And the time and calendar, so I can check to see how long it has been since the last time I checked the home page. And weather, very important in the Deep South, where soon I will read the thermometer with all the fascination of rubbernecking accident victims, as the mercury will climb to the three digits and stay there for two months or more. It's the same as in the north and you call your neighbor and say, "Well. It's 3 degrees out. Wind chill 22 below. How 'bout that," with all the tone of a gloating martyr supremely satisfied at how tough we can take it. "Well. It's 102 out. Heat index 226 degrees. Humidity 2000 percent. How 'bout that. Think I'll take a walk." Yes, I want the weather right at my fingertips.

In the second tier I have news from CNN and the AP because I'm supposed to be a grownup and care about "Rise in Foreclosures Will Not Hurt Economy" and 'Estonia suspects Kremlin in Web attacks.' But then comes all my fru-fru widgets that make having a personalized page worth it. I have lots of "...Of the Day" widgets. Art of the Day, very cool. Yesterday was something by the Van Limburg brothers, a Renaissance piece I took quite a liking to, "The Healing of a Possessed" with a cherub-looking all-black demon flying out of some guy's head that Jesus is praying over, with the audience standing by going "How 'bout that." There's a link so you can find out more about the artist.

National Geographic Photo of the Day, shows me just how far I have to go to take a good shot. Like an ant walking to the moon. Some nice pictures, she said with Yankee understatement. And the Cat of the Day. This one tickles me. The shots aren't all that great, usually a cat lying there or sitting there, and its name. Sometimes the photographer got creative and took one with the cat nestled on his laptop, or curled up in a sink, or got its head jammed in the water glass. But I love seeing the endless variety of cats, shapes, sizes, names. Cats are cute, darnit. Sometimes I refresh the page just to see another one.

The widget I like best is the "Local gas prices" for my zip code. You can scroll down and see what the places around here are charging today. I've been watching one particular store all week, consistently the lowest at $2.69/gal. So naturally I put off getting gas until I was so low on fuel that the 'you are about to become stranded in rural GA' light came on and the only place nearby happened to be charging the highest amount in the list. But it was good to know I got gas at the most expensive place in the zip code that day.

So that's my personalize home page. It sure doesn't take much to amuse me. How 'bout that.

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