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Innovative Uses of Online Services

Content provided by the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA)

Written by LISTA Chicago President Juan Soto

Keep the information you need online

Many of you already have a free online email address at one of the major services: Yahoo, Hotmail and my favorite, Gmail. You may use them for simply sending and receiving email, but consider these ideas:

Document Your Possessions Online

If a major fire or flood were to damage your home or condo and you needed to file an insurance claim, it would be a lot easier if you had photos of your home prior to the damage. Saving them on  your PC is not enough, since it may be permanently damaged as well. Instead, consider shooting pics of your home, furniture and electronic gadgets and email them to yourself online, where they will be stored in case you need them. Google offers a photo service called Picasa where you can store them in albums.

Keep Track of the Details

Speaking of Google, their new documents and spreadsheets features will allow you to save your notes online. Many of us keep important details of our lives on paper, which could be disastrous if we lose them. Instead consider using Google docs to store the information. I've used it to hold information I may need someday, but I don't want to keep on my cell or PC. For example, a warranty number or codes for my universal remote. I also keep phone numbers of all my credit card companies in case I lost my wallet and need to cancel them in a hurry. (But only the last four digits of my credit card info, see why below). Consider also scanning receipts of big ticket items and storing them online as well, in case you need to return them or need repairs covered under warranty.

How about personal information?

Did you know it's a lot easier to get a replacement passport if you have a copy of the old one on paper? That is why many people keep a copy in their luggage when they travel, in case their handbag with the passport gets lost. So why not scan your passport, birth certificate, driver's license, etc. and email them to yourself as well? Sadly, online services are not that secure yet to hold your life's critical information. Consider scanning them and then burning them to a CD, which you can store offsite, (office, garage, at your parent's place, etc.)



Content copyrighted by the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA)

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