Is it too late for resolutions?
Okay, so it's already the end of January. One of my resolutions is to update this little feature more regularly. See, I (my computer) caught a nasty virus (actually, I caught one too and was out for a week coughing and hacking!) which really slowed me down. It's still not the fastest machine on the info superhighway -- more like I am still cruising along in the far right lane with my hazards flashing.
Another resolution: no more excuses! It may be slow going, but I'll get there as long as I putter along. So here are my favorite three websites that I've been visiting in 2009.
As I gather my wits together and try to collect financial stuff to get my taxes done, I realize a lot of it is on Quicken software and being held hostage by my old Windows laptop that I haven't booted up for several months. I thought, how great would it be if there were a web-based financial tracking program (like Quicken Online) that I could just look at from anywhere? You know the minute you think of something that should exist, that it probably does, and this is how i found Mint.com with a quick Google search.
There were a lot sites that came up, but Mint and Quicken Online seemed to rise to the top. My assumption (which turned out wrong) is that you have to pay for Quicken, so I registered for Mint.com and have been blown away by how easy it is to use! It puts all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments on one page so you can see how financially irresponsible you are with just one click.
There are a bunch of free programs like this one and I'm a real believer now that it's the first of the year and you can start fresh with all your financial records. I liked that the Wall Street Journal's tech writer Walt Mossberg is a big fan of Mint and that its been written about a lot in the Journal, but no matter which program you choose I think you'll be surprised at how handy it is to have it all in one place.
Everyone, at one time or another, has a physical fitness resolution, and after an especially robust holiday foodfest season I am again riding that bandwagon. If you thought the financial software made you compulsive, try myfitnesspal.com. If you want to see where you're making mistakes in your eating habits, this is a website that tracks the nutritional value (or lack of it) of everything you're eating. It calculates your calories in and calories out (you earn back food as you burn calories exercising!) and it has a huge database of popular foods and exercise routines. You can also put in your own stuff and contribute to the database by copying down nutritional content off the back of your favorite snacks from the store. And no, it doesn't judge ... Sprinkles Red Velvet cupcakes are in the database! (579 calories, in case you're wondering)
My favorite feature on that website is a button that you push that says, "if every day were like today, you'd weigh ___ pounds in 2 weeks!" I like to punch that after I've just had coffee and a nice long workout.
My third most visited website so far this year is, of course, Facebook. There is a fan site for Today in LA which was started up by a teenaged journalist in New York, and I am trying to get some pictures and videos and updates together for it and sort of make it our own! I also just started my own page just for fun and also to update you on stuff that we're planning for our newscast (and maybe a blooper or two) but so far I only have one friend. Well, it's still early!