From the very beginning of our modern day Internet, I have watched many changes occur right before my eyes. I was intrigued from the first day I subscribed to AOL, in early 1996. During those early days, subscribers would be billed by the minute for AOL's snail-like connections at 14,400kps. If you had a growing family like I did back then, it was not unusual to pay nearly $200 a month for the opportunity of using AOL's so called "state of the art" services. If you figured inflation in over the next eleven years, that service today would probably cost around $400 a month for connection speeds that no one would ever tolerate. I remember trying to limit my kids' internet use because it was so expensive, however it was a futile attempt as our AOL bills kept rising. Today AOL service is FREE!
Back in 1999, it also cost $35 per year, with a two year minimum to purchase a domain name from Network Solutions, who had a near monopoly on this business. As the years went by, domain name prices kept coming down as more competitors entered the domain name business and today you can purchase a domain name for as low as $5.99 a year. Like all goods and services for sale, when there's more competition consumer's benefit.
Most teenagers today can't remember life without the internet. It seems like their whole lives revolve around being "connected" to their friends through social websites; e-mail; instant messaging; and text messages on cell phones. As adult consumers, we purchased over 100 billion dollars online last year. Today we wouldn't think about booking a round trip domestic flight through a travel agent any more as we communicate with people next door or around the globe through e-mail; instant messaging; or talk for free using programs like Google Talk or Skype. Yes the Internet has changed the way we conduct our personal lives and our business transactions.
My consulting business today revolves around files I review for my clients as well as sharing the learning modules and spreadsheet tools I have created to help my clients get exactly where they want to go. The Internet has given me and millions of others like me a mobile office to work from as we provide vital services. This medium has truly changed the way all businesses, large and small can present their products and services to their clients. And with the dawn of each year, we see technologies arise beyond anything we could have imagined back in 1996.
Speaking for myself, the internet has allowed me to connect with thousands of individuals each month who visit my eHappyLife.com website. This website was launched on March 1st 2002. Beyond the fact that I have been able to communicate with people from around the world, this site has also been responsible for meeting an individual who lived 13 time zones away and has become one of my best friends. This feat would have been virtually impossible prior to the internet age. His name is Gary Simpson and he lives in Perth, Australia.
By chance one day, Gary ventured on to eHappyLife.com, and sent me an e-mail of introduction. One e-mail led to another and we learned that although we lived on opposite ends of the world, we had a great deal in common. We both had an insatiable thirst to learn and grow as individuals. We've read similar books, listened to similar educational tapes and shared many similar values, disciplines and philosophies. We both authored similar websites and each shared a similar mission to help inspire others to be the BEST they could be - unconditionally. We both married women from similar heritages and even enjoyed the same tastes in wine.
After a few months went by exchanging lots of e-mails, we scheduled monthly phone calls which we continued regularly for the next four years. Our monthly phone calls lasted 60-90 minutes in length, discussing political, educational and family issues. We have learned so much during these calls about each others cultures. Back in 2002 those calls were quite expensive. Today we talk for FREE using Google Talk. We get lots of laughing in and thoroughly enjoy ourselves as true friends. Gary and his wife have made special plans to visit the United States soon for their first time ever and my wife and I will be hosting them for a week during their visit.
With all the qualities that I admire about Gary, including his 30 years of discipline as a seventh degree black belt in martial arts, Gary is also blessed with a talent to write and is an accomplished author. He has written several books and knows only one way to communicate, which is from his heart. He touches on all the human emotions and personal qualities we all strive to improve, in an effort to lead a fulfilling lifestyle. He communicates his vast knowledge and personal experiences with all of his readers.
The Internet has changed my lifestyle and made my world better in many ways. While there are many who will try to turn anything good into evil, it's important to focus on the good and make the best of all that the Internet offers.