One of the reasons that I buy more than just books/CDs/DVDs from Amazon.com is that I don't have to think about the user interface. It's not just about knowing something is in stock, as opposed to wandering out to stores -- which I mostly hate -- and then coming home empty handed. It's not just the convenience of online shopping. It's not having to keep track of sixty-eleven different damned interfaces, each one more abusive than the next.
Which Brings Us To...
... the online part of my end-of-the-year bill paying ritual. My professional memberships to APS, ACS and AAPT I've been able to do online for a couple of years now. The American Physical Society went just like December 2007. American Chemical Society changed their online login system, so I had to set up a new username and password. The American Association of Physics Teachers login swapped the username and password (which had been the member ID number) -- not the most secure system ever invented. But AAPT was the only one that wanted the verification numbers off the credit cards.
The NRA renewal was annoying only because the default for http://www.nra.org takes you to some glitzy blinking video-embedded news page, and the link to renewals was a mess. Eventually figured out you could get to real NRA homepage, login with last year's login and then the damned e-forms are filled out for you. Way to make easy and simple web page design guys.
Next up, the gifts to universities. All new this year, at least for me, was an online way to give to Northwestern. Only one of the lot which doesn't do Discover, which I can understand. What's good for us, isn't necessarily good for recipients. (grin) Then Michigan Tech -- bumped up their gift to equal NU's this year. As long as I'm making full-time money, you see. (grin)
And I'm done!
Finishing Up 2008
Thank goodness that yesterday's mess came up yesterday. So I could resolve that and still get the three snail mail bills in the mail. Post Office closed at noon today on New Year's Eve, and after writing late into the night -- I saved the files and copied them to the Swiss Army Knife flash memories at 4:04am -- I wasn't going to be up and showered and dressed in time to go the post office before noon, let alone starting to write up the bills.
So that leaves a bunch of cleaning up piles on the kitchen table, which will go into New Year's Day, and continuing to work on a story I'd like to submit tonight. Still not sure it will be done, but last night I started going through it to make it a coherent story and I like it so far. Which is always a good sign.