What Does The Internet Mean To Your Farm?
I know, there is a Computer Talk forum, but I think that is about the technical and detail side, not the business side.
The interent has replaced a lot of reference material to me. I look up a chemical label on line rather than have to get and keep a piece of paper. Useful when I'm trying to decide which herbicide to buy.
The vast majority of my banking is done on line, cutting down on postage and letting me roughly decide when to pay bills instead of having to put envelopes in a suspense file.
It's nice to see parts diagrams on line so I can call a dealer and ask about a specific part number rather than go through a discussion of what it looks like, where it is, how it works and so forth to hope I got the right one. Saves a lot of time and I get few incorrect parts that way.
I never thought I'd get involved in webinars but have found a few of enough value that I view (the program won't let me use the word for seeing something that is lke the device you put on your wrist) them once in a while.
I'm on a DSL on copper, so streaming video is problematic and I don't like to wait to have someone explain something to me on his or her pace. I'd rather read things. But, sometimes it is useful to see just how something is manipulated - sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
I play almost no games on line, but will check sports, especialy pro bull riding, college wrestling and what the rest of the world calls football (yes, the progarm won't let me use the name for this sport that begins with S) where the normal media doesn't cover the results very well. It's been 10-15 years since I've subscribed to a newspaper or magazine. I get my news mostly from the Google News aggregator, plus in specialized areas such as aviation, amateur radio and agriculture I follow a number of forum or reflectors. I daily track events in Germany, China and some other international venues. It takes only seconds to see if there is a story to follow. I do a fair amount of "grazing" on line and do almost all my research that way. If I don't get an answer, I usually have enough info to ask an intelligent question.
I don't use the internet much for social purposes.
Re: What Does The Interent Mean To Your Farm?
Much like you, Jim...banking, exploded diagrams for parts ordering, research on equipment purchases, etc. I get a lot out of our discussions here, and on the WIA page.
What often appears "social" is emotional/psychological support, or maybe just "misery loves company". (I have a husband in a brand new moon boot as of yesterday, and needed somewhere to gain perspective on how NOT to handle his newfound restrictions. My WIA friends helped me a good deal with that.)
Just printed out the forms to have four computer ventilation controllers remanned, for less than the price of one new. That pays for my Internet connection for the entire year.
I use it for directory assistance/autodial in the smartphone. GPS functions can be Internet-related in some mapping programs, I think.
The Google Earth site has been great for me to view progress on managing land and building assets, forestry, etc., as it tends to have very up-to-date aerials. Helps me see where I can tie in a fenceline with a connector, and point it out to the guys in my office.
I planned our EQIP fencing and watering grazing facility on maps this way, and sited our EQIP composter for mortalities on the phone with our integrator, with both of us looking at the shots on our screens. Deliveries get here more reliably now, with truckers and others using the programs, too.
We get all of our schedules for pig movements by email. That sets the foundation for the coming week's workflow, since we have to work everything else around livehaul. With PEDV breaking in much of the state, we get the company Hot List every weekday. This lets you know where not to travel, and could potentially help us see glitches in movements of equipment between infected farms and ours, with its high herd health status.
My CPA emails us our tax payment vouchers, then ships the actual returns for US Mailing at a later date. This saves me a day trip to Richmond, and about $100 in mileage.
A lot of our PPE and other safety needs are met by ordering online, for less than things can be bought locally, if we can even find them in the area, which is not always the case. Signage I can order stock from somebody like Gempler's, or draft and send the order to the local sign shop for custom needs and their execution.
I will pull up code sections that may be pertinent, since most localities have their entire county codes online now. Zoning and planning are my most frequent topics there.
Research in general, on topics of any manner, is my most frequent usage. I am not as troubled with memorizing trivia anymore...which frees my brain for other, higher-order thinking needs. If Mike wants to know what a certain thing means that he has just heard on television, I pop it up on iPad, and read the explanation.
Simple and clean, example being some of the terms his podiatrist used ysterday.
Used my smartphone to find that practitioner and make the appointment while waiting in a parking lot last week.
This is where the Internet functions best for me...in bits of time that were formerly wasted.
Almost forgot: Photos to insurance agents. When we needed to bind coverage on Jenna's rental house 100 miules away, I called messaged the tenant, had her message them to me, and then flipped them to the agent. Ditto for the new composting facility. Equipment may require a photo, or just an email for serial number and model, etc.
Saves scads of times showing them around, and keeping them out of biosecure sites. I would say I saved three days in the last eighteen months with this alone. Daughter uses it all the time for horse sales, too.