Stay Informed

The Web is an enormous resource, with many quality sites that can provide quick, easy access to accurate information. Without leaving the computer, you can learn about the day’s news, download tax documents, check the weather and find the local bus schedule. As you spend time exploring the Web, you will begin to develop your own list of trustworthy “go to” sites, but here are a few helpful destinations to get you started:

Search

Girl with paperworkMany of your online sessions will begin at a search engine such as Google, Yahoo! or Ask. A search engine allows you to type what you are looking for and then finds relevant websites. Some tricks to getting better results faster:

Keywords – The more narrowed down you can get your Web searches from the beginning, the more successful your Web search usually will be. For example, if you were searching for "coffee", you'd get way more results back than you could use; however, if you narrowed that down to "roasted Colombian coffee", you'd be more successful.

Phrases – If you're looking for an exact phrase, put it in quotes. Otherwise, you'll come back with a huge jumble of results. Here's an example: "long haired cats." Your search will come back with these three words in proximity to each other and in the order you intended them to be, rather than scattered willy-nilly on the site.

Use Basic Math – Broaden or narrow your search efforts by using the addition and subtraction symbols. For example, you are searching for Tom Ford, but you get lots of results for Ford Motors. Easy - just combine a couple of the symbols and words to get your results: "tom ford" -motors. Now your results will come back without all those pesky car results.

Find the Word – Sometimes your search results page may not make sense; especially if it's a long, wordy document. Just hit Ctrl (at the bottom left of your keyboard), then F (for Find), and then type in the text you are looking for. Then your word or phrase will be highlighted.

News and Weather

Group of people in front of computerThe Web is the best place to find breaking news from newspapers all over the world, and in-depth background on any news story you might read or hear about. Whether it's local news about your sports team or information on local businesses, you'll be able to find it using these resources.

To find the online version of your favorite newspaper or local news TV channel, just type the paper or channel’s name into a search engine. Most news sites from the New York Times to local papers offer most of their stories for free.

If you want a collection of the latest news from all over the globe, Google News offers a constantly-updated news feed that pulls stories from thousands of publications from around the world. Yahoo! News and AOL News are similar sites.

Government Services

There are literally hundreds of thousands of US government and government-related Web sites online today. These sites consistently help you to find what you need quickly, easily, and efficiently.

The Government of the State of California – This is the doorway for dozens of state services, which include consumer information, health notices, traffic and transportation updates, election/voter information, tax information and even the winning lottery numbers.

Social Security – Need to apply for social security benefits? Replace your Medicare card? How about plan your retirement, qualify for disability, or get help with name changes? You can do all these things and more at Social Security Online.

California Department of Education – Multi-lingual documents, testing and school district information, calendars and directories are all available here. You can also read the latest updates from the state Board of Education.

California DMV – A very organized site that will help you find the state driving laws, explain the process for getting a license and registering a vehicle. You can also schedule an appointment for your DMV visit.

Immigration Services – To download a guide to naturalization, prepare for the naturalization test or find a local English as Second Language class, visit Welcome to the USA. If you want to view a timeline for naturalization or check on the status of a case in California, check out the United States Center for Immigration Services, California Service Center.

Health

The Internet can be a very useful resource for health related information, from researching illnesses and medicine to learning what healthcare benefits you’re eligible for. Below are a list of sites to help you stay informed on your health.

WebMD: WebMD has become one of the most popular sites online for finding credible health related information. They also provide access to supportive communities, in-depth reference material about health subjects that pertain to you, up-to-the-minute public health information and much more.

The California Department of Public Health is dedicated to optimizing the health and well-being of the people in California. Here you can learn about the various programs and services affecting you and your family from the California Drinking Water Program to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program that helps families by providing checks for buying healthy supplemental foods, nutrition education, and help finding healthcare and other community services.

To find more localized information such as the free and low cost health services in your area you can also visit your cities’ department of Public Health site. For the Los Angeles Department of Public Health click here.

The Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of virtually every type of complex illness. They have three main websites that provide information and services from over 3,400 physicians and scientists to help you manage your health.

  • Mayoclinic.com for managing your health with useful and up-to-date information in more than 35 disease and lifestyle categories.
  • Mayoclinic.org to learn about medical services at Mayo Clinic, how to make an appointment and the unique Mayo Clinic Model of Care.
  • Mayo.edu to explore the world of medical research and education at Mayo Clinic, from laboratory and clinical trials to their schools for aspiring and current medical professionals.

Online Banking

Man in front of computerOnline banking allows you to conduct financial transactions and manage your accounts via a secure website operated by your bank, credit card or financial institution. It provides you with convenient access to all of your account information to help you manage your finances. Below are just some of the other benefits you should be aware of:

  • Free and easy to set up
  • Secure
  • Electronic bill pay will ensure you never miss another payment and incur a late fee again
  • Easily transfer funds between your checking and saving accounts or to a friend or family member's account
  • Apply for a loan or set up automatic payments for your loan
  • Access your bank statements quickly and easily and even print them from your computer

There are now independent Web services popping up to help you better manage your finances. Mint.com is one of the most popular online financial management tools right now and is completely free. With Mint.com you can manage all of your accounts in one place from loans to credit cards, and see where you’re spending your money and set up realistic budgets to manage your finances.Mint.com also recommends ways to save money by analyzing your current spending. The typical Mint.com user finds $1,000 in savings in their first visit.