Surf The Internet For Free
Sure, But Theres A Catch
Nada, Nothing, Bupkis. Anything that sounds too good to be true usually isn't. But free Internet access uses an age-old formula to let web surfers gain access to the World Wide Web (WWW) at no cost. Radio. Yup, radio. After you buy the radio, you can tune into any kind of station you want, including talk radio, country and western, and even Texaco's weekly broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday matinees. The catch? You have to listen to commercials.
Even though they don't interrupt Puccini's Madame Butterfly for a sales pitch for Havaline motor oil, by the time the broadcast is over, you know who the sponsor was. The same is true for free Internet access. You get to view all of the sites I highlight each month in the "Web Profiles" department, but while you do, there will be ads floating somewhere on the screen. Where these ads appear depends on the service. You may be able to move them, but you can't hide them. In exchange, once you have a computer and modem, you pay nothing for web access.
These days it seems that everybody, including K-Mart, seems to be getting into the act, so be sure to read the fine print as to what comprises "free." It might be more expensive than you think.
Freebie E-mail & More
You don't need Internet access to make Juno work. All you need is a Windows-based computer, a modem, and Juno's software, which can be obtained by asking a friend to download it from their web site or by calling (800) 879-5866. There may be a small service charge (less than $10) to mail a CD-ROM disc, but that's your only out-of-pocket expense. Juno software is easy to install and you get to pick your own e-mail address and password.
The company offers three levels of service. Juno's basic service gives you free Internet access, as well as their signature free e-mail. You pay no monthly charges, no hourly billing, no start up or membership fees and no fees of any kind. In most areas, local telephone numbers provide access. Juno Web is a premium, but inexpensive (less than $9/month), Internet service that provides free technical support. Members of the free service pay $1.95 per minute to speak with a live Juno representative, but I've never called them.
Juno Express is a fast DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection and is limited to certain areas. I can't get it or any other kind of high bandwidth service other than satellite from any other vendor. If you'd like free access via a DSL connection, visit Winfire's web site at: www.winfire.com The company offers free ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) service, which is common for home and small business users. It's called asymmetric because most of its two-way bandwidth is devoted to sending data to the user's hardware. FreeDSL offers free service but you must pay for a $199 modem. Like Juno, it provides additional services with charges up to $34.95 per month.
What About Us Mac Folks?
Try These, Too
I wasn't kidding about K-Mart. You can get their Totally Free Internet Service in a number of ways, including downloading from their web site (www.bluelight.com/freeinternet) or ordering a CD-ROM with their software that is truly free, with no handling charges of any kind. Unlike some other free ISPs, Bluelight.com supports the Mac OS and includes Yahoo! Messenger for instant chatting and Yahoo! Companion along with some helpful browser tools. Looking for more free ISPs? Take a look at www.freedomlist.com (a web site that lists all of the free ISPs around the world).
Free E-mail, Too?
Look Before You€
Tip: One of the hottest trends in e-mail is the appending of an electronic "signature." Most users use this to add their name and some additional information about themselves, such as, their street address. Some users use it to call attention to their achievements, such as a new listing in Who's Who, the awarding of a Master's Degree in Photography, or just a pithy saying. A word of warning here. My friend, Steve, is currently adding little snippets onto his signature. For a while he was using "R2D2! You know better than to trust a strange computer!" This can be mildly amusing for a short time, but your regular e-mail recipients may get tired of it quickly if it is not changed regularly.
More Free E-mail
1 Free Email: www.lfreemail.com
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