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Customizing Your Personal Start Page

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Customizing Your Personal Start Page

Using your Personal Start Page

Exploring the Shopping, Finance, and Support tabs

Customizing your Personal Start Page

Defining the Personal Start Page

The first thing you probably see when you connect to EarthLink is your Personal Start Page (see Figure 3.1). It provides one-click access to many of EarthLink's major features. First, take a look at some of the benefits of this Personal Start Page. Then, review the default layout of this page.

Figure 3.1 When you start EarthLink, you see your Personal Start Page.

Don't See Personal Start Page?

If the Personal Start Page is not displayed as your default start page, you can change it so that it is. To do so, click the Configure button, select the Browser icon, and then click the Advanced tab. Type start.earthlink.net as the homepage.

What Makes Your Personal Start Page Unique

Your Personal Start Page is more than a one-stop information center. It's your unique collection of tools and links so that browsing is made as easy as possible. The Personal Start Page offers valuable, convenient tools and information.

  • Your Personal Start Page is convenient—With a glance, you know whether you've got email awaiting you. From this page, you can access popular sites and services. You're a click away from developments from the world of show business, health, technology, and more.

  • Your Personal Start Page contains useful information and links—You'll find the weather in your city (or any city you specify), your horoscope, direct links to Web channels, and online shopping resources.

  • You can customize your Personal Start Page—One of the great things about your EarthLink Sprint Personal Start Page is that you can change it to suit your needs. You can move features around on the page to make the page easier to read. You can customize your favorite features so that they offer the information you want, or you can remove features you don't need. (More on this topic later in the chapter.)

  • You have quick access to popular features—In addition to being able to customize your Personal Start Page, you have one-click access to other features. One click on the Shopping tab, and you're at EarthLink's The Mall with two floors of shopping and a whole directory of shops to choose from. You can comparison shop or even create a list of your 30 favorite stores. A click on the Finance tab and you can explore the world of personal finance. If you want to update your EarthLink account, get support, or review network status information (such as call center wait times), click the Support tab.

How Your Personal Start Page Is Set Up

Before you learn how to change your Personal Start Page to suit your work style, let's highlight some of the key things you can do right from your Personal Start Page:

  • Check your mail—Is there email waiting to be read? If so, EarthLink's "Mail Truck" announces it. You can open your email using the EarthLink 5.0 MailBox software. You can also use the WebMail feature, which lets you access your email from any computer that has Web access (even if that computer is not set up to connect to your EarthLink account). For more information on email, see Chapter 7, "Sending and Receiving Email."

  • Access popular sites—You can find links to popular sites and services at the top of the page, including links to Amazon.com (the bookstore), eBay (the auction site), and E*Trade (the online stock site).

  • Search for information—Find the information you want on the Web in seconds by using the search engine of your choice. Pick from GoTo.com, Excite, Infoseek, Snap, Ask Jeeves, or LookSmart. For information on searching, see Chapter 4, "Searching the Web." You can also use the Web channels.

  • Read current headlines—Direct from the major news services—including ABC News, CNN, ESPN, CBS MarketWatch, Wired, and others—you can get the latest news from your city and around the world. Click any of the listed stories to read the associated article. You'll find stories in several news areas, including politics, business, technology, world affairs, sports, health, and others.

  • Handle finances—Get up-to-the-minute quotes for your favorite stocks (see Figure 3.2). You can also check out information on your personal financial portfolio, read the latest financial news, and learn about investing, buying, and selling real estate. For more information on finances, see Chapter 15, "Personal Finance."

  • Figure 3.2 In the Finance section of the Personal Start Page, you can look up stock prices or access financial links.

  • View reminders—Did you forget someone's birthday or anniversary? Or, perhaps you needed to deliver an important business report, got sidetracked, and forgot to get back to it. The free Reminder service available from your EarthLink Personal Start Page (see Figure 3.3) not only keeps you up-to-date on special occasions, it also lets you send out invitations for scheduled events.

  • Figure 3.3 Check out personal reminders and local weather on your Personal Start Page.

  • Get local weather and lottery information—Check the current conditions and forecasts for up to five cities (including your own). You can also use the search box to get instant weather reports on the cities you select anywhere in the world. Get the latest lottery numbers in your state, or in any state that has a lottery.

  • Shop—Get special pricing on complete travel packages, airlines, car rentals, and hotels by using the travel link (see Figure 3.4). You can also visit Amazon.com for books, Wherehouse Music/CheckOut.com for music, and eBay for auctions. You can also visit The Mall, with convenient access to many popular retailers.

  • Figure 3.4 A wide variety of topics can be found on the Personal Start Page.

  • Add your own favorite links—You can add up to 30 of your favorite Internet sites for quick and easy one-click access in My Links (see Figure 3.5).

  • Figure 3.5 You can access your favorite Web links and links to EarthLink's site.

  • Visit EarthLinks—Use these links to gain quick access to EarthLink's Web site, where you can find support information and service updates (see Figure 3.5). You can also access a full-featured support area by clicking the Support tab at the top of your Personal Start Page.

  • Get entertainment news—Before you buy a ticket to an entertainment event, you'll want to check out the reviews to find the ones worth seeing. The Movie feature previews the latest offerings from Hollywood. You can also view the Videos section to get information about new video releases (as shown in Figure 3.6). And if you like soap operas, read the Soaps section.

  • Figure 3.6 Your Personal Start Page lets you access entertainment-related news, stories, and gossip.

  • Find someone or get directions—Trying to find the email address of a long-lost friend or a relative? Or, perhaps you want to contact a business about a support issue. You can use the Directory features to search for email addresses and to access directions and maps to help you get where you're going as fast as possible.

  • Manage your Home Office—Turn your PC into a post office. You can buy and print stamps and also receive faxes and voice mail along with your email.

  • Check your horoscope—What do the stars show about you? Check your horoscope and those of your friends using a convenient pull-down menu (see Figure 3.7).

  • Figure 3.7 Check your horoscope.

  • Trivia—Who played Superman in the first live-action movie featuring the character? No, it wasn't George Reeves (he came later and, after one movie, went on to do the famous TV series of the 1950s). It was Kirk Alyn (whose career, after appearing as the "Man of Steel," didn't go very far). You can get a daily dose of fascinating facts from this feature on your Personal Start Page.

Over time, your Personal Start Page will evolve to meet your changing needs.

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