Internet saves Christmas procrastinators

Christmas is exactly one week away. If you’re a procrastinator, you’re probably thinking, “No problem — plenty of time to start shopping for the holidays.”

If you’re one of those people, then the internet is your friend. If you’re willing to pay for the shipping, you can have gifts delivered to yourself or your recipients up to and, in some cases, including Christmas Day.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member and you want an online order to arrive by Dec. 25, you have a few deadline options. For free two-day shipping, you need to order by Dec. 22. For one-day shipping, your deadline is Dec. 23.

The standard shipping deadline for Prime and non-Prime members is today, Dec. 18, to ensure arrival by Dec. 25.

For other shipping service deadlines, here are links to schedules:

• USPS —

• UPS —

• DHL —

• FedEx —

What about net neutrality?

A lot of ink, real and digital, has been spilled over the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to kill its net neutrality rules.

Most of the reaction is in the form of hyperbolic arguments: With no rules forcing internet service providers to guarantee equal access and equal speeds to all online users, the open internet will either die by being crushed under the greedy feet of corporations seeking to dominate the online world, or the internet will blossom with cutting edge technologies and unfettered innovations that will benefit all consumers for the next thousand years.

The truth lies somewhere in between — a slow, subtle evolution of many little actions that, with time, will become an identifiable trend.

There’s already talk of undefined lawsuits by some net neutrality supporters. And it is possible Congress might choose to codify net neutrality into U.S. law.

Until the intentions of all the players involved becomes clear, it’s still business as usual online.


On Friday, America Online’s Instant Messenger service shut down after more than 20 years of operation. (

If you’re old enough to remember using AIM, then you know how much of a sad passing this occasion is — AIM was a key application for desktop computers for many years after its launch in 1997.

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack and other instant messaging and chat services all have digital roots tied to their deceased granddad, AIM.

Winter’s start

Thursday marks the astronomical start of winter. It arrives at 10:28 a.m. Central time and represents the shortest day of the year, also known as the winter solstice.

On Thursday, we’ll have eight hours, 32 minutes and six seconds of daylight. After Thursday, the days start to lengthen once more, several seconds a day, until June 21, when we’ll experience the longest day of the year, or the summer solstice. (

If you want to create and print a calendar for 2018, go to There are numerous options in designing the printable calendar that best suits your needs. Best of all, it’s free.

Keith Darnay is the Tribune’s online manager and has worked in the online world for more than two decades. His site is at

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