Goodies to Go (tm)
February 28, 2000-- Newsletter #69

By Joe Burns

Goodies to Go (tm)
February 28, 2000--Newsletter #69
Please visit

Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

You are probably reading this letter on leap day or the day before leap day, or, if the listserv messes up again, the day after leap day. I wanted to alert you to that fact because, according to experts, this is the final day that the Y2K bug could rear its ugly head. I make no predictions. According to the U.S. government, the Y2K bug is dead. See below.

Did you hear...

H&R Block had a software glitch that forced them to yank their online service offline. Apparently, if you were attached to H&R Block last weekend, not only could you see your personal tax return, but you could also see the returns of everyone else who was on line. Oooops.

I read an article that suggested Rock and Roll might clog the net. With all of the large music files being thrown around these days, bandwidth is getting clogged, especially at major university sites. (a music file sharing site), (a radio format site), and were suggested as the real culprits. One IT manager said it would be less costly to buy all their employees radios then to upgrade the in-house bandwidth. Look for owners to monitor and block sites. Many universities have already blocked Once blocked, look for a lawsuit.

According to the latest Yahoo! Magazine, the top ten wired U.S. cities are, starting with number ten, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, Atlanta, GA, Dallas, TX, Boston, MA, San Diego, CA, Seattle, WA, Austin, TX, San Jose, CA, Washington DC, and San Francisco, CA.

Last Friday, the Clinton Administration officially closed the books on Y2K claiming "mission accomplished". It only took 100 million dollars.

Now onto today's topic...

Fridays are bad for me at work, especially now that the weather's beautiful. I know much of the U.S. is under piles of snow, but down here in New Orleans, bright sunshine and 70-degree weather have been the order of the day.

I can't really just get up and leave on a Friday, so I do the next best thing, I blow off some non-work steam by surfing the Web. My university has a blazing fast system and I can hop all over the place. I'm gathering information for future lectures and research agenda papers of course. Maybe there's going to be something I can use at ESPN or The Straight Dope.

Do you do that? Do you surf at work? Many people do and sometimes bosses claim it kills productivity. Those who surf are claiming it's good because it's relaxing and it allows them to gather information quickly.

A rather large survey of surfing in the workplace has been completed and compiled by the fine people at Nielsen and Net Ratings ( They polled 6500 workers during January covering small, medium, and large businesses. I wanted to point out that January is the perfect month to do this survey because, I feel, that's the month when the least gift giving will be going on. You will probably get the truest look at habits without them being skewed by Valentines Day or Christmas.

The results tend to back up my statements above. Many workers are visiting sites in order to help them perform their jobs. I honestly visit sites I know can provide good information for my lectures. But then...a little auctioning ain't so bad either.

The survey suggested that almost 33 million people have access to the Web at work. Compare that to the 122 million who have access at home.

That said, dodge this: Workers spend an average of 21 hours per week online as compared to only 9.5 hours online per week at home. (Please note that these can be the same people)

Now, let's not blow this out of proportion. If you really want to get technical, I spend 40 hours per week on line at work. I have an Ethernet connection. That means I am always online. I wonder if that at-work number isn't a bit inflated. If it isn't, how in the world does anything get done? Once you figure in bathroom breaks and lunch, that leaves around 10 minutes to get any off-line work finished. ;->

People at work access bigger files than do people at home.

That makes sense. Work has those wonderful T1 lines that allow information to blow down the line. I actually take full advantage of that. I just can't bring myself to pay for an ISDN into my house. I still have a 56kps running the Goodies show. If I need a huge file, like the latest browser version, I download it at work, save it to a zip drive, and bring it home. It's easy. Of course, while it's downloading...I'm doing other important work-related stuff.

Adult sites are not visited at work as much as you might think. The survey reports they are still visited mostly from home.

People shop online both at home and at the office. What they buy is key though. More personal items are purchased at home more than work. This includes items purchased from and eToys. Business shopping occurs more often at work from online stores like, or

So, you're probably wondering, what's number one? Well, that depends on whom you ask. The Nielsen / Net Ratings study isn't the only study of work surfing habits. Media Metrix has been polling workers since 1997 through random phone calls.

According to the Nielsen / Net Ratings study, Yahoo! wins the game by attracting the most users. However - eBay wins with the most time spent at the site, an average of three hours each visit.

Three hours? Again, I truly doubt people are sitting at a screen, looking for that next piece of wonderment to truck off to the Antique Road Show. My guess is that they know they want an item, find it, bid, and then keep the window open in the background. eBay fans will tell you, the real bidding comes during the last minutes of a product's allotted time. People will sit in wait and then jump in at the last moment with the highest bid. If you're using an Ethernet connection, you have a much better chance at hitting the high bid than the person using AOL over a 28.8 modem.

According to Media Metrix's "Top 25 Web Sites-At Work" (Available:, Yahoo! wins again.

Media Metrix's measurement period was during December and measured what sites people visited at work by unique visitors. Their list boils down this way:

1. Yahoo
4. Netscape
5. AOL
7. Geocities
8. Lycos
9. Amazon

In case you're wondering, is a site dedicated to electronic greeting cards. That makes sense. This survey was done in December and we Net-heads are usually way too cheap to buy everyone a card., another commerce site was number eleven. eBay came in 15th in case you're wondering.

So surf at work. According to the Nielsen/Net Ratings survey, you're often doing work. Some of you are goofing off, but many of you are using the Web to get that job finished.

Hey, we've come a long way from Solitaire.


That's that. Thanks again for reading.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And Remember: Wheel of Fortune is in New Orleans during the week I'm writing this newsletter so I thought I'd end with a Vanna White fact. The first letter she ever turned on Wheel of Fortune was a "T".

Archive Home Page.

Make a Comment

Loading Comments...

  • Web Development Newsletter Signup

    Invalid email
    You have successfuly registered to our newsletter.
Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date