December 20, 1999 -- Newsletter #59

By Joe Burns

December 20, 1999 -- Newsletter #59
Please visit http://www.htmlgoodies.com

Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

The next newsletter will be the final Goodies To Go! of 1999. Y2K looms large and I intend to write my predictions regarding what I think will happen.


I'd like to take this bit of space and wish you and your friends and family a very happy holiday season. May this year be one you remember for a long time to come. I officially give you permission to go off your diet until the end of the year. Now is the time for cookies!

Happy Holidays from this year's HTML Goodies staff: Amita Guha (my new content editor!!), Ron Copeland, Shannon Brown, Lindy Humpheys (who's moved on to work with Earthweb Press), Mike Green, Tim Ryan, Jack and Murray Hidary, and anyone else who's found and fixed a misspelling.

Joe Burns


Did you hear

Cruise ships are shunning the Mississippi and New Orleans over the New Years holiday. Many companies are afraid the older ships are not Y2K compliant and could cause crashes.

Youve probably heard about Sprint now offering access to certain Internet functions on their digital cellular phones. Well, its now been reported that Dell is getting into the wireless fold too. The BlackBerry device went on sale at the end of November and can attach to LANs like a pager connects to service. Look for businesses to jump on this first and on-business consumers soon after.

Y2K might not be as scary anymore, but according to CNN.com, many major businesses including PepsiCo and American Express will have special Y2K staffs on site over the change to January 1st, 2000. Remember than many of these companies are global so they have the joy of going through January 1st twelve times as the world turns.

Forget Zips and Jaz, why not just take the hard drive home with you? Digital Wallet, a 4Gig hard drive available from Minds@Work, ($399) may show the future. Imagine a computer as just a display box until someone shows up and pops in their Digital Wallet. When that person leaves, they pop out their hard drive and its as if they werent there. The next person plops down and the process starts again. Pretty clever.

Now onto todays topic

If you havent heard of Project Atlas II (PA), yet you may soon get more than an ear full. PA is the latest and greatest survey of World Wide Web usage gathered by the International Data Corporation (IDC). IDC ( http://www.idcresearch.com/ ) claims that this survey is the largest ever done on the Web. They may be right. It certainly covers enough global information.

With 1999 coming to a close, many of us, including me, believe that the world is becoming more and more the same because of this thing called the Internet. PA both backs up and thwarts this theory. Below are some of the findings taken from the IDC Web site.

The survey itself was offered to users in 13 different languages and housed on servers in both North America and Europe. Please note that users were not randomly selected so it cannot be said with any statistical degree of certainty that this applies to the general Web public. Thats not to say it doesnt, but in terms of the research, know that the respondents were not randomly chosen.

Responses came from over 100 countries. Twenty-Six countries including Japan, Sweden, Germany, Argentina, Malaysia, UK, and Hong Kong presented 100 or more responses.

Getting On Line

The majority of the worlds Web users get to the Internet through multiple portals. Home was the main portal (using an ISP account). Work was next, school was third, and a friends house was fourth.

In many areas including Peru, Malaysia and Denmark, kiosks and public places were also listed as a point of entry to the Internet.

The average for number of Internet accessible devices (mainly personal computers) worldwide was 1.5. Japan leads the average number of devises in the household with 26% having three or more. The USA was next, 13%, and the UK, 7%, having three or more devises in their homes.

How Much Does It Cost?

Getting on the Web costs money. Any idea who pays the most and who pays the least to be attached? According to the AP, Argentina leads the way with an average connection cost of $78 monthly (U.S. dollars) to attach. Germany was next at $43, and Japan was third at $41. On the low end, Sweden and Singapore win coming in at only $18 and $22 respectively.

Making Purchases Over the Web

PA noted that the amount of Global Internet Commerce was higher than expected. Less developed countries (PA term) like India and China noted up to 25% of users had made a purchase online.

The countries with the highest percentages of their online users making purchases over the Internet were the U.S. (72%), Switzerland (64%), Puerto Rico (63%), and Korea (56%).

The amount of money people spent online for a single purchase ranged from $35 to $70. This did not include people purchasing for a company. There were personal purchases. Including purchases for work surely would have upped the averages.

The items purchased over the Web were mainly books and magazines, gifts, and computer supplies. However, what was purchased on line varied greatly from country to country.

The U.S. and UK spend money on investments. France and the Netherlands spend mostly on travel. Peru and Chile spend on Electronics. Japan and India mainly buy gifts.

In almost all countries, the majority of online purchases were made within the borders of the country the user was in.

The Language of the Web

It was no surprise that most respondents reported wanting to visit pages that were written in their own language. English sites, the number one language on the Web, were obviously listed as highly visited. In fact, respondents in Hong Kong, India, and the Netherlands reported visiting English sites more than their own language sites.

The PA survey itself was taken mostly in English even when the native language was offered. Hispanic respondents chose the English survey version over Spanish over half of the time. Chinese respondents chose the English survey three fourths of the time.


Over 40% of respondents reported being very concerned about online security issues, yet also report making over $1000 in credit card purchases each year. One country, Sweden, noted that fears had actually been allayed and online purchasing was up because of it.

What It All Means

The Web is no longer a U.S.-centric English-language item. The Web is global in terms of both users and marketplace. Although were all on the same Internet, connection fees and usage differ from country to country. Take from the results of this survey what you will.

What I gave you above was only what was offered for free on the IDC Web site. If youd like, you can get the full report by purchasing it from IDC. Contact Janis Dempsey at 1.800.843.4935 or by email at jdempsey@idc.com. I dont know the cost. Youll need to discuss that with IDC.

I have no doubt that IDC will undertake this entire process all over again. Itll be interesting to see how the results will change in just one year.


Thats that. The weeks just fly by. Soon itll be 2000 and Ill mess up my first four checks of the year by putting 1999.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And Remember: Do you know why eyes often turn red in a photograph? Blood. Really. The little black dot in the middle of your eye is not black. Its clear, it only looks black because theres no light coming from behind it for illumination. However, when a flash goes off, the light enters the eye and reflects off of what it finds. It finds blood vessels, blood is red, and thats what reflects.

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