August 27, 2001-- Newsletter #145

By Joe Burns

Goodies to Go (tm)
August 27, 2001--Newsletter #145

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.

Please visit http://www.htmlgoodies.com

Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

Did you hear...

Look out for the name PathControl. It's a product from RouteScience Technologies that allows users to analyze the Internet and find the fastest, least clogged-up, path to get from here to there. PathControl is priced over $100,000 USD so it'll be ISPs and Company sites buying it first, but sooner or later a home version will pop up. If it does what it's supposed to do, this will be a pretty big seller.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Michael Doughney's site PETA.org. No, Doughney isn't a supporter of animal rights. The site was purchased to create the parody site "People Eating Tasty Animals". The joke not only lost Doughney his domain, but also a third of a million dollars in court costs and attorney's fees. Ouch.

Guess what country uses the Internet the most? The U.S., right? Nope. It's South Korea followed by Hong Kong followed by the U.S. That's according to Nielsen/NetRatings. South Korean users spent an average of 19 hours and 20 minutes online during July.

Now on to the opposite end of the scale, authorities in France say that the Internet is just not catching on. According to a CNN story only 20 percent of homes in France have the Web. That's down considerably from 2000. Now cell phones, that's a different story. Over half of the country has one.

Now onto today's topic...

This past Saturday evening, my wife and I went to a fish restaurant that we were told was the greatest place within one hundred miles. It wasn't. In fact, my spicy catfish was so bad I simply pushed it aside in favor of the Italian bread.

Meanwhile, my wife was enjoying her meal so she was little conversation. I began listening to the foursome sitting next to us. The conversation dealt with a couple of gentlemen attempting to pitch a franchise idea to a thirty- something couple. It had to do with a record store containing a malt shop. The pitchman likened it to a Sam Goodies.

The pitch went on until the seller proclaimed that the main company would provide a Web site.

But wait! There's more! (To be performed in best pitchman voice)

The thing that really interested me was that this couple was seemingly clueless when it came to the Internet. The woman freely admitted she had never been on the Web. She was a mother and didn't have a computer. The husband had email at work and that was about it.

Well, this guy went on and on talking about how people from other parts of the country can use the Web to check out another city. One can read a local newspaper 1000 miles away and make reservations, and all the basics of traveling to a place without actually traveling to a place.

Now, the couple wasn't blown away, but they were impressed. What got me was that I heard from them what I hadn't heard, or felt, for a while.

These people were in awe of the Internet.

It's been a while since I have been in awe of the Internet. I'll bet it's been a while for a few of you to. I liken it to the first time I could drive on my own. My car was the greatest thing ever invented. I couldn't wait to get in it.

Now it's just a way to get from here to there.

I make my living on the Web and sometimes, when deadlines come looming, I get tired of the Web. I want to walk away from the Web.

Cookies. Pop-up ads. SPAM. Privacy issues. Nasty people. It all just piles up after a while.

If you haven't read it yet, I urge you to read a column by Andrew Leonard on Salon.com. It's titled R.I.P. World Birthday Web and you'll find it at: here.

It puts an exclamation mark on just what I had been feeling off and on lately. The Web was no longer the stunning thing that I couldn't wait to get on. It had become just a way to get from here to there.

Well, not to sound too maudlin, but listening to those two people got me thinking about a newsletter. This newsletter. What I actually had written for this week you'll get next week. I just wanted to get my ideas onto paper right away. I bored my wife all the way home with this one.

If the Web has become just a way of doing things, if it has become just another way of communicating, if it has become something that you somewhat dread using because of one reason or another, stop and walk away from it for a couple of days. Talk to a young kid just getting on the Web.

The Web hasn't become anything less than it was, we've simply taken it for granted. We've gotten use to it.

If this is you, if you feel this way now and again, oh how I wish you could have heard this couple being impressed by this guy's stories of the very basics of the Web. It would have re-ignited the Web lover in you.

Think about it at its very basic level. You are sitting in Snake's Belly, Idaho and are emailing a guy in Lucerne, Switzerland. That's unbelievable.

Think about this. I am writing this newsletter on a Sunday morning. This time Monday, over a quarter million people will receive this text.

Think about that. I know using repetitive words when writing is bad, but that's unbelievable. It becomes even more stunning when you compare what it would have taken to get 250,000 people this text just fifteen years ago. Could it have been done? Sure! It would have cost a ton, people would have had to pay for it and it would have made this newsletter a best seller.

Really! This newsletter goes out to more people than have bought my HTML Goodies book...and it's a best seller!

That's unbelievable.

If the Web has become just a way to do business or just another form of communication much like the telephone to you try to step outside of your world and see it all over again. I was lucky enough to listen to a true newbie being impressed with just the smallest thing.

I also think the next time I suggest to someone that I did something on the Web and he or she passes it off as old hat with a wave of a hand, I think I ask them if they really understand what it takes for that to happen. Hopefully I can get that person to stop, think, and proclaim...

That's unbelievable.


That's that. Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And remember: What do these line have in common: "Madam I'm Adam," "Harrah!" and "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!" They are all Palindromes. They are spelled the same way backwards as forwards.

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