Survey: Internet a major source for personal, business info

May 13, 2001



If you have children in school or a computer at home, it didn't take a research institute to tell you the Internet is quickly becoming the preferred first choice for people searching for persona and special interest information.

A study by the Content Intelligence Group of Lyra Research reports that more than 60 percent of those surveyed chose the Internet over magazines or other sources when seeking out personal information.

On the job, 48 percent said they chose the Internet first when searching for business information.

The study proves something most of us know anyway -- the better acquainted people come with using the Internet, the more likely they are to use it as their first choice.

People seem to like the amount of control they have as users, the survey reported.

Internet users aren't taking time away from other chores to go online -- they are taking time away from in front of the television, the survey said.

Almost one-fourth of the online users said they watch less television since they began using the Internet, though 50 percent of those surveyed say a TV is in the same room with their computer. Ninety-one percent of users with a TV near the computer said they surf the Web while watching TV.

Since news is still a priority to most Web users, nearly half of those surveyed said they have read an online newspaper in the past 30 days.

The survey was based on more than 2,000 interviews with adults 18 and older.

WHERES GEORGE? In the Web's early days (that would be two years ago or more), everyone was doing all sorts of interesting and off-the-wall things with Web sites and Internet technology.

One of those sites was The Great American Dollar Bill Locator, also known as "Where's George?"

The site's premise was simple. Record the series and serial number on a $1 bill and track where that bill goes (hence the name).

Dot-coms have come and gone, but Where's George? has remained online, helping the curious and those with a little spare time on their hands track where the one dollar bills they've registered might travel.

The secret to tracking where the bills go is marking them. If you mark them too garishly, they'll be sent to the U.S. Mint and destroyed as damaged.

In the early days, the site suggested printing the Web site address,, on the border around the bill. They also sold small self-inking stamps that could be used to stamp a small, three-line message on each bill to alert anyone holding it that it was now registered on the Where's George? Web site. Some highlights from a highlight marker were also recommended to make get a user to notice the bill as ``marked.''

Each time someone checks on a registered $1 bill at the Web site, the date and location are recorded in a database. This creates a sort of travelogue of just where that bill has been, displaying the time between each recorded interval and the distance the bill has traveled.

Where's George? had slipped off my radar screen until recently when my wife received a $1 bill with a curious message on it.

The message read "See where I've been, track where I go!"

After registering as a user at the Where's George Web site, I checked my bill's history.

Someone registered the $1 bill I have Aug. 23, 2000, in Mishawaka, Ind.

Someone checked on it next on Jan. 9 this year from Elkhart, Ind., which is approximately 10 miles away from Mishawaka, according to the Web site.

I checked in to the site on May 7. The distance the bill has traveled (the known towns that are logged by the Web site) is about 270 miles.

It's an interesting project, and I'm looking forward to passing this $1 bill and seeing if it shows up again before it is returned to the U.S. Mint and destroyed.

For more information, visit The Great Dollar Bill Locator at

APPLE BRICKS & MORTAR. Apple Computer's "first" bricks and mortar retail store will open in Virginia on Saturday, May 19 -- the first of what is expected to be a chain of retail stores.

Rumors of such a move have been swirling for months, with Apple staying quiet on its plans.

In the past, the company has relied on deals with resellers, large electronics stores and its Web site for sales of its products.

It's likely that Apple will continue its sales through these avenues, since its stores aren't likely to pop up in every sales market.

Industry experts say Apple's stores will likely be carefully targeted to try and boost sales in areas where the potential is greatest.

The McLean, Va., store that will open soon actually isn't Apple's first retail store. The company has been operating a retail store next to its headquarters in Cupertino, Cal., for many years. Mac fans are speculating the retail stores will be based on the lessons learned at their original store.

For a tour of their actual "first" retail location, visit the Mac Addict Web site at

EMACHINES FOR SALE? Budget PC maker Emachines will likely go up for sale soon, according to a posting on the CNet Web site.

In its early days, Emachines was one of the fastest-growing PC makers in the low-priced field. It sold 1 million PCs in its first year.

The drop in sales that is affecting all hardware manufacturers has hit the three-year-old company hard. Its fourth-quarter 2000 sales last year were off by nearly 50 percent from the previous year.

With razor-thin profit margins, Emachine's business model required it to sell a large number of its low-priced computers. With sales dropping for all PC makers, that just isn't like to happen, analysts say.

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