Re: Re[3]: value of books

Subject: Re: Re[3]: value of books
From: "Matthew B. Hicks" <matt -at- UNIDATA -dot- UCAR -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 1995 10:27:59 -0700

On Fri, 17 Nov 1995, Arlen P. Walker wrote:

> (Further note to those unfamiliar with Michael Hart and Project Gutenberg: Go
> vist now. Do not delay, drop
> everything and do it now. It is the charter of Project Gutenberg to publish
> electronic versions of books, to create an electronic library which is freely
> available to all.

This is a noble endeavor, but I can't help thinking that if I can't lay
my hands on a copy of _Moby Dick_, what are the chances that I have a
computer, a Web browser, and a connection to the Internet, or even
access to one?

I suppose they're thinking that someday such links will be ubiquitous,
but we're still not at the point where everyone is guaranteed to have a
phone and a TV set (although the numbers without either are presumably
quite small). A recent article in "Dr. Dobb's Sourcebook" contained the
following statement: "By 1998, some forecasters are predicting 11.8
million Web users ..." That's what, 2 or 3% of the population of the

I don't mean to belittle the effort -- there is certainly nothing wrong
with what they are attempting and it will probably bear its fruits some
years in the future -- but I don't think anyone involved in the project
should overestimate its impact.

[The quote above is half of a truly awful sentence and part of a fairly
awful paragraph:

"When it comes to measuring traffic on the Internet, the numbers are
sometimes mind boggling. Last year, traffic on the World Wide Web
reportedly increased 1800 percent. By 1998, some forecasters are
predicting 11.8 million Web users, while others estimate the Internet
market will grow tenfold between 1994 and 1998. Clearly, the Internet
can't be ignored."

Do numbers in the millions really "boggle" anyone's mind anymore? Can
you say something "will" happen during a time period, when half of that
time period has *already* elapsed? Is comparing growth in "Web users" and
growth in the "Internet market" valid? Is tenfold growth a useful
measure when no starting value is provided? How many more problems can
you find in the above paragraph? (I didn't point out all of those I
found.) ]

Matt Hicks, Tech. Writer, Unidata * I may not agree with what you
Boulder, CO, (303)497-8676, ******* say, but I'll defend to the
matt -at- unidata -dot- ucar -dot- edu ************* death my right to mock you.

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