Russia and the Internet: The Internet and the World Wide Web have taken Russia by storm. There are now thousands of Websites in Russia covering every imaginable topic: stock trading, blood plasma transfusion tech-nology, travel, and daily news. Electronic mailing lists will keep you up-to-date on what is happening in the Russian community around the world. There is a whole Usenet heirarchy devoted to Russia: Relcom carries on-line discussions on subjects such as music, commerce, accounting, computers, kids, religion and more. For more information on Relcom topics and Usenet in general, visit sunsite.unc.edu/usenet-i/hier-s/relcom.html.
The volume and variety of Internet services in Russia increases every year. The volume of services provided by the Russian segment of Internet was $220m in 2001, which is 50 percent more than in 2000. By the end of 2001 the number of regular Internet users reached 4.3m and the number of people who used Internet only once was more than 12m. Over the past two years the number of Internet users has increased by 2.9 times and the number of e-mail users has increased by 3 times.
As predicted the number of wireless Internet users is to surge in Russia. The number of individuals using broadband high-speed wireless Internet is expected to surge from 8 to 30-40 percent in the total number of Internet users in Moscow in 2002 and the number of corporate users may increase from 40 to 60 percent. Wireless high-speed Internet services would include telephony services, virtual private networks and client mail services.
TYPNote: The Traveller's Yellow Pages On-Line has a directory of Russian Websites organized by category.
Cyrillic Fonts on the Web: Cyrillic letters are not part of ANSI standard, which assigns numerical values to English letters, digits, punctuation, and other symbols for use on computers.
Unfortunately, there is no standard coding scheme for assigning numerical values to Cyrillic letters. As a result, several different coding schemes, also called "character sets", have evolved. For example, the Russian capital A is character #128 in Macintosh Cyrillic, but this same letter is character #192 in Windows Cyrillic.
On the Web the predominant codings are KOI-8r, Win 1251 (CP 1251), and Mac, with Alt and ISO-8859-5 as additional codings. All these codings support English, allowing visits to sites in English or Russian without switching fonts everytime you change languages.
You need a proportional font and a fixed space font for each of the coding schemes you want to view. These can be purchased fonts or downloaded off of the Web. Visit The Traveller's Yellow Pages On-Line for an updated list of font sources.
Using the Web: Using the World Wide Web requires access to the Internet; access is available privately through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or through a connection at your employer, at the local library or university or at a "cybercafe." Your ISP can also provide you with an E-mail account - a very useful way of communicating with Russia.
The Web is viewed using a Web browser such as Netscape Navigator (http://www.netscape.com) or Microsoft's Internet Explorer (http://www.microsoft.com). This software converts the incoming informa-tion into viewable "pages" on your screen. The latest version of both these browsers have support for various code pages. The Web technology changes so fast you should update your Web browser every 3 months.
Every Website has a web address that starts with http://. The Web address for The Traveller's Yellow Pages On-Line for example is www.infoservices.com.
TYPNote: Every web address starts with http:// thus we do not always put http:// before the web address.
The last part of the address such as .com, .net, or .gov indicates the type of Website or the location of the Webserver. Websites with .ru or .su are located in Russia.
WAP Sites, Search of Information: WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) is a global set of specifications and standards, which enable mobile users with wireless devices to easily access a server, and thus interact with the information available.
WAP in Russia: There are 2 cellular companies in Russia, which provide WAP - Beeline and MTS. Their overall WAP traffic starting from May 1999 up until now totals 2 mln minutes, and is still a lot taking into consideration the price for mobile Internet here which is around 0.15 c a minute, a ridiculous one for that kind of service. In the short run there will be another company coming soon on the cellular market - Sonik Duo - a joint venture of Sonera (Finland) and Centel (Russia), which should considerably lower the price for mobile Internet.
How to Use WAP: WAP has many advantages. Firstly, it makes Internet mobile. If you have a mobile phone, a PDA or any other WAP enabled device you can feel online wherever you are. You can be in the airport or on the bus, taking a walk along the downtown area or stuck in a traffic jam in the middle of the day, all you need is a WAP phone - and there you go. You can read or send e-mails, order food, theater tickets, go for the latest breaking news or the Dow Jones index. If you are lost, the new GPS system will come to your rescue tracking your location down to a couple of meters.
And secondly, with the technology moving on faster and the competition growing WAP is going to get even user friendlier. The devices are going to become cheaper and the speed of data transmission faster (e.g. with this new GPRS technology).
Of course, WAP has some disadvantages too; most of them are due to physical limitations, like slow data transmission speed and a small screen with low graphics. And lastly, WAP phones are costly at the moment (from $250) and cannot be considered ready to be targeted at the mass market.
MavicaNET - Multilingual Search Catalog..........
North-West GSM........... wap.nwgsm.com
(The essay about WAP was kindly given by NNT Telecom - Publishers of MavicaNET)
Internet Service Providers: The ISPs listed below seem to offer reliable connections to the Internet.