Many of the visitors will have arrived by accident, through search engines, in which case they are presented with an eclectic collection of links and little explanation. Others will be expat readers of this newspaper. Some, like Costa Rica and Mexico, are one-offs; others, like Brazil and Brunei, are regulars. The overall pattern reflects the state of the world only too well, however. There are nearly as many requests from America as there are from Britain, while there have been none at all from the entire African continent, apart from South Africa.
A year ago, when Technofile was transformed from a column into a technicolour feature, its associated Web pages began to attract increasing attention. When I get my monthly digest of statistics from Poptel, the pages' host, I scroll straight to the list of places from where they have been requested. The record now shows that Technofile's pages have been visited from 44 different countries, and at least five continents. I must confess that an item on a Webcam in Antarctica that I ran a while back was, in part, an attempt to lure a visitor from the sixth continent. It may have succeeded, but without a record of a request from a computer with Antarctica's ".aq" identification tag, rather than ".au" for Australia, I can't be sure. It's a bit like birdwatching, although the romance of a global web almost too fine to glimpse is something quite different.