Sunday, April 20, 2003
Some of you may be lying awake nights, thinking to yourself, "I wonder how Estonia's high-tech industry is doing?" Well, you'll be happy to know that Estonia is blazing the Internet trail.
Banking is actually booming in this former Soviet republic -- via Internet. The number of Estonians who bank online soared from zero in 1997 to 700,000 this year. That's half the country's 1.4 million people.

From Tallinn to Tartu, scores of bank branches have closed, forsaken by cybersavvy Estonians. Nearly all businesses, from one-man shops to utilities, interact with banks in cyberspace...

The government also set up a site called "Today, I'm Deciding" to let citizens offer their own opinions on legislation. It's got a chat room where they can debate the merits of bills or offer up legislation of their own.

One suggestion offered on the site, which is continually monitored by a webmaster in the prime minister's office, called for easing restrictions on carrying swords in public...
Why is Estonia so successful? The article lists a bunch of good reasons. One of them is that, apparently, Estonians are... well...
Part of the technology revolution can be attributed to Estonians' famously taciturn but curious nature.

"If a Frenchman loves to sip wine with his friends and a German enjoys his beer, then an Estonian likes to sit behind his computer on a dark evening, surfing the Net and at the same time talking on his mobile phone," Estonian communications executive Toomas Somera once said.
I will now add the Nerdy Estonian™ to my repository of ethnic stereotypes. Thank you, Mr. Somera!

Rapidly developing Internet connectivity, connection between computers and politics, and the propensity to spend evenings in front of a computer -- does that mean that there are Estonian bloggers out there? Naturally.


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