Everybody’s business

Think globally
Seen any innocuous swastikas on the Web lately? A new book co-authored by Chico State University Associate Professor Nitish Singh aims to teach businesses how to design Web sites appropriate for the “global marketplace.”

The Culturally Customized Web Site, co-authored by Arun Pereira of Saint Louis University, is based largely on the fact that only 35 percent of Internet users are English speakers, but most commercial Web sites fail to take into account cultural differences or even translate them into other languages. It’s a big marketing miss, Singh says.

“Now the companies are starting to realize it’s important to reach international online consumers,” he says. “The main thing they lack is the knowledge and the skill set.”

A start can be as simple as having the scroll bar in a different place or acknowledging gender differences. For example, the Excite.com Web site for Japan has separate versions for men and women. Colors, too, mean different things in different cultures. And the swastikas? Singh’s full-color book shows a swastika adorning a coffee Web site from India, where it is a religious symbol representing truth and nonviolence—though with its ends bent counterclockwise, opposite of the Nazi symbol.

Singh, who is from India, has been studying this topic for years as part of his doctoral dissertation. This fall, he’ll teach a course on Web localization, a field projected to be a $3.5 billion industry by 2007. Students who know how will be highly employable, Singh said.

Parading around
Everyone loves a parade. Except maybe the poor sap who has to scoop up the horse poop afterward.

This weekend, the Pioneer Day Parade will fulfill Chicoans’ lifelong need for a spring parade without all the riotin’ and lootin’ of the 1980s. (I don’t think there was actual looting, but I’m gunning for a job at the L.A. Times, so I thought I’d spice it up a bit.)

The theme is a celebration of Bidwell Park’s centennial. The parade, set to start Saturday, May 7 at 11 a.m., is the 10th such event since the return of the spring tradition, which originated back in 1916. This year’s parade will also honor Northstate veterans.

Stake out your spot early for the parade, which is expected to last about an hour and one-half as floats and other fun features make their way around the downtown.

Oh, and I was just kidding about the L.A. Times. But not about the poop.

Less sepsis: good
Enloe Medical Center had an impressive showing in the latest study by Health Grades, Inc. The hospital was one of only 46 hospitals in the nation to receive an award for Excellence in Patient Safety, placing it in the top 3 percent of the 4,200 hospitals studied in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Enloe got the same award last August.

The distinction means that patients are 50 percent less likely to have a “safety incident” at the hospital—including failure to rescue, infections due to medical care, a variety of postoperative conditions and more.

Health Grades is traded on the stock market and sells hospital reports for $9.95 apiece. Health Grades has between 180 and 190 hospitals as clients and also offers information on physicians.