It sounds like a contradiction to suggest that widescreen flat-panels are nothing but a big waste of space. LCDs have, of course, allowed us to reclaim the areas that were previously occupied by those bulky CRT monitors and are undoubtedly more aesthetically pleasing in the home and office.

But look at those large vertical strips on either side of websites such as ours. Whether you're lucky enough to have a widescreen display or not, there are significant portions of your screen that aren't being used effectively, and it only gets worse the further your panel stretches horizontally. (I'm conveniently forgetting all the obvious benefits of widescreen, such a greater viewing areas on spreadsheets and, of course, a better experience with DVDs.)

Research firm IDC reckons widescreen laptops will account for nearly 100 percent of the market by 2008, and one displays manufacturer told me today that monitors won't be far behind.

So, can we expect a new enthusiasm over the next couple of years from web designers intent on making the most of our screen 'real estate'?

Don't bet on it, as many as 35 percent of the world's web users still use 800x600 resolution and mainstream websites such as ours need to cater for everyone. In emerging economies users are expected to be particularly slow in adopting higher resolutions.

But at least the rest of us can look forward to handy widgets and the Windows Vista sidebar to fill the void. With all its delays, let's just hope the new OS is released before widescreens are the norm!