Colin, that`s some excellent information! I don`t think the topic went off into a browser resolution path, but rather, as Angelea indicated, a lot of people just assume that what they`re seeing on their computer is what everyone else also is seeing.
We had a topic some time ago about which was "better," having a site
that displays across the entire monitor screen (100%) or to constrain
the width to around 1000 pixels. The upshot then, was the constrained
(and centered) width just looks better all around. Unless it can be
done really, really well, as in cases like Amazon or Wikipedia, etc.
The main point is that with so many people trying to put together their
own Web sites, it`s important to understand that browsers only offer
"suggestions" as to what the site should look like on any given screen.
There aren`t any absolute defaults.
To that end, it`s useful to know that as of early 2008, it appears that
something like a 17" screen seems to be the monitor most computers are
using. Ergo, if you can "see" what your page looks like on that size
screen, with the common "screen resolution" (a whole other topic), then
you`ll see how your site looks to most other people.