From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 06 Sep 2005 - BSOD / Viruses / Firefox


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

In today's TOURBUS we'll discuss why the Blue Screen of Death may actually be your friend, how viruses spread... and yes, a shocking confession from your humble busdriver. Read on!

The Blue Screen of Death is Your Friend!

You've seen it... the dreaded "Windows has encountered an error" on that blue screen signalling game over, reboot. This is actually a feature built in to Windows, a free gift from Microsoft. Believe it or not, The Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) is there to help you.

How Does a Virus Spread?

A reader recently wrote in and said "I love your site and the Tourbus newsletter. I would like to know how a virus propagates over a network. If you get a virus on one computer - do other users on the network have to do anything to get infected? Is there a good way to protect against this?"

What a great question! There are several ways for a virus to spread from one computer to another. This article looks at those, and at ways to prevent the propagation of pestiferous programs.


Making Windows Run Faster

"Is your PC taking forever to start? Is everything running slower than it used to? Try my special recipe for Cyber Sludge Remover to clean that icky goo out of your computer's pipes, so Windows will start quicker, run more reliably, and go faster on the info-highway.

Firefox or Thunderbird Questions?

Lately I've been getting quite a few questions about Firefox and Thunderbird, which I've posted in the AskBobRankin [Inbox]. Some of them were Stumpers, and quite a few people stepped up and offered suggestions and solutions.

Recent items include "Sharing Browser Favorites", "Firefox Consumes the CPU" and "Thunderbird Setup". I also answered a question about noisy cooling fans and how an old toothbrush might make a difference.

If you use the Firefox browser or Thunderbird for email, please feel free to pop in and post any nagging questions you have. And if you're experienced with FF or TB, share your wisdom with others!


Is Firefox For Everyone?

Oh my... I can see the rotten tomatoes flying my way already. But I have a confession to make. I've tried Firefox on numerous occasions but I'm sticking with Internet Explorer, at least for now.

Why? There are a bunch of reasons. First off, I'm just not convinced that Firefox is any guarantee of better online safety. Sure, there have been some nasty bugs in Explorer, but if you run Windows Update on autopilot, along with up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software, there are no serious exposures that I'm aware of.

And Firefox has not proven to be immune to security breaches. If you're not running the very latest version, you could be at risk. As Firefox grows in popularity, it will become a more interesting target for hackers and crackers.


I also am annoyed that the fonts display differently on Firefox, there is no way to combine toolbars, and CSS elements just don't render correctly in some cases. I've also had numerous problems installing plugins. Firefox keeps telling me to install Internet Explorer, the Windows Media Player and other stuff I already have, just to make some silly plugin work. (And ummm, isn't the whole idea of using Firefox to GET AWAY from Explorer?)

By all means, give Firefox a try, if only to prove to yourself that you can live without Microsoft owning everything on your desktop. I don't deny that Firefox is an excellent browser, and it has some cool features like tabbed browsing that you may love. If it's any consolation, I did switch from Outlook Express to Thunderbird. :-)

The Next Best Thing

Linda from Marlinton, West Virginia recently wrote and said "The next best thing to Tourbus is the Smart Computing magazine that you guys recommend. I've been getting it since last summer and it has solved numerous problems for me and my friends." Thanks, Linda!

We hope other Tourbus riders will discover the Plain English answers to their computing questions that Smart Computing delivers every month. Do you want to speed up your PC? Eliminate the threat of computer viruses? Get rid of spyware and keep hackers out? Try Smart Computing today -- get your FREE TRIAL issue NOW!

That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
BSOD Viruses Firefox, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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