From:         Patrick Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 28 July 2005 - Firefox Updates / Google Maps Hybrid

TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: How to Update Firefox / Google Maps Hybrid

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

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, the landing place of Caesar's army during the Roman conquest of Britain.

On with the show...

How to Update Firefox Audience: All Firefox users

[This part of today's Tourbus post is also available as a free (albeit overmodulated) on-screen movie at ]

There are so many security holes in Internet Explorer that I simply no longer use it. I use Mozilla Firefox instead. While Firefox is a significantly safer browser--we Firefox users don't have to worry about the drive-by spyware and adware installations that constantly plague Internet Explorer users--Firefox is not without its own share of security problems. In fact, in the last eight months or so, there have been a BUNCH of vulnerabilities found in Firefox. Check out if you don't believe me.


That doesn't mean that Firefox is a lousy browser. Rather it just means that, just as you need to update Windows to make sure your computer has all of the latest Microsoft security patches, you also need to update Firefox from time to time.

There are three ways to do this:

1. Download and install the newest version of Firefox.

2. Click on the hidden "Check Now" button inside of Firefox.

3. Click on the red update arrow icon whenever it appears in

First, you can just go to, download the latest version of Firefox, and install it. You don't have to uninstall your old version --the Firefox installer automatically upgrades your old version to the new version and it also keeps your old Firefox bookmarks and settings intact. Hopefully.

The second way to upgrade is to, while in Firefox, go to Tools > Options. Under "Advanced," scroll down and under "Software Update" click on the "Check Now" button. [And between you and me, could they have made this button any harder to find?] This causes Firefox to call home and check to see if you have the latest version. Just follow the on-screen prompts to upgrade.

The third way to upgrade to the latest version of Firefox is the easiest: look in the upper right corner of your Firefox screen. If there is ever a security update for Firefox, you'll see a really small red arrow icon up in that corner. Click on that arrow icon and it's just as if you clicked on the "Check Now" button in Tools > Options. Firefox calls home and automatically gets the updates.

All three of these methods--downloading and installing a new version, going to Tools > Options > Advanced, or clicking on the red arrow whenever it appears--check not only Firefox but also your Firefox extensions for any security updates you may be missing. The upgrade process itself is pretty straightforward. Click on "Install Now," sit back a bit while Firefox downloads the necessary updates, and then follow the on-screen prompts. That's it.

Since there have been a bunch of patches since Firefox was first officially released in November 2004, I strongly recommend that you update Firefox as soon as possible. You're going to be a LOT happier in the long run if you do. Once you've updated, just keep your eye out for that little red arrow icon and you should be okay.

Google Maps Hybrid Audience: Everyone

Yeah, yeah, I know. We've already visited Google Maps twice this year. What can I say? The folks at Google keep adding cool, new features.


A little while ago, Alan Taylor at was playing around with the Google Maps programming interface [available free of charge to programmers at ] and he stumbled upon a way to combine Google's street maps and satellite images on the same screen. You can find Taylor's "Google Maps Transparencies" page at

Just as if you were at Google maps, you can drag the image [in this case either the foreground or background image] to scroll around the map. Taylor also added some new features of his own including a way to toggle views, change the level of foreground transparency, and even key in your own latitude or longitude. I was so impressed with Taylor's "Google Maps Transparencies" page that I added it to my ever- growing list of potential Tourbus stops.

And then, last Friday, Google introduced Google Maps Hybrid which is "Google Maps Transparancies" on steroids. Just point your web browser to

search for something, and then in the upper right corner of the map click on the "Hybrid" button. Google Maps will show you a satellite image with street names and points of interests laid on top of that image. For example, if you go to

you'll see Tower Bridge--and the surrounding street names--in London. And, yes, like all Google maps this map is draggable.

Google Maps is still in beta, so some of the hybrid maps are still a little off [like Tower Bridge Road or streets north of Ground Zero at .] Still, the Hybrid maps feature is an amazing addition to a tool that is already amazing.

New TPS Cover Sheets Audience: Fans of the movie "Office Space"

Finally, if you have never watched the movie "Office Space," our last stop will make absolutely no sense at all to you. Please accept my apologies in advance. If you *ARE* a fan of the movie this next stop, which is a link to an Adobe Acrobat file, needs no introduction:

Yeeeeaaaaaah. :P

That's it for today. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon.

.~~~. )) (\__/) .' ) )) Patrick Douglas Crispen /o o \/ .~ {o_, \ { / , , ) \ `~ -' \ } )) AOL Instant Messenger: Squirrel2K _( ( )_.' ---..{____} Warning: squirrels.

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