From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      Tourbus - 12 Mar 04 - Gadgets / MS Security Update CD

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOPS: Gadgets! / MS Security Update CD

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, where my governor can beat up your governor!

Thanks to the encouragement of your fellow bus riders, I sat for the CompTIA Network+ certification exam yesterday... and somehow passed with an 87%. YAY! Next stop: Microsoft's 70-210 exam, which I hope to take next month.

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On with the show...

Mmmm... Gadgets! Audience: Everyone

Hi. My name is Patrick ["hi, Patrick"] and I am a gadgetholic. Or is that "gadget-a-holic?" Anway, I'm completely and totally addicted to electronic gadgets like cell phones, laptops, digital cameras... One of my weekend rituals is to visit the neighborhood electronic stores to see what's new and exciting. I can also tell you from memory what software my local Costco Wholesale is selling and how much they're charging. And there are so many gadgets spread around my home that when I turn out the lights the glow from all the LEDs looks like I am making a night landing at LAX.

I'm a sick, sick man. :P

And I'm not just addicted to gadgets, mind you, I'm also addicted to information ABOUT gadgets: What company has just released the next cool toy; what new gadget doesn't live up to its hype; stuff like that.

Feeding my insatiable gadget information craving, however, has been problematic. Wired Magazine has a both "Fetish" section

and a "Test" section

that talk about the latest cameras, cell phones, computers, and other techno-toys, but Wired only updates those sections once a month. Wired also offers a weekly gadget review service called "Gadget Lab" at

but the Gadget Lab only reviews three gadgets a week. That's just not enough to satiate a serious gadgetholic like me.

That's where the gadget blogs come in. While most tech magazines like Wired or T3 [ ] are published monthly, the gadget blogs are usually updated several times a day.

What the heck is a "Blog?" Well, a blog is really nothing more than an online journal. In fact, the name blog is just a smushified version of the words "web log." And there are millions of these blogs out there focusing on topics ranging from California politics [ ] to humorist Dave Barry
[]. If you want to explore blogspace, a good place to begin is

Anyway, let's talk about my three favorite gadget blogs. Our first stop is at Gizmodo

Created by Peter Rojas back in August of 2002, Gizmodo is a constantly updated collection of stories and reviews about the latest must-have gadgets. Gizmodo is a little like Slashdot [] with pictures. The site offers one paragraph snippets of gadget information from other sources along with links to where you can find more information about a particular tech product or issue.

Gizmodo has undergone significant changes over the past couple of weeks. Peter Rojas left to create another gadget blog (which we'll talk about in a bit) and Joel Johnson has taken over the reins. That's actually a good thing because, in my humble opionion, Johnson seems to be updating Gizmodo more frequently than Rojas did. And one can never have too much gadget information.

One word of warning about Gizmodo, though: If you are easily offended, you might want to avoid the site. Gizmodo doesn't link to anything untoward, but the site currently has a picture on it of a [fake?] advertisement for Apple's pink iPod showing a lingerie model. Johnson also posted a link to a story about how Bluetooth users are organizing a protest against US President Bush. Some people may take offense to one or both of these stores.

As I said earlier, Peter Rojas left Gizmodo a few weeks ago to create a new gadget blog called "Engadget." You can find Engadget at

Like Gizmodo, Engadget offers one paragraph snippets of gadget news and reviews with links to more in-depth coverage. And while both Gizmodo and Engadget talk about the latest gadgets, I've discovered that the two blogs complement each other quite nicely. [See? I spelled complement correctly this time!] If you want to keep up-to- date with the latest in the gadget world, your best bet would be to visit both Gizmodo and Engadget every day.

Our third and final gadget blog is Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools blog at

Cool Tools is kind of like a Sears catalog of neat stuff. Not only does Kevin Kelly talk about the best "high technology" like personal video recorders and body fat meters, he also talks about low-tech stuff like the best emergency teeth fillings or camping accessories. And if you are looking for a great way to kill an hour or two, check out the archives on the left side of the page.

I hope you enjoy these three sites as much as I do. And if you know of any other gadget sites--or gadgetholic support groups--drop me a line!

Free Microsoft Security Update CD Audience: PC users (Win98SE and later)

Last week, our friend Fred Langa wrote about something that I am now going to steal and pretend I found all by myself. Seriously, though, Fred's Langalist is hands-down the best Internet newsletter around. If you haven't yet subscribed, stop what you are doing and head over to

to sign up.

If you're a semi-experienced PC user, you already know you need to manually run Windows Update every week and then download and install all of the critical updates that are available. For information about how to run Windows Update, take a look at

For information on why you need to manually run Windows Update weekly, check out my free PowerPoint presentation titled "Viruses, Cookies, and Spam ... Oh, My! How to Protect Your Computer from the Internet Nasties and How to Fix What's Bugging You on Your PC or Mac" at

Now, let me ask you a question: What happens to your critical updates when you format your hard drive and reinstall Windows? The answer is simple: They disappear. You've got to go back to Microsoft's web site and download ALL of those critical updates again.

Or, you could just pop in Microsoft's free Security Update CD. According to Microsoft,

The Windows Security Update CD will be shipped to you free of charge. This CD includes Microsoft critical updates released through October 2003 and information to help you protect your PC. In addition, you will also receive a free antivirus and firewall trial software CD.

That's the good news. There are three pieces of bad news:

1. The CD is only available for Windows XP, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows 98, and Windows 98 Second Edition (SE). Sorry Windows 95 users.

2. It'll take been two and four weeks for you to receive your free CD.

3. If you are outside of the United States and Canada, CD availability varies by country.

To order a free copy of Microsoft's Windows Security Update CD, or to see if the CD is available in your country, hop on over to

Think of this CD as a restore tool, something you'll use only if you decide to erase your hard drive and start from scratch. If you ever have to reinstall Windows, you can use this CD to install the older critical updates and service packs for your operating system. You'll still need to run Windows Update once you finish--the CD only contains critical updates released through October 2003--but this CD should speed up the process of getting your rebuilt computer up, running, and on its way to being fully patched.

One final word of warning, stolen straight from Fred Langa:

I assume that the costs of the CD are being borne in full or part by the vendors of the bundled AV and firewall tools. I haven't seen the CD yet, so I don't know how aggressively they might try to install themselves, or what other "gotchas" there might be. But still, it could be handy having the patches preassembled on CD. As long as you're careful--- read the licenses, and select a "custom" install, if one's available--- it's probably worth having the CD

[From ]

I hope this helps!

Tourbus Riders, Get Your Free Issue Of PC Today Magazine!

Don't hit your keyboard. Don't bash in your monitor. Don't stomp up and down screaming about how Microsoft Windows has ruined your life. Get PC Today! PC Today is the Ultimate Resource For Windows Users. Click here to get your free trial issue of PC Today now!

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

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

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