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        Help Channel / HTML Viruses? / Headlights Again
     TODAY'S TOURBUS ADDRESS(ES):,4586,2168134,00.html

Howdy, y'all!  I want to thank the folks at "Advisory Panel,"
Talkway," and "Affordable Computer Supply Marketplace" for bringing
today's journey of our little bus of Internet happiness to you.
Please take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for
keeping TOURBUS on the road!

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On with the show ...

Help Channel

In a few weeks, zillions of people around the world will:

     1. Receive computers as holiday.jpgts;
     2. Connect to the Internet;
     3. Send you email warnings telling you not to open email
        letters containing the subject line "Good Times" and
     4. Turn to you for help because you have been on the Net for a
        while and therefore know EVERYTHING there is to know about
        computers.  :P

Certainly, I hope that you will point your "newbie" friends to the
three most important Web sites in the world:

     1. TOURBUS (of course) at
     2. Yahoo! at
     3. David Emery's Urban Legends page at

While you're at it, you might also want to point your friends to
ZDNet's Help Channel homepage at 

To tell the truth, this URL isn't for the Help Channel's homepage (it
is for the Help Channel's site map instead), but your friends will
never know the difference.  :)

The ZDNet Help Channel is the mother lode of computer-related how-to
information.  This site talks about EVERYTHING!  ZDNet's Help Channel
offers complete sections on how to use Windows 98, Windows 95, Windows
CE, NT Server, NT Workstation, and even Macintosh!  On top of all
that, the Help Channel offers two sections you simply should not miss:

     - The "tutorials."  ZDNet offers free tutorials on how to add or
       repair computer hardware, as well as how to use Windows
       machines, Macs, the Internet, Microsoft Office, and several
       other software applications.  In fact, you should pay
       particular attention to the "Applications Tutorials" in the
       Applications section of the site because their tutorials teach
       you how to use most of the software you probably own.

     - The "Tip Zone."  ZDNet offers over 11,000 tips on how to use
       software applications, games, hardware, and so on.  You can
       access the Tip Zone section directly at

My only complaint about the Help Channel is that it contains so much
information that the site is somewhat intimidating (and is it just me,
or is this a "problem" that ZDNet has on almost ALL of its Web
pages?).  Still, I think you will agree with me that it is better to
have too much information than too little.  :)

A Personal Comment

Your fearless bus driver is faced with a dilemma.  Some of the
passengers on our little bus of Internet happiness would be quite
content if I stopped debunking urban legends altogether.  These riders
argue that my first goal should be to write about neat Internet sites
and tools.  I should also add that all of these riders have cooties.
(Actually, they have a compelling argument.)

Other TOURBUS riders have written to me recently, telling me how much
they enjoy my urban-legend-squishing.  In other words, one group of
riders hates my urban legend debunking, the other likes it.  Hence the
dilemma.  It is at times like these that I am reminded of the immortal
words of my father who told me "get me another iced tea on the rocks
before I kill you."

Actually, my dad taught me to always strike a happy medium.  While
this advice led to an unfortunate episode in my life where I went
around slapping whistling psychics, I understand now that my dad was
teaching me about the importance of compromise.

As a compromise, I promise that every TOURBUS post I write will
include information about at least one non-urban-legend-related Web
site.  That way, the folks who don't like the urban legend stuff can
still find out about neat Internet sites in each TOURBUS post, and the
folks who like the urban legend stuff can still get their weekly urban
legend "fix."  :)

HTML Viruses?

You may have recently seen warnings in the media that a new class of
computer viruses called "HTML viruses" has been found, and these
viruses can hide in Web pages or email messages.  The story is true
... sort of.

HTML viruses exist (or at least they exist in test environments), but
they don't really cause any damage.  In fact, HTML viruses are a
little hard to explain, but an article I found at ZDNet does a pretty
good job of cutting through the hype to tell you what is *really*
going on:,4586,2168134,00.html 

The story explains how HTML viruses are more theory than reality.  In
other words, you don't have to panic.

Another Look at the "Flash Your Headlights and Die" Story

Yes, we talked about this before.  It's back.  The latest version of
the "flash your headlights and die" story says that

     The police officer who works with the DARE Program at the
     elementary school passed this warning on to us and asked that I
     share it with anyone who drives.

The story then warns that gang members have a "new common gang member
initiation 'game'": they drive around with their headlights off and
murder anyone who flashes their headlights at the gang members.

As silly as this may sound, there are *STILL* people out there who do
not believe me when I say that the "flash your headlights and die"
story is a well-known hoax.  So, I have a few questions for the people
who still don't believe me:

     1.  What is the police officer's name?
     2.  Is the police officer a male or a female?
     3.  What is the police officer's rank?
     4.  On what police force does the police officer serve?
     5.  What is the name of the elementary school?
     6.  In which city is this elementary school located?
     7.  What is the name of the gang that is murdering people for
         flashing their headlights at gang members?
     8.  Does only one gang play this "game," or are other gangs
         involved?  If other gangs are involved, what are their names?
     9.  Is this gang initiation limited to only one city?  If it is,
         what is the name of this city?  If not, what other cities are
     10. What other countries are affected?

Let's see if I have this right: an unnamed police officer who works
with the DARE program in an unnamed elementary school in an unnamed
city in an unnamed state in an unnamed country is asking that we
forward a message warning all of our friends that an unnamed gang or
unnamed group of gangs in an unnamed city in an unnamed state in an
unnamed country is killing people (who are also unnamed) who flash
their headlights at these unnamed gang members.  Is this correct?  Am
I missing something?

Obviously, the "flash your headlights and die" story is a hoax.  If
you want to find out more about this hoax, take a look at David
"please tell squirrel-boy to stop calling me a magician" Emery's Urban
Legends site at .

Scroll down to the bottom of this page for links to several news
stories about this hoax, including a recent article that appeared in
the Washington Post (the quote at the end of the Post article is
particularly amusing).

A Final Comment

For those of you in the States who are wondering what happened to
Dionne Warwick and her ever-present infomercials: the company that ran
Dionne Warwick's "Psychic Friends Network" declared bankruptcy on
February 2nd, listing assets of US$1.2 million and liabilities of
US$26 million (see  You'd
think they would have seen that coming.  :P

        Help Channel / HTML Viruses? / Headlights Again
     TODAY'S TOURBUS ADDRESS(ES):,4586,2168134,00.html


NAWLINS (noun) - city situated near the mouth of the Mississippi
Usage: "Ju goin to Nawlins for Mardi Gras?"  "Nah, I'm goin to Mobile
       ... their parades throw Moon Pahs!"

[Special thanks to Fred Kracke for today's wurd]

You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 

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