From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP: Canned Meat Update / YourSpeed

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, home of the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain and Garden on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan. :P

After my last post, several hundred fellow TOURBUS riders wrote in with suggestions on how to deal with web bugs. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! In fact, so many people wrote in that I am *STILL* reading the replies. I'll try to collate everything over the next couple of days and send you a summary on Sunday evening.

Until then, let me remind you that TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors. Please take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for keeping our little bus of Internet happiness on the road week after week.

On with the show ...

Update: My Never-Ending Spam Study

Does replying to spams actually increase the number of spams you receive? That's what your fearless bus driver is in the process of finding out.

Two weeks ago, I collected all the emails I received over a 24 hour period (7 PM Monday 4/28 to 7 PM Tuesday 4/29), manually sorted them, and replied to all the spams that offered instructions on how to unsubscribe via email. To hide from the nasty Web bugs hidden in many spammers' HTML-based emails, I tweaked my copy of Eudora so that it wouldn't preview the emails and also wouldn't use Microsoft's viewer. And, just to be safe, I disconnected my computer from the Internet prior to opening and sorting my emails.

Last week I gave you the baseline numbers for my little "does replying to spam increase your volume of spam" study. Here are the latest measurements from week 1 (7 PM Monday 5/5 to 7 PM Tuesday 5/6):

Total emails received 29 April: 730 5 May: 706

Personal emails 29 April: 22 5 May: 16

Viruses (detected by Norton AntiVirus) 29 April: 2 5 May: 8

Spam Error Messages - error messages generated by spammers spoofing my email address 29 April: 3 5 May: 0

Spam with instructions on how to signoff via email 29 April: 89 5 May: 64

Spam with instructions on how to signoff via a URL 29 April: 366 5 May: 436

Spam with no signoff information 29 April: 239 5 May: 175

Nigerian investment scam emails 29 April: 9 5 May: 7

I'll keep you posted as the weeks progress. If I get adventurous, three weeks from now I may take a stab a clicking on all of the unsubscribe URLs I receive in a 24 hour period and see what THAT does to my spam volume (because, at least from this angle, replying to the spams doesn't seem to have had much impact on my spam totals at all.)

How Fast *IS* Your Internet Connection?

Over the years, we've pulled our little bus of Internet happiness into three different Web sites that measure your current Internet connection speed:

Bandwidth Place's Speed Test

DSLReport's (now Broadbandreport's) Speed Tests

and CNET's Bandwidth Meter .

All three sites are similar. Click on a button and your Web browser downloads a relatively large file (usually an image). When the download is complete, the site tells you your Internet connection speed at the moment the file was downloaded.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the three sites give you three WILDLY different speeds. So take the results of each site with a massive grain of salt.

As long as you're flinging around the sodium, I have another speed test site to add to your bookmarks list: Numion's YourSpeed at

What makes Numion so cool is that it combines a speed test with the crushing feeling that your computer is on the verge of exploding.

Let me explain. While those three other sites test your connection speed by downloading a single image file, Numion tests your connection speed by downloading images from *FORTY* popular Web sites around the world. All at once. The result is both cool and oddly frightening.

Just go to the Numion YourSpeed page and click on the small grey "Start!" button in the middle of the page. [Don't worry about changing any of the settings. You can play around with those later.] Numion will open the "page of doom," loading images from those 40 sites I mentioned earlier. While the page of doom is flashing with icons -- and while you fight the urge to check your computer for smoke -- keep your eyes on the black status bar at the top of the page. This shows you your speed test's progress.

After 30 seconds, Numion displays a page with three graphs. The first (the "speedbar") shows you your speed in kilobyes per second, the second shows you the results of your last 25 Numion speed tests, and the third compares your speed to the speed of other people around the world.

Cool, huh?

Not only does Numion scare the living heck out of you -- that 40 image page is downright intimidating -- I really get the feeling that Numion's results are a *LOT* more accurate than those other three sites.

But maybe that's just me. :)

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

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