From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      Tourbus - 9 Oct 03 - California Recall / Whoopsie!

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOPS: California Recall / Whoopsie!

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. :P

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On with the show ...

The California Election

Yes, I know that you're sick and tired of hearing about yesterday's California recall election. While watching an "action hero," a former child "actor," a "magazine" publisher, a "pundit," an "entertainer" for grown-ups, a "comedian" who's famous for smashing watermelons, and the rest of the "field" battle it out for control of a state with a 38 billion dollar deficit had its fun moments, there's only so much political theater a reasonable person can take. I find myself longing for the halcyon days when Florida, not California, was America's banana republic.

But, since I am a big fan of the concept of "teachable moments," I figured I'd use this election to share with you some stuff about my home state of "Kolliefornya" that you probably didn't know.

Our first stop is at the California Secretary of State's statewide special election results page at

http://vote2003.ss.ca.gov/Returns/summary.html

You can also find a county-by-county map of the recall election results at

http://vote2003.ss.ca.gov/Returns/recall/mapN4.htm

Now for the teachable moment stuff. I have no real proof to support ANY of the following -- since when has THAT ever stopped me? -- but, in my humble opinion (and mine alone), California is actually four states in one:

1. The northern Pacific coast, especially the San Francisco Bay area, which is quite liberal. And (by my completely made up, wildly inaccurate guesstimate) about 4 million registered voters live in this area. And every one of these people attend Berkeley.

2. Eastern and Central California, which is conservative but (in many places) sparsely populated. Think Kansas with mountains. Many of the counties in this region have only 5,000 to 30,000 registered voters. The Secretary of State's map doesn't show this fact, but the New York Times has a pretty cool, Flash- based population density map at http://nytimes.com/packages/html/national/20031006_ca_RESULTS/. Once the Flash app has loaded, click on "Where Californians Live" to see county-by-county population densities.

3. Los Angeles, which is ... well ... Los Angeles. It's not too hard to find Los Angeles on the Secretary of State's election results map. Just look for the lone island of red (signifying no on the recall) in Southern California's vast sea of green. And with four million registered voters and 900 million cars on the road at any point in time, Los Angeles county is force to be reckoned with.

4. Southern California, which is both conservative and densely populated. And all of the houses look the same.

While both the Northern Pacific coast and Los Angeles County opposed the recall, it was the conservative voters in Eastern, Central, and Southern California that pushed the recall over the edge. In fact, Southern California's San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and my beloved Orange counties combined have over four million registered voters, and 69% of the votes cast in those four counties were in favor of the recall.

What's my point? Well, it's easy to label *ALL* of California as liberal or all of Southern California as conservative. But as the election map clearly shows, there's a little more to it than that: we're ALL nuts. Every last one of us.

And thus ends today's civics lesson. :P

-------- Whoopsie --------

This next whoopsie nugget comes to us straight from the infamous "department of exceptionally bad timing," the same folks who brought us the Atlas missile test at Vandenberg during the Cuban missile crisis.

Back on September 21st, we talked about both Microsoft's free security update newsletter designed for mere mortals like you and me and Microsoft's free security notification service designed for IT titans who wear faded black t-shirts with slogans like "there's no place like 127.0.0.1" and "got root?" Any time Microsoft releases a new security patch, it automatically sends an email announcement to everyone subscribed to either of these services. And not knowing about these patches is a BAD thing - August's blaster worm took advantage of a security hole that Microsoft had patched in mid-July. Add to that the fact that Microsoft has released some FORTY different security patches this year, and you can see why Microsoft's security update newsletter and security notification service are important.

To find out how to subscribe to either, check out

http://tinyurl.com/q1mq

Now for the bad timing part. In early September, a new computer virus appeared that masqueraded as a security patch from Microsoft. Victims received an email from what they thought was Microsoft, double-clicked on the attached "security update" file, and KER-SPLAT! ... their computer magically became a thousand dollar paperweight/cupholder.

Tourbus riders are both smarter and better looking than the average bear/Internet user, so this virus wasn't really a problem for anyone on our little bus of Internet happiness. But, not to put too fine a point on it, if you subscribed to Microsoft's security update newsletter or security notification service, please remember that Microsoft will send you an email ANNOUNCEMENT when a new security patch is available... but Microsoft will NEVER actually send you the patch. You will *ALWAYS* have to run Windows Update to get the patch.

In fact, NO LEGITIMATE ORGANIZATION ON THE PLANET WILL *EVER* SEND YOU AN UPDATE FILE ATTACHED TO AN EMAIL MESSAGE. Microsoft won't do it, Symantec won't do it, McAfee won't do it, Apple won't do it, Adobe won't do it, Macromedia won't do it, Qualcomm won't do it ... NO ONE will do it. These companies and organizations may send you an email announcing that a new patch is available, but they will NEVER send you a patch as an email attachment.

Files attached to emails from companies claiming that the attached file is a necessary and critical update are always viruses. Always.

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? Get rid of spyware and keep hackers out? Try Smart Computing today get your FREE TRIAL issue NOW!

http://tourbus.com/smart.htm

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

           .~~~.  ))
 (\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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{o_,    \    {              crispen@netsquirrel.com
  / ,  , )    \            http://www.netsquirrel.com/ 
  `~  -' \    } ))    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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