TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP(S): The Tourbus Guide to the Most Useful Sites in the World (Part 4)

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 from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, the first Norman king of England. :P

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 ...

Java Wava Wuz a Bear

You have probably seen the recent email warning instructing you and other PC users to delete the J_D_B_G_M_G_R file (sans underscores) because it is, in fact, a virus that is "neither detected by Norton nor by Mc Afee."

Yeah, right.

The email tells you to delete the file, whose icon in a little grey teddy bear, and then empty your recycle bin.

Well, brace yourself folks. Just like the S_U_L_F_N_B_K warning of last year, the J_D_B_G_M_G_R warning is ... wait for it ... a hoax. [GASP!]

The file isn't a virus. It is Microsoft's Java Debugger Manager, a file that is a regular part of Windows. Deleting the file won't hurt Windows, but it could very well cause some Java applets -- like Yahoo games -- to just up and stop working.

[By the way, why the underscores in S_U_L_F_N_B_K and J_D_B_G_M_G_R? Some ISPs have filters that look for emails that contain these particular file names -- without spaces -- and then delete those emails. Not wanting today's TOURBUS post to get killed by your ISP, I thought I'd throw in a few underscores into the filenames and try to sneak my way past the filters.]

What should you do if you "accidentally" deleted the J_D_B_G_M_G_R file and want to restore it? Well, the easiest thing for you to do is download and install the latest version of Microsoft's Virtual Machine. Step-by-step instructions on how to do this can be found on my personal Web site at

This may seem like a lot of work to restore a single file, but it really is worth it. Not only will you be restoring the J_D_B_G_M_G_R file, you'll also be installing the *latest* version of Microsoft's Virtual Machine, a version that closes a critical security hole in Microsoft VM that many Windows users don’t know about.

By the way, the instructions on my site work just as well for those of you who *DIDN'T* delete the J_D_B_G_M_G_R file but still want to know how to download and install the latest version of Microsoft VM.

So I guess this J_D_B_G_M_G_R hoax kind of has a silver lining.

The End of the List

For the past three hundred and fifty seven years, I've been telling you about my 21 favorite/most essential Web sites, five sites at a time. So far, we’ve talked about the first 15 sites. Today, we finish the list. YAY!

And, as always, you are welcome to hop on over to the classroom resources section of my personal Web site at

and download a two-page Adobe Acrobat (PDF) version of my complete Top 21 list. Fellow TOURBUS rider and Adobe Acrobat guru Patrick Johannson cleaned up my original PDF file so that you can now both see the addresses and even click on them. The updated file's name is "tourbus_guide.pdf" and you can find it in the middle of my classroom resources page. Just look for "The Internet TOURBUS Guide to the Most Useful Sites in the World."

16. Intellicast

There's not much need for weatherpeople in Irvine, California, where the weather seems to constantly be partly cloudy with a high of 75 F (23 C) and low of 60 F (15 C). Don't believe me? Head out to your favorite weather site and look up Irvine's long-range forecast.

But growing up first in Oklahoma and later Alabama, I've come to appreciate two things:

1. Really good weather information; and

2. James Spann's tuft. [You have to be from Central Alabama to
understand this last one, but believe me when I tell you that our TOURBUS riders in Anniston, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa are now laughing hysterically.]

There are a bajillion online weather sites, but my favorite is Intellicast. Why? Two reasons:

1. It is one of the few online weather sites that automatically
shows temperatures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.

2. Their radar maps ROCK! Click on the "Radar" link on the left
side of Intellicast's homepage and up pops the US national radar (a WONDERFUL resource, by the way, when you want to figure out why you can't access any Web sites in a particular part of the country -- chances are, where there are thunderstorms there are power outages). Click anywhere on the map to zoom in closer and see a county-by-county radar map as good as anything you'd see on TV.

My only complaint? Intellicast's non-US forecasts are a little sparse, only offering forecasts for a few major cities per continent.

17. GetNetWise

Figuring out how to protect your kids online is tough, particularly because there is so much conflicting information out there ... not to mention that most of the information is coming from companies trying to sell you something. That's where GetNetWise comes in.

Created by "Internet industry corporations" like Microsoft and AOL Time Warner along with "public interest organizations" like the American Library Association and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, GetNetWise is a free site that helps both parents and children find reliable information about how to use the Internet safely.

The site has four main sections:

1. The online safety guide, which talks about the risks that kids
face online and what you can do to minimize these risks.

2. Tools for families, information about filters and Internet
usage contracts.

3. Web sites for kids, a collection of kid-friendly Internet

4. Reporting trouble, information about how to recognize and
report online trouble.

If you work with children or have children of your own, memorize the address It's THAT important.

18. Urban Legend Reference Pages

The J_D_B_G_M_G_R hoax notwithstanding, longtime TOURBUS riders may have noticed that I haven't debunked as many urban legends as I used to. The reason why is simple:

Before you forward ANYTHING to your friends via email, go to and make sure what you are sending is true. Chances are it isn't, and chances are Barbara and David Mikkelson have written a wonderful, in-depth article telling you exactly why it isn't.

19. The Internet Archive

"Daddy, where do Web pages go when they die?" "They go to the Internet Archive, son." [Man, that has to be the LAMEST Web site introduction I have EVER written.] :P

The Internet Archive is pretty simple. It is a collection of old Web pages from the past five or six years. Key in a Web page address and you'll see what that page looked like at a certain time. It's actually kind of cool seeing what Yahoo looked like in 1996, Google in 1998, or in 1999. ["Welcome to Zombocom!"]

Also check out the Television and Movie archives. The Television Archive is a collection of television broadcasts from before, during, and after the September 11 attacks. The Movie Archive is a collection of free, downloadable "educational" movies from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. [Think "Duck and Cover."]

20. The Internet Tourbus 21.

I know, I know. Pride goeth before the fall. I put TOURBUS and on my list of my favorite Web sites in the hope that people who saw the paper version of my Top 21 list would visit either of these sites and end up joining us on our little bus of Internet happiness.

But since you are already on our little bus of Internet happiness, it doesn't make much sense to tell you about TOURBUS. So let's talk about Amazing Bargains instead.

Before you buy ANYTHING online, go to

first. One of the best-kept secrets on the Net is that most online merchants offer discounts ... but only if you know a special discount code. Amazing Bargains is a constantly-updated collection of those discount codes.

Amazing Bargains got bumped from the paper version of my Top 21 Sites, but it still remains one of my favorite sites in the world.

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


TEFFONE (noun). A communications device. Usage: "Hey, Bubba ... what's Mary Bob's teffone number?"

[Special thanks to Bryant Fry for today's wurd]

.~~~. )) (\__/) .' ) )) 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
MOST USEFUL SITES PART FOUR, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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