From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS -- 12 FEB 03 -- THE NEXT 21, PART FOUR


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, Britain's highly paid Lord Chancellor. :P

In my last post I mentioned that, as part of a study on whether replying to sp*ms actually increases the number of sp*ms one receives, I've saved all the emails I received in a seven day period and have been sorting them by hand into various categories -- legitimate emails, list error messages, p*rn sp*ms, drugs and health sp*ms, etc. While my email sorting endeavor is far from complete -- I still have 1,367 emails from last week left to categorize -- here are the stats for what I have sorted so far:

  • 1,877 total emails between February 3 and February 10
  • 1,640 sp*ms (87%)
  • Of the 1,640 sp*ms, 1,159 (70%) are pornographic in nature. [I made the mistake when I started writing TOURBUS back in 1995 of using my real email address in the reply-to line. As a result, every sp*mmer in the world -- especially the ones peddling p*rn -- has my email address in his or her database.] :(

    I also received 30 viruses attached to emails (Norton Antivirus killed them all), and four different offers for me to assist some kind Nigerians in repatriating vast quantities of capital. :)

    Once I get the rest of these emails sorted, I'll start replying to the sp*ms and see what happens. Keep reading TOURBUS for the latest update from the "Patrick's journey as cannon fodder for the sp*mmers" saga.

    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 ...

    Back in January we started talking about "The Next 21," a collection of 21 really cool Web sites that didn't make my first "Top 21" list simply because I ran out of room. If you missed the first three posts in this series, just point your Web browser to

    And now, without further ado, here are the final six sites. :)

    16. Ad-Aware

    According to our friends at,

    [S]pyware is any technology that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge. On the Internet, spyware is programming that is put in someone's computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to advertisers or other interested parties. Spyware can get in a computer as a software virus or as the result of installing a new program.

    How do you kill spyware on a PC? Simple! Download and install Ad- Aware.

    Created by German software company Lavasoft, Ad-aware is a free utility that scans your computer's memory, registry, and hard drives for known spyware. Ad-Aware then lets you kill any or all of the spyware that you find hiding on your computer.

    There is a brand new version of Ad-Aware (version 6). The version is so new, in fact, that I'm going to dedicate my next TOURBUS post to telling you everything you need to know to uninstall the old version of Ad-Aware (and RefUpdate) and then install, update, and use the new version. :)

    By the way, if you "compute with fruit" there's a spyware killer for the Mac called "MacScan." You can find out more about it at

    17. AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)

    There are about a squillion different instant messaging programs out there, and they are all quite lovely. No, really. But the most popular instant messaging program is AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).

    According to CNET (, AIM currently has 180 million registered usernames, with 30 million users accessing the software per month, taking multiple registrations into account. That's a lot.

    Like most good instant messaging programs, AIM is free and works on both PCs and Macs. And, best of all, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AN AOL SUBSCRIBER TO USE AIM. Just sign up for a free AIM account at, download the software, and you're off to the races.

    And, if you don't want to download the software, you can launch AIM in a Java window by clicking on the "AIM Express" link at

    [As I said, there are about a squillion different instant messaging programs out there. For a pretty thorough list of AIM's competitors, point your Web browser to Yahoo's Instant Messaging category page at ing/ ].

    18. CNET Bandwidth Meter

    How fast is your Internet connection RIGHT NOW? Key in your area or country code, click on go, and up pops a chart showing you your current bandwidth speed.

    That's it. There's not much more to say.

    19. NetFlix

    NetFlix has been a sponsor of out little bus of Internet happiness for a couple of months now, so my including NetFlix in this list probably looks a little fishy. I apologize.

    If the truth be told, I have been a paying NetFlix member since December 2000, and I absolutely LOVE the service! That's the *ONLY* reason why NetFlix is one of my "Next 21."

    NetFlix isn't a free Web site. Rather it is a $20 a month DVD rental service that snail mails you up to 3 DVDs at a time. You can take as long as you want to watch the DVDs, and when you're done just ship one or all of the DVDs back to NetFlix in the prepaid envelopes. NetFlix then ships you the next DVDs on your list.

    It's really that simple. And, best of all, there are no due dates or late fees!

    Currently NetFlix only ships to the US and its territories, but they should be going global shortly. :)


    Our next stop is also at a commercial Web site:

    If you've been to the computer section of your local bookstore you've probably seen a wall of books written by Lynda Weinman. She's the guru behind the colorful "Hands-On Training" books that teach you how to use Photoshop, Flash, Acrobat, Director, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, QuickTime ... the list goes on and on.

    What makes Lynda Weinman's Hands-On Training books so cool is that they come with CD-ROMs packed with videos that actually *SHOW* you, step-by-step, how to use Photoshop ... or Flash ... or Acrobat ... or ...

    But what if you want to watch the videos without having to plunk down $50 for each book? Well, for a $25 monthly subscription to, you can access over 2,500 online training movies. And if you canít afford $25 a month, check out the free movies that are updated weekly.

    Neat, huh?

    21. Zombo

    And, finally,

    You can do anything at zombocom, anything at all. The only limit is yourself. [By the way, you need a pretty good sense of humor to truly "get" this site.] :)

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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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