From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      Tourbus -- 18 Sep 03 -- Updates / MS Security Update / Ikea Product Names

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP(S): Updates / MS Security Update / Ikea Product Names

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, which is part of a multi-pack and is not labeled for individual retail sale. :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 ...

Drive-By Bussings

Fasten your seat belts, y'all! I need to make a quick, return visit to a few sites, so I'm going to trounce upon the gas pedal and see how fast our little bus of happiness will go!

Both the CIA World Factbook

and the Library of Congress' Portals to the World

were recently updated. The country information in the Factbook is current as of August 1st and Portals to the World site was last updated on September 11th. We visited both of these sites back in January of 2002.

The once classified CIA World Factbook provides policymakers with fundamental and factual reference material on countries around the world. About thirty years ago, the folks at the CIA decided to unclassify The World Factbook, and for as long as I can remember The World Factbook has been an essential Internet resource for anyone looking for information about a particular country.

What The World Factbook *CAN'T* provide you, however, is IN-DEPTH information about a country's culture, education system, language and literature, genealogy, and so on. That's where "Portals to the World" comes in.

Next stop!

The Google Toolbar, which was in beta testing when we visited it in July (see, is now ready for public consumption. You can download the latest version of the toolbar for free at

If you downloaded the toolbar back in July, there's nothing more for you to do. You don't need to redownload the toolbar. I just figured you'd like to know that the Toolbar is no longer in beta.

Next stop!

Do you remember those cool optical illusions from Akiyoshi Kitaoka at Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University? You know, those animated GIFs that weren't really animated? Well, Kitaoka recently posted some more optical illusions online at

Remember: the images AREN'T moving!

Microsoft Security Update

If you have a PC, or if you are a Mac user looking for some amusement, I have (yet another) free email newsletter you need to check out: Microsoft's Security Update for Home Users and Small Businesses.

If you run Windows Update regularly, you already know that Microsoft has released a mess of critical updates over the past couple of months. But what do these critical updates *DO* and why do you need them? That's where the Security Update newsletter comes in.

Every time Microsoft releases a security patch or critical update, Microsoft also sends an emergency email to every Security Update newsletter subscriber explaining, in plain English,

1. Why Microsoft issued the patch or update,

2. What Microsoft products are affected, and

3. Where you can go to find more information about the patch or update.

In short, the Security Update newsletter ensures that you'll never again miss an important Microsoft security announcement.

To sign up for the free Microsoft Security Update newsletter, just hop on over to

and fill in your email address, country, and preferred language ... so long as that preferred language is English. [The Security Update is currently available only in English, despite what the pull-down list says.]

Shortly after you subscribe, you'll receive an email containing a confirmation link. Click on that link (or cut-and-paste it into your browser) and you're taken to a Web page with two buttons. Click on the "Submit" button to confirm your registration; click on the "Cancel" button to cancel it.

Don't expect a confirmation message after you've successfully subscribed. In fact, don't expect ANYTHING. For a while. The ONLY things you'll receive from the newsletter are security announcements from Microsoft, and you'll only receive those when Microsoft releases a security patch or critical update.

By the way, a more technical version of Microsoft Security Update newsletter is also available. It is called the "Security Notification Service" and it is designed for IT professionals. There are several ways to subscribe, but the easiest way is to just go to

and follow the on-screen prompts. The subscription process is identical to the one used to subscribe to the Security Update newsletter.

Where Ikea Gets Its Names

Finally, if you live near a major city, you already know that one of the unexpected costs of moving is the dreaded Ikea tax. You move into your new home, realize that you need a new desk or entertainment center, check your recently diminished bank account, cry, and then head off to Ikea for some new, semi-moderately-priced furniture that comes in a squillion little pieces.

If you have never experienced the joy that is Ikea or have never seen the first couple of minutes of the movie Fight Club (which I am not at liberty to talk about), you can find the 2004 Ikea catalog online at

although I should warn you that the site is a little slow right now. An easier option might be to go directly to Ikea's product list at

One of the things that you'll notice about Ikea's products is that they all have unique, Scandinavian-sounding names: ALFREDE BLOMMA table-runners, FJARRAN candlesticks, SMULAN children's tables, and so on. Where do these product names come from? Well, Margaret Marks (with the help of an article in German in Stern), has found the answer:

Mystery solved! :)

When It Rains, It Pours

On a personal note, does anyone know a good transmission shop in Orange County, California? My beloved squirrel mobile's transmission and torque converter died on Thursday ... exactly one day after getting four new tires.

The funny/sad thing about this is that my car is also one thousand miles out of warranty so MBUSA/Daimler Chrysler's response is (understandably) "ha-ha-ha ... so sorry to hear that."

Wait. It gets better. On Friday, the dealer quoted me a repair price of -- brace yourself, folks, you won't believe this -- FIVE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!

No, that is NOT a typo. :(

The service manager at the dealership promised to contact MBUSA/Daimler Chrysler first thing on Monday to see what options I might have, but I'm not too hopeful.

So, does anyone know a good transmission shop in Orange County, California, one that might be willing to do the job for less than three grand? I have a 1998 MB ML-320 with 101,000 miles ... and four brand new tires. :P

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

.~~~. )) (\__/) .' ) )) 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
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