Date:         Thu, 13 May 1999 23:57:08 -0500
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
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Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen 
From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
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   Product Recalls / More Email Tracing
Howdy, y'all, and greetings from sunny Alabama [motto: "hey, at least
it aint Mississippi"].  Your fearless bus driver is still recovering
from one of the biggest blunders I have ever made.  To make matters
worse, this blunder was broadcast live on WGN radio Wednesday night to
38 states and most of Canada.
As long-time TOURBUS riders will remember, I am a regular guest on
WGN's Steve and Johnnie show.  Last night someone called in and asked
me to explain what it means to boot your computer in "safe mode" ...
and my mind went ABSOLUTELY BLANK!  I couldn't remember what "safe
mode" was to save my life.  Fortunately, I was in front of my computer
and was able to pull up the answer at, but only
after several torturous minutes of stalling while I waited for the
answer to pop up on my screen.
For the record, "safe mode" is
     a way of booting  Windows 95 in a way that makes it easier to
     diagnose problems. No startup programs are loaded other than the
     operating system and drivers for the mouse, keyboard, and VGA
     ... If a normal startup fails (for example, because the Registry
     is missing an important key parameter such as SYSTEM), Windows 95
     will initiate a safe mode boot for you.
     [quote from]
Of course, anyone who listened to Wednesday's Steve and Johnnie show
now thinks I am a complete and total idiot.  Oh well.  Before I go
into seclusion to hide my shame, I thought you'd want to see this
week's TOURBUS post.  :)
TOURBUS remains free thanks to the financial support of our sponsors.
I want to thank the folks at "Golden Palace," "eRock," and "NCBUY" for
making today's post possible.  Please take a moment to visit all of
today's sponsors to thank them for keeping TOURBUS on the road!
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On with the show ...
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an
independent federal regulatory agency created to "protect the public
against unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with
consumer products."  One of their jobs is to recall defective or
dangerous products.
Keeping up with all of the CPSC's recalls, however, can be a tad bit
daunting.  According to a quote in a recent Newsweek article, "[i]n
1998 alone, there were 200 recalls of children's products."  And
children's products are just one almost a dozen different product
categories the CPSC monitors!
Don't panic, though ... there are actually a couple ways you can find
out about product recalls (and, in the process, hopefully protect your
family from these dangerous products).  The first way is to visit the
Consumer Product Safety Commission's Web site at .
By the way, if you hate frames as much as I do, another alternative is
to point your Web browser to .
To find the CSPC's archive of product recalls, either click on the
"Recalls/News" button or point your Web browser to .
This takes you to a page that lets you:
     1. View the latest CPSC product recalls;
     2. Browse through last month's recalls;
     3. Look at recalls categorized by topic; and
     4. Search for specific products using the CPSC's search engine.
These last two options are important and should not be missed.
I said that the first way is to find out about product recalls is to
visit the CPSC's Web site.  The second way is to subscribe to the
CPSC's free, email-based information list.  Subscribers to the list
automatically receive all CPSC press releases, including product
recalls and other safety information, by e-mail.  To subscribe to this
free information list, just click on

this link .
If this link does not work in your mail program, just send a new email
letter to
with the command
     join CPSCINFO-L
in the BODY of your email message.  The syntax of this command is
extremely important -- make sure you type the command exactly as it
appears above, and don't include ANYTHING other than
     join CPSCINFO-L
in the body of your email message.
While we are talking about product recalls, you should also probably
add the Consumer Reports Recalls page at 
to your bookmarks list.  While most of Consumer Reports' Web site is
off limits to the public (access to the Web site costs US$24 a year,
or US$19 a year for current magazine subscribers), their recalls page
is available without change.
Consumer Reports' recalls page is a little more varied than the
CPSC's, and it includes information on automotive recalls and on
"Canadian recalls" (I was going to make a joke about defective
Canadians, but I decided against it -- a few of our riders from the
Great White North have yet to forgive me for my comment a few years
ago that Toronto was a "frozen tundra.").  Seriously, though, both
automotive and foreign recalls are outside the jurisdiction of the
CPSC, so it is a good idea to visit both the CPSC's Web site and
Consumer Reports' to get a complete understanding of ALL of the
recalls out there.
As I said earlier, keeping up with product recalls can be a tad bit
daunting.  But if you visit the CPSC's Web site from time to time,
subscribe to their free email information service, and occasionally
browse through Consumer Reports' recalls page, you will be better
able to protect yourself -- and, more importantly, your family -- from
dangerous and defective products.
Here we go again.  The latest garbage cluttering up the Internet says
that, in response to the recent merger of Netscape and AOL, Microsoft
has devised a way to "keep Internet Explorer as the most popular
browser on the market."
How does Microsoft hope to accomplish such a feat?  Are they going to
make Internet Explorer disks so ubiquitous that you won't be able to
order a Big Mac without receiving yet another copy of IE?  No.  Are
they going to build some new, must-have feature into IE -- like, for
example, a search engine that actually FINDS things?  Don't be silly.
According to the letter floating around the Net right now, Microsoft
is going to "keep Internet Explorer" popular by -- get ready for this
-- *IGNORING* Internet Explorer and the Web altogether and instead
focusing all of Microsoft's attention on email.  In fact,
     Microsoft has introduced a new email tracking system as a way to
     keep Internet Explorer as the most popular browser on the market.
     This email is a beta test of the new software and Microsoft has
     generously offered to compensate those who participate in the
     testing process.  For each person you send this email to, you
     will be given $5.  For every person they give it to, you will be
     given an additional $3.  For every person they send it to you
     will receive $1.
Wait.  It gets better.  Re-read that last paragraph and ask yourself
download Internet Explorer before you can receive your free loot from
Microsoft?  Do you even have to *USE* Internet Explorer?  Nope!  For
this story to be true, you have to believe that the folks at Microsoft
are trying to solidify their browser share by blindly giving away
billions of dollars for no apparent reason.
I hate to break it to you, but the "free money from Microsoft" story
is yet another Internet hoax.  It isn't even CLOSE to being true.
Microsoft doesn't give away money.  Microsoft *MAKES* money.  If
Microsoft could find a way to CHARGE you for every email letter you
forwarded to your friends, they would!
What's sad about this email tracing story (besides the fact that
people are gullible enough to believe it) is that the story isn't even
original.  Around the end of 1997, someone thought it would be funny
to create a false story announcing that Bill Gates had "written up an
e-mail tracing program."  The story went on to say that if you
forwarded a particular email letter "to everyone you know ... everyone
on the list will receive $1000 at [Bill Gates'] expense."  I called
Microsoft shortly after I received this message in December of 1997,
and George Shaw, a spokesperson for Microsoft, told me the story is
"officially not true."  [see]
By February of 1998, additional "fluff-brains" had rewritten the Bill
Gates email tracing program hoax/story.  The first new version said
that, in addition to US$1000, Mr. Bill was also going to send the
first thousand people who responded to his email a free copy of
Windows 98 (a.k.a. "Macintosh 87").  The second version congratulates
you for being one of the first thousand people to respond to Bill's
email, and tells you that all you need to do to claim your prize is to
reply with your credit card number and expiration date so that Bill
can credit your account.  Obviously, neither of the new versions of
the Bill Gates email tracing program hoax/story were true [see].  Bill Gates himself even
said that the whole thing is, and I quote, "hooey" [see]
A few weeks later, another fluff-brain thought it would be funny to
change the Bill Gates email tracing program hoax/story to say that
apparel maker Nike is "offering free Nike shoes and clothing" to
people who help Nike test Microsoft's e-mail tracing program [see].  For the record, Nike's
response was that "reports of a Nike 'software testing' promotion are
Shortly after that, the Bill Gates/Nike email tracing program
hoax/story reappeared, this time under the Disney flag.  The new
version said that Disney is helping Microsoft test a new email tracing
program and if you forward a particular email message
     to everyone you know and if it reaches 13,000 people, 1,300 of
     the people on the list will receive $5,000, and the rest will
     receive a free trip for two to Disney World ...
The message was signed by "Walt Disney Jr., Disney, Bill Gates, & The
Microsoft Development Team."  For the record, Walt Disney did not have
any sons; he only had only daughters.  So, unless one of his daughters
recently had a little "surgery" in Sweden, there is no "Walt Disney
Many people who have redistributed the Bill
Gates/Nike/Disney/Nestcape/AOL/Internet-Explorer email tracing program
hoax have asked, "who could it hurt?"  Unfortunately, the answer is
*THEM*!  As David Emery so eloquently put it, "[a]ll you have to do is
forward this message to be the laughingstock of your online friends!"
   Product Recalls / More Email Tracing
POE-LEASE (noun).  Law enforcement officer.
Usage: "Why is it that everyone you see on the TV show 'COPS' is not
the least bit surprised to see the POE-lease standing in their livin
[Special thanks to Calvin C. Naegelin for today's wurd]
You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 
The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
=====================[ Tourbus Rider Information ]===================

   The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2238
      Copyright 1995-99, Rankin & Crispen - All rights reserved
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 (\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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TOURBUS -- 13 MAY 1999 -- PRODUCT RECALLS  /  MORE EMAIL TRACING, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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