Date:         Fri, 29 Oct 1999 03:10:09 -0500
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
Comments:     Resent-From:
Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen 
From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS -- 28 OCTOBER 1999 -- SAFESHOPPING.ORG / MSY2K
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      _________ ____________ ________ __________ ____________ ___ _
     /         |            /        |          |            /   | \
    |         FLYING NOODLE PASTA OF THE MONTH CLUB         /    |  \
    |__________|__________/__________|__________|__________/     |   \
  /                                                       |______|----\
|  $27.50 includes shipping - 2 Gourmet PASTAS, 2 SAUCES |//////|    |
|           and recipes. A great gift or a small         |//////|    |
|                 indulgence for yourself.               |//////|    |
|    ---> <---       |//////|    |
       /   \  /   \                                             /   \
       \___/  \___/  T h e   I n t e r n e t   T o u r B u s    \___/
TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP(S): / Microsoft Y2K Page
Howdy, y'all, and greetings from placid Tuscaloosa, Alabama!
TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  I want
to thank the folks at "Flying Noodle," "," and
"" for making today's post possible.  As always, please
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On with the show ...
Analysts estimate that online shoppers will spend anywhere between
US$9.5 billion (Harris Research) and US$32.96 kajillion (Crispen) this
holiday season.  Before you rush out and join the throngs of people
crowding the leased lines of your nearest cybermall, you need to take
a few moments to learn how to avoid getting ripped off online.
Fortunately, the nice folks at the American Bar Association have
created a new, free Web site that shows you how to decrease your
chances of encountering trouble as you shop online.  The site is
called "" and you can find it at is divided into 10 short sections ranging from
"Security" to "Complaints," and I recommend that you visit and read
every section. is a primer for online shopping,
asking questions that you need to answer before you purchase anything
online.  For example, the security section asks the question "how do
you tell if the Internet connections are secure" and then shows you
how to answer that question (by the way, if your connection is secure,
you credit card information will be scrambled so that no one else can
see it).  The "Terms" section asks the question "What are the legal
terms of your purchase" and then shows you where you to look to find
information about the legal terms (warranties, disclaimers, and so on)
of your purchase.
My suggestion is to start in the "Security" section and real all of
the subsequent sections in order.  The information on the site is quite brief -- can you imagine that?  LAWYERS
actually wrote something that was BRIEF! -- so it shouldn't take you
more than a couple of minutes to read all 10 sections.  Despite its
brevity, though, SafeShopping.or is essential reading for ANYONE
thinking about making an online purchase this holiday season.
While you're at it, I also recommend that you read the Better Business
Bureau's free "Safely Shopping Online" report at .
Despite the fact that the BBB still hasn't figured out how to use the
TITLE tag properly, I particularly like the report's "Quick
Checklist" of common sense tips you need to follow when making
purchases over the Internet:
      - Don't Rely on a Professional Looking Website as Proof of a
        Company's Quality or Good Reputation.
      - Investigate a Company or Seller Before You Buy.
      - Find Out Where a Company is Physically Located to Help Avoid
        Overseas or Offshore Scams.
      - Never Give Out Your Bank Account Number, Credit Card Number, or
        Personal Information Unless You're Certain a Company is
      - Pay for Your Purchases by Credit or Charge Card which can be
        Protected Under the Fair Credit Billing Act.
      - Start with a Small, Inexpensive Purchase to See How the Company
        Handles Your Order.
      - Find Out About a Company's Return and Refund Policies Before
        You Purchase.
      - Always Use a Secure Internet Browser [like Netscape Navigator
        or Microsoft Internet Explorer] That "Encrypts" or Scrambles
        Your Personal or Financial Information.
That next-to-the-last tip -- find out about a company's return and
refund policies before you purchase -- is especially important.  Your
fearless bus driver has recently been 'burned' by both CompUSA and for not doing this.  [CompUSA will not let me cancel an
order I placed on 7 September but still haven't received, and is forcing me to pay the shipping costs to return a recent
order that THEY messed up.]  :(
Microsoft's Y2K Page
For the longest time, Microsoft's Y2K page was so full of techno-
babble you needed a PhD in computer science to understand it.  Well,
now that we are in the waning hours of 1999, Microsoft has just user-
friendlified [new word!] their Y2K page.  To see the changes, point
your Web browser to 
and click on the "Microsoft Year 2000 Guide for Home and Small
Business Computers" link on the left-hand side of the page.
One of the things you'll notice about Microsoft's new Y2K page is that
it reads a lot like an article at CNET or ZDNET.  In fact, like a CNET
article, the best way to go through Microsoft's new Y2K site is
linearly -- like a book.  Read the first page, and then click on the
"Next" button in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.  This loads
the next page.  When you are done reading that page, click on the
"Next" button again ... and so on.
Microsoft's new Y2K site has four sections or 'chapters':
      1. Introduction -- this tells you a little bit about the Y2K
         problem in general and explains why you should care about Y2K
         and what you should do to prepare for it.
      2. Exploring Your PC -- this introduces you to the three parts of
         your PC and explains how Y2K affects each of these parts.
      3. Taking Action -- this section tells you what you need to do to
         ensure that all three parts of your computer are Y2K ready.
      4. Learning More -- this gives you pointers to where you can
         learn more about Y2K.
The "Learning More" section also has a link to Microsoft's free Y2K
Product Analyzer.  As I've mentioned in previous TOURBUS posts,
Microsoft's Y2K Product Analyzer scans your hard drive to create an
inventory of Microsoft products, compares this inventory to the
Microsoft year 2000 compliance product guides, identifies products (if
any) for which you should download a free software update, and
provides URLs to enable you to obtain the updates.  If you haven't
already downloaded and installed the Product Analyzer, do it!  You can
read more about Microsoft's Product Analyzer in my 8 April 1999
TOURBUS post at .
With all the hysteria surrounding Y2K bug that has since been
debunked, it is easy to choose not to worry about Y2K until after the
new year.  That would be a mistake.  Take a few minutes and visit
Microsoft's new Y2K site.  The worst thing that could happen is that
you'll learn something new about your computer.  :)
That's it for this week.  Have a safe and happy weekend!
TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP(S): / Microsoft Y2K Page
LAR (noun).  A dishonest person.
Usage: "Lar lar, paints on far!"
[Special thanks to Ken Sawka for today's wurd]
You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 
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