Date:         Thu, 28 Dec 2000 19:40:19 -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 DEC 00 -- TECHTRACKER
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             TOURBUS Volume 6, Number 47 -- 28 Dec 2000
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       FIVE YEARS of Searchable Archives at !!
Howdy, y'all, and greetings from the bitterly cold (but beautiful)
city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I left my beloved hometown of
Tuscaloosa to spend Christmas with my grandparents who live in the
South Hills of Pittsburgh.  Yes, you heard right: my grandparents are
YANKEES!  But, since they live in the *SOUTH* Hills, I think I'll
forgive them.  :P
TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  Please
visit them and say thanks!
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On with the show ...
Chances are at least one of the programs or drivers on your computer
is WAY out of date.  That isn't good.  When software vendors find a
bug (or, in Microsoft parlance, an "undocumented feauture"), they
usually release an update or a patch that fixes that bug.  Without the
patch or update, you're vulnerable to a whole mess of problems.
Wait.  It gets worse.  With hundreds of programs on your computer,
keeping up with the constant stream of updates and patches can be
downright difficult.  In fact, it can be a full-time job.
There are some sites that will automatically scan your computer and
tell you which of your programs are out of date.  Fred Langa talked
about some of these sites back in November.  Take a look at 
If truth be told, I agree with Fred Langa: I am not particularly fond
of the auto-update sites.  I'm old fashioned.  I like to do my updates
by hand.  However, the problem is finding the updates in the first
Back in January of 1997 we talked about Version Tracker
(, an amazing site for Mac users that
collects Mac software updates on a daily, and sometimes even hourly,
basis.  Back when I had a Mac, I would check Version Tracker every
morning.  In fact, as far as I can remember, Version Tracker is the
number two Mac site in the world, second only to
Well, the folks behind Version Tracker have three other sites:
      1. Mac Fix-It:
         A collection of tips and tutorials that will help you fix
         whatever is ailing your Mac.
      2. Windows Tracker:
         Version Tracker for Windows users.
      3. Palm Tracker:
         Version Tracker for Palm Pilot and Palm OS users.
There's not much to say about these sites, other than they are
extraordinarily cool.  With the exception of Mac Fix-It, all of these
sites show you a constantly updated list of the latest software
available for your computer.
All four sites -- Version Tracker, Mac Fix-It, Windows Tracker, and
Palm Tracker -- are free and are updated several times a day.  All
three of the "tracker" sites -- Version Tracker, Windows Tracker, and
Palm Tracker -- offer free email newsletters that tell you everything
you need to know about the latest software updates and the newest
software releases for your Mac, PC, or Palm.  Just click on the
"subscribe" link in the upper right-hand corner of any of the tracker
All three tracker sites also have a "top downloads" section that shows
you the most popular programs available for your platform.  This is a
great place to start if you are looking for some new software but want
to make sure that the software is going to be worth your time.  You
can access the top downloads section by clicking on the "top
downloads" link in the upper right-hand corner of any of the tracker
Oh, and if you are a tech guru, you'll appreciate this: the Windows
Tracker site has a drivers section.  :)
As I said, there's not much to say about these sites.  But, if you are
looking for a constantly updated list of the latest software updates
and drivers for your computer, Version Tracker, Windows Tracker, and
Palm Tracker should be on your must-visit list.
Update: Google Search Button
After my 15 December post about Google's browser buttons
(, a couple of alert TOURBUS
riders sent me a story from CNET warning that Google's new toolbar
extension may send Google information about the sites you visit.  You
can read CNET's story at .
Let's cut to the chase.  The Google browser buttons that we talked
about on the 15th are completely safe and, as far as I can tell,
completely anonymous.  CNET's story is about an entirely different
Google tool called the Google toolbar, a piece of software that you
download and install on your computer.
I apologize for the confusion.  :)
Y2K+1 on WGN Radio
If you are going to be near a radio on New Year's Eve and would like
to hear your fearless bus driver freeze to death live on the air, tune
in to WGN Radio in Chicago -- AM 720 on your dial or on your computer -- around midnight central
time (GMT -6, I think) on Sunday night.  For the second year in a row,
I'll be spending New Year's Eve with my friends at WGN Radio.  In
fact, if you are going to be in Chicago on New Year's Eve, look for me
in front of WGN's Showcase Studio at the base of the Tribune Tower
around midnight.  I'll be the tall guy with a red ski jacket and a
microphone complaining about how absurdly cold it is.  Sunday's
forecasted low temperature in Chicago will be *ONE* degree Fahrenheit,
-17 Celsius ... and that's the temperature, not the wind chill (which,
by the way, will be -14 F/-26 C).  BRRR!
That's it for this week.  Have a safe and happy week, don't celebrate
too hard on Sunday night, and we'll talk again next week.  Oh, and
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
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            .~~~.  ))
  (\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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