Date:         Mon, 16 Jul 2001 04:01:41 -0400
Reply-To:     TOURBUS-Request@LISTSERV.AOL.COM
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
              
Comments:     Resent-From: crispen@netsquirrel.com
Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen

From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS -- 16 JULY 2001 -- HELP FOR PROBLEM PCS / ZEITGEIST
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----------------------------------------------------------------------
              TOURBUS Volume 6, Number 95 -- 16 July 2001
----------------------------------------------------------------------
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       /   \  /   \                                             /   \
       \___/  \___/  T h e   I n t e r n e t   T o u r B u s    \___/
       FIVE YEARS of Searchable Archives at http://www.TOURBUS.com !!
 
TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP(S):
   Help for Problem PCs / Google Zeitgeist
TODAY'S TOURBUS ADDRESS(ES):
   http://www.consumerreports.org/
   http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html
 
Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from the beautiful city of
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, birthplace of the mosquito (or, as we are fond
of calling them, "skeeter-dactyls").  :P
 
Your fearless bus driver is now less than two weeks away from
completing his masters degree at Pepperdine.  Well, actually, my
masters program *ENDS* in two weeks.  There is still some question as
to whether or not I'll survive that long.
 
Anyway, I want to apologize because today's TOURBUS post is a little
on the short side (homework awaits).  I assure you, though, that what
today's post lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality.
 
TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  PLEASE
take a moment to thank each of our sponsors for keeping our little bus
of Internet happiness on the road week after week.
 
 
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On with the show ...
 
---------------------------------------------
New Yellow Ovate Fruit ... Now With Extra RAM!
---------------------------------------------
 
Know someone who recently purchased a computer that turned out to be a
lemon?  Our friends at Consumer Reports magazine may be able to help.
Fire up your Web browser and go to
 

http://www.consumerreports.org/ .
 
Then, in the "Other Features and Services" pull-down menu near the top
right corner of your screen, choose "Help for Problem PCs."
 
Id love to give you the Web address for this report so that you can
access it directly, but Consumer Reports' Web addresses are just a
little under 27,000 characters long.  If you don't mind taking a
roundabout route, you'll find an absolutely wonderful, free, three
section report that provides "the advice, strategy, information, and
tools you need to get the value you've paid for":
 
     1. The Action Plan lays out the most efficient and effective
        step-by-step procedures you should follow to get retailers and
        manufacturers to fix the problem pronto.  First-time visitors
        should start here to get an overview of our recommended
        methods for getting action.
 
     2. The Action Library provides the crucial information you need
        to argue your case like a pro - with everything from the
        latest news about recalls that could be the source of your
        computer troubles, to Consumer Reports Online product reports
        and Ratings, to links to the text of applicable consumer-
        protection laws, to our exclusive troubleshooting guide.
 
     3. The Action Communication makes contacting computer
        manufacturers, retailers, and concerned organizations a snap
        by providing names and numbers; links to outside information
        resources; and preformatted letter templates that you can
        copy, paste, and customize to demand action, get outside help,
        and file consumer complaints.
 
[Oh, by the way, I kind of stole all three of those descriptive quotes
from Consumer Reports' Web site.  Don't tell any one.]  :P
 
One of the frustrating things about purchasing a computer that doesn't
work -- besides the obvious -- is that, until now, there hasn't been
one place to go to find a "first do this, then do this" guide to what
you should do to get your broken computer fixed or replaced.  Consumer
Reports' free "Help for problem PCs" report solves that problem once
and for all.
 
Yay!
 
----------------
Google Zeitgeist
----------------
 
This next stop is just plain fun.  Our friends at Google created a new
page called the "Google Zeitgeist" at
 

http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html .
 
Zeitgeist shows "search patterns, trends, and surprises according to
Google."  Okay, I know this sounds about as exciting as a US Senate
agricultural subcommittee hearing on subsidies for jute farmers in
east central Silesia.  But, such a comparison really isn't fair.
*NOTHING* is as exciting as a senate agricultural subcommittee hearing.
Google Zeitgeist is still cool, though.
 
Each week (and each month), the Zeitgeist page shows the top ten
gaining and declining Google queries.  This is a great way to track
a topic's "15 minutes of fame" and to also discover new trends.  For
example, the top gaining Google search query for the week of July 10th
was "tour de france."  The top declining query?  Canada Day, possibly
because Canada Day has come and gone (I forget -- how long should I
leave my Canada Day maple tree up?).
 
Google Zeitgeist also shows some other neat information culled from
Google's server logs including:
 
     - A graph showing the operating systems people used to access
       Google in June
 
     - A graph showing the different languages people used when they
       searched Google (surprisingly, "Southern" didn't make the cut)
 
     - A list of the 5 most popular Napster replacements/alternatives
 
What I like the most about Google's Zeitgeist, though, is that their
update schedule is a lot like the schedule that I follow with my
TOURBUS posts: they update on a "monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily
basis."  In other words, "eventually."
 
Anyway, if you are interested in learning a little more about popular
Internet culture, stop by Google's Zeitgeist page every week or so (if
only to see the weekly list of the top five misspelled queries).
 
---------------
AOL on the Road
---------------
 
In my last post I mentioned that
 
     if you are on the road and want to check your AOL email, just
     find someone who has AOL loaded on their computer, login as a
     "guest," key in your screen name and password, and you are off to
     the races.
 
A *BUNCH* of our fellow bus riders wrote in to suggest a FAR easier
way for you to check your AOL email and other AOL stuff when you are
on the road: just go to
 

http://www.aol.com/ 
 
or
 

http://www.aolanywhere.com/ 
 
and sign in.  :)
 
A fellow reader also sent me some pretty detailed instructions on how
you can check your email using telnet, but I'll save that until next
time.
 
That's it for today.  Have a safe and happy weekend, and we'll talk
again in a few days.
 
TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP(S):
   Help for Problem PCs / Google Zeitgeist
TODAY'S TOURBUS ADDRESS(ES):
   http://www.consumerreports.org/
   http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html
 
---------------------------------
TODAY'S SOUTHERN WORD OF THE WEEK
---------------------------------
 
GRAYUPH (noun).  A data chart using pictures, lines, and bars.
Usage: "I have our survey's results in this grayuph."
 
[Special thanks Alexis Avis and Oscar Chavez for today's wurd]
 
You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at

http://netsquirrel.com/crispen/word.html 
 
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 1995-2001, Crispen & Rankin - All rights reserved
 
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           .~~~.  ))
 (\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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