Internet User Alert!

About nine months ago I began seeing SPAM emails and banners on Web sites offering "Spyware". I had no desire to spy on people, so I disregarded them. The rate of "Spyware" offerings exploded so I finaly decided to look into the matter further. I learned that "Spyware" was NOT software that enabled you to "spy" on others. Rather, it was so that others could "spy" on you. I don't do anything that is illegal or could be embarassing if found out, so it didn't affect me. Right? WRONG!

When you visit some Web sites, a small program is automatically downloaded to your computer. It is these programs that are actualy the "Spyware". These programs fall into three categories:

1) Cookies: Cookies are given a bum rap by most people. Whenever you login to a Web site, such as Ebay, PayPal and membership sites, a small program called a cookie is downloaded to your computer. Your user name and password are stored in a special place on your computer. Cookies do not cause any problems with your computer and have no risk.

2) Adware: Advertisers are getting more sophisticated in obtaining information to send out their SPAM. Some Web sites are paid to have their "Adware" program automatically downloaded to the computers of visitors. These programs record the Web sites you visit as well as your email address. It gets your email address from your computer, and in some cases, the email addresses in your email program address book as well. Then advertisers send out their targeted SPAM email. If you want to cut down the volume of SPAM email, you need to remove these Adware programs.

3) Identity Theft: The most harmful of Spyware programs are used to obtain information such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, birthdate, and so forth. These programs actually record all of your computer keystrokes and forward them to the thieves. For example, when you login to your banks Web site to review your checking account, the program logs your keystrokes and thus captures the information needed to login to your account themselves. You can imagine what havoc they can cause with this information.

I've tried several Spyware programs. All of them allow you to have these Spyware parasites deleted from your computer. Running NoAdware I discovered that I had 9 cookies and 3 Adware programs on my computer. I deleted the parasites (it cost me $20 to have them deleted) and tried other Spyware programs. However, I found the best one is SpyBot Search and Destroy. Right after running NoAdware, I ran Spybot Search and Destroy and discovered that I had 121 Spyware programs on my computer! Three were Idenity Theft programs, 12 were Adware programs. The rest were cookies. (I surf the Internet several hours per day.)

In addition to being able to delete these parasites, Spybot Search and Destroy automatically immunizes your computer so that the parasites you deleted will no longer be able to attach themselves to your computer in the future.

Third, Spybot Search and Destroy enables you to download updated files to keep current with all the Spyware parasites as they come out. I ran Spybot Search and Destroy weekly for a month. After the first time, the number of new parasites found on my comouter was significantly reduced. Now, in my second month of using it, the last 3 times it found no new parasites.

Perhaps the best feature of Spybot Search and Destroy is that is actually FREE. Other Spyware programs claim to be free, however they only search your computer for Spyware and then require you pay for the program before the parasites can be removed. Spybot Search and Destroy does not require any payment to use. There is a link on the program if you desire to make a donation, but a donation is not required to fully use the program. Download the program here. So far over 24 million people use Spybot.

A Paradox in History

Well into the 20th century, medical doctors touted that bathing too often would be harmful to the human body. In the 1800's, no more than two baths per year were recommended. By the early 20th century, it was recommended that bathing only once a week was OK. It was thought that by bathing, it enabled your body organs to become waterlogged and thus damage them. The paradox is that at the same time swimming was touted as the best exercise to pursue. Swimming often was the best method to keep the body healthy! I guess that the doctors thought that by keeping the body in motion in water it prevented the body organs from becoming waterlogged.

Insane Man Elected to Congress

How many times have you said to yourself that a specific politician is "nuts", "crazy" or "insane"? Many of us have done so at least a few times in our lives. At least in one case, this label was entirely correct.

Charles A. Boutelle was a Representative of Congress for the state of Maine and had been for sixteen years. In the 1900 election, he won by 10,000 votes though at the time he was a resident of an insane asylum, clouded in intellect and uncertain in speech. He had even been there when the convention nominated him to run for Representative again. The opposition, the Democratic Party, filed a claim that placing an insane man on the ballot for Congressman was unconstitutional but to no avail.

Sentiment was behind the Maine Republicans in the matter. Their viewpoint was that Mr. Boutelle had served them long and faithfully. Further, he was poor and they could afford to stand behind him. It was believed that, if elected, he would never actually take his seat in Congress again. However, the Republicans of his district expressed that his empty chair in the House of Representatives should stand for their loyalty in mute testimony.


HistoryBuff.com Site Update
  • I have added a new section to the HistoryBuff Web site. Over the years I have collected what I refer to as bizarre news articles and have now added them to the "Bizarre News" section of the HistoryBuff Library. For now, only subscribers to this newsletter are able to access this section. As I looked over the list of article titles, I now realize that some people would think of the section as being too morbid. Thus, I am asking subscribers to review the new section. Let me know which were your favorite articles and which, if any, I should remove. Vote by sending me an email to help@historybuff.com with the subject heading "Vote". Thanks in advance for your assistance. Private access the new section at http://www.historybuff.com/library/refbizarre.html

  • The second half of the major archive of historic newspapers on consignment with the HistoryBuff Auction is in the July auction. Newspapers offered include a full printing of the Monroe Doctrine, Cornwallis Surrenders at Yorktown, George Washington Named First President, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and more. The auction can be accessed at http://www.historybuffauction.com

POLL RESULTS -- 3,125 VOTES CAST
Do you plan on reading President Clintons autobiography?
No 74.6%
Yes 17.2%
Maybe -- Not sure 08.2%

Your Editor Interviewed by Major Media

As historybuffs, you've likely heard that Senator Edwards was selected as John Kerry's running mate in the presidential election. The New York Post, trying to jump the gun I guess, in their July 6 morning edition named Richard Gephardt as Kerry's running mate. This, of course would be classified as an error edition. Reporters from Newsweek and the New York Daily News telephoned me to inquire if these edtions would become as rare and highly valued as the Dewey Defeats Truman error edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune. The reporters advised me that the Gephardt error edtions were currently (July 7) selling on Ebay for over $100 each. They wanted my opionion of their future value. In my 40 years experience in dealing with historic newspapers, these Gephardt error editions will never command such a premium as the more famous Dewey Defeats Truman error edition. Probably twenty years from now they will sell for under $10 each. In checking Ebay today, July 8, I see that the highest bid now is only $15.75. Give it a month or two, and you won't find them offered on Ebay anymore because they don't sell.


June Contest

JUNE ISSUE'S QUESTION: Where was the treaty that ended the American Revolution signed?

ANSWER: Paris, France.

Fifty-two people entered the June contest. Three were disqualified because they did not have the correct subject heading in their email entry. Three people with the correct answer were selected at random to win. All three historic newspapers were awarded and mailed out.


This Month's Questions

1) Who were the only persons to sign BOTH the Declaration of Independence AND the United States Constitution?

2) Why do you want to win this contest? (Limit 75 words.)

The Prizes

Since this question will involve more effort than previous contest questions, I am offering better prizes.
  • Grand Prize: Original historic newspaper from the early 1700's. (One prize offered.)

  • Second Prize: Original historic newspaper from 1865 with coverage of the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. (Two prizes offered.)

  • Third Prize: Original edition of the New York Times from the Civil War era. (Two prizes offered.)

  • Fourth Prize: Original historic newspaper from 1824. (Two prizes offered.)

  • Fifth Prize: Two sets of limited edition postcards produced over 20 years ago by the editor of this newsletter showing front pages of historic newspapers (Civil War and Space history). The press run was only 500 sets and are in full color. (Five sets offered as prizes.)

Contest Rules

  • Contest entry deadline is Saturday, July 17, 2004. Later entries will be disqualified.

  • Only one entry per subscriber.

  • To enter, email your answer and short essay (maximum 75 words) to help@historybuff.com with the subject heading "Contest Entry". From subscribers submitting the correct answer, correct subject heading, and best essays (75 words or less), twelve will be selected to win one of the prizes listed above.

  • All subscribers to this newsletter are eligible to win.


That's it for this issue.

Rick Brown

PS: My email program crashed and I lost two important emails. One was from a subscriber that submitted an article about their being a boat refugee from Cuba in 1958 or 1959. The other submitted an article about David Atchinson. Will both of these subscribers please email me another copy of their article?
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