To lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason.  To move or go in a mean, stealthy manner.

Tuesday September 21, 1999

WebSkulker Newsletter
He skulks too much -- he worries me to death

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Because it's fun to skulk around with free stuff!

A jr. skulker who prefers to be anonymous saw the details in yesterday's issue on how to get a $300 CrossPad device for free and asks: why do you need a special electronic pad holder and a radio-transmitting pen so the pad holder can record electronically what you write on the paper, etc.  Why not just take notes on a regular pad of paper and scan them in to your PC or Mac when you get back to your home or office?  He is of course correct, but misses the point.  The CrossPad is a toy and is fun to show off and play with.  Not enough fun to be worth paying for, but as long as it's free, WebSkulker will take one.

But speaking of stuff that appears to be free, WebSkulker wants to warn you about cheap or free PC's "after Internet rebate".  Many stores and mail order companies will take hundreds of dollars off the price of a machine if you will commit to three years of Internet service which, guess what, costs even more hundreds of dollars.  These rebates are a bad idea because:  (1) You are paying in advance the full ~$20 per month for three years of some ISP, but the way rates are going you might get ISP service a lot cheaper than that during your commitment period.  (2) During the next three years you will probably want to switch over to a cable modem or DSL service which will probably make you switch away from the ISP you pre-paid, so that money will be wasted.  (3) For all kinds of other reasons you might want to switch ISP's within three years.

WebSkulker has had DSL for a year

If you are ready to give up your slow modem and install a DSL line, these resources will help you.  The first is by one of our jr. skulkers and contains search forms for the largest local telephone companies.  Type in your area code and prefix, or perhaps your address, and find out whether DSL is available at your address through your phone company.

The site has a DSL Resource Center with a tutorial and other reference information about DSL.  The third link above goes directly to their DSL search page which will calculate the distance from your address to your phone company central office, then tell you whether DSL is available from your phone company, from alternative DSL providers, and from ISP's who can accept your Internet traffic over the DSL line.  If it is available, you will see the pricing plans in your area and what speed you might expect at your address.

Send WebSkulker voice mail through the Internet

Jr. skulker Ron Gibson suggests the RocketTalk system for sending voice messages.  There are many shareware programs for sending voice messages around the Internet and probably the easiest category to use would be ones that build a voice attachment that you send along with a regular email message.  RocketTalk is an interesting standalone application that you leave running whenever you are connected to the Internet (which would be all the time if you had a DSL line or cable modem).  It stays in communication with its server site which notifies you immediately if another user has sent you a message through the RocketTalk system.  If a friend has RocketTalk running, you two can send voice messages back and forth instantly.  The program has a good-looking, easy to use, interface and you can search their database of other registered users to find new people to talk to.  Unfortunately it does not have a "buddy list" concept to let you know who is online right now.

The RocketTalk program can also send voice messages to an email address via an attachment, but it does this in what we believe to be a stupid way: the attachment is an executable .exe file which is a copy of the player program and your voice message combined into a single attachment.  This is nice if your recipient has no program that can play a voice file, but almost everyone has such things nowadays so including the player in every message wastes bandwidth and disk space.  While we delight in the fact that there is no Mac version, if RocketTalk sent the attachment in a normal format, at least Mac recipients would be able to play the messages.

There are other products that do these functions better, but RocketTalk is important because the company is making arrangements with radio shows to leave RocketTalk running in the studio and let listeners comment on the program by sending instant voice messages.

WebSkulker will leave RocketTalk running for a few days if you install the program and want to send us a message.  The id number is 122100.

Confuse skulkers calling your answering machine

WebSkulker has seen records and tapes for years with funny outgoing messages to put on your answering machine.  Here is a web site that has a collection that you can download.  You probably won't really put them on your machine, but they're fun to listen to.  Our favorite is called "Kitty" from the Adult section:  "This answering machine has been connected to a 5,000 volt power supply that has been wired to this small kitten..."

This made WebSkulker laugh

I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.
-- English Professor, Ohio University

Deja Fu: The feeling that somehow, somewhere, you've been kicked in the head like this before.

To err is human, to moo bovine.

A day without sunshine is like -- night.

A polar bear is a rectangular bear after a co-ordinate transform.

Some people say that I must be a horrible person, but that's not true. I have the heart of a young boy.  In a jar. On my desk.
-- Steven King

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem soon begins to resemble a nail.
-- Abraham Maslow

He who dies with the most toys, is, nonetheless, still dead.

Neutrinos have mass? I didn't know they were Catholic.

If you had everything, where would you keep it?

The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.

What was sliced bread the greatest thing since?

When aiming for the common denominator, be prepared for the occasional division by zero.

Character density: The number of very weird people in the office.

Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly.  It should be flung with great force.
-- Dorothy Parker

One of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs.
-- Robert Firth

The meek shall inherit the earth -- they are too weak to refuse!

Grabel's Law: 2 is not equal to 3 -- not even for very large values of 2.

Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.
-- Mark Twain

There are two major products to come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX.  We don't believe this to be a coincidence.

Always remember you're unique -- just like everyone else.


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This newsletter is copyrighted 1999 by The WebSkulker.  You may use any material in this issue for any reason provided that you attribute it to the WebSkulker Newsletter and include the URL to our web site: .