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

Thursday September 30, 1999

WebSkulker Newsletter
Who was that masked skulker?

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A jr. skulker solved the translation mystery

Please visit our new user-to-user and feedback forums which are run on our private newsgroup server:
news://  The following came from a forum posting:

In yesterday's issue we discussed the "Webtrans" shareware program that does language translation on your PC via an undisclosed Internet facility.  Jr. Skulker Bob Gudgel looked inside the webtrans,exe file and figured out that it uses the Babelfish site run by Alta Vista.  Type a paragraph into the form on that web page, set a translation direction, and you will see that it behaves exactly like Webtrans.

Babelfish will translate an entire web page for you.  If you ever run across a web site in a foreign language, go to Babelfish, type in the URL, and it will return the web page with all the formatting and pictures intact, but with the text in the desired language.  Actually only the first 5000 characters will be translated.  If the page has more text than that, you will see "***TRANSLATION ENDS HERE***" in the middle of the translated page and everything after that will be in the original language.

To see this newsletter translated into French, for example, click on this link and press the Translate button:

What skulkers might want to hide

These two sites show the kind of information that web servers know about your machine and web browser when you visit a web site.  Click on each link and see what you recognize.

The  "traceroute" command at the bottom of the first link is something you might be able to do at home.  The web site is tracing the route from its server to your machine.  Unix and Windows (perhaps Mac?) have a program you can use to trace the same information from your machine to most any web server or other Internet facility.  You may be amazed at how many "hops" it can take to go from one place on the Internet to another.

From a Windows machine, the easiest way to do the trace is to start a DOS session under Windows.  You should have a desktop icon or Start menu item called "MS-DOS Prompt", if not press Start, then Run, and type in the word "command" and press OK.  From the DOS window that will open, type:


for example, or any other web site name or ip address.  If a friend has a cable modem or DSL line they probably have a "static ip address", or set of numbers that identify their machine to the Internet.  Find out what that is and you can do:


Be patient, these traces can take a long time and may fail at a point where the trace is entering a private network that blocks this type of packet.  On Unix systems you give the same command except that it is spelled "traceroute".  Windows abbreviates it to "tracert" for compatibility with the old DOS file system that could only handle 8 character program names.

Skulk anonymously

The first site is the most famous of this genre and WebSkulker has known about it for years.  Fame is going to their head because they now force a long delay on use of their site unless you pay them for an account.  Jr. Skulker Kevin suggested the second site which does the same thing for free and with no deliberate delays.

These two sites invite you to type in a URL, then they connect to the desired web server for you, retrieve the text and pictures of a web page, then essentially reassemble the web page on their server and present it to your browser.  If the remote web server tries to get information, it will pick up data from the anonymous service, not from your machine.  Read the instructions on both sites carefully because this will not always work and information about your machine could leak through.

Note also that the COTSE site admits on their Privacy Policy page that they keep logs of activity passing through their servers and will provide them to law enforcement agencies with a subpoena.  We suspect that the same is true of the Anonymizer site, but we didn't find anything saying that.

WebSkulker's phone number doesn't spell anything

The prolific Jr. Skulker Uncle Brucie suggested this site which asks you for your phone number -- either 7 digits without area code or 10 digits with area code -- and then tries to come up with a word or several small words that correspond to your number. Perhaps your phone number spells "skulker" and you didn't even know! 

These made WebSkulker laugh

Four silly short jokes submitted by jr. skulkers:

From XiliX:
So I called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms the other
day and I asked the lady who answered the phone, "What wine goes well with an AK-47?"  Trying to be helpful, the lady replied, "It really depends, what are you smoking?"

From Boomer (who stressed that she was a girl):
What does any girl from Brooklyn have in common with any girl wearing tight jeans?

From Ms. 1133:
Six presidents are sinking in a boat.
Ford says: "What do we do?"
Bush says: "Man the life boats!"
Reagan says "What lifeboats?
Carter says: "Women first!"
Nixon says "Screw the women!"
Clinton says: "Do you think we have time?"

From Bob Gudgel:
Windows 95:
n. 32 bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16 bit  patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor by a 2 bit company that can't stand 1 bit of competition

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