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

Friday October 8, 1999

WebSkulker Newsletter
The skulk is strong with this one

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WebSkulker's cat hates iMacs

WebSkulker's cat reviewed the new iMac machines just announced by Apple and ordered WebSkulker not to even think about buying one.  The top of the case slopes at too steep an angle and she doesn't know how she would sleep on top of it without falling off.  Apple just doesn't get the true purpose of a computer monitor.

WebSkulker hates the new iMacs as much as the original one because (1) they are Macs so you can't run the vast majority of software (including free software associated with many Internet services) written for Windows.  (Yes, we suppose you could run that software with a PC emulator running Windows on the iMac, but doesn't that seem silly instead of just buying a PC in the first place?);  (2) iMacs have no card slots and are not expandable except by external USB and firewire devices;  (3) iMacs have a built-in 15" monitor and WebSkulker far prefers larger monitors which have gotten very cheap nowadays; (4) iMacs are over priced compared to PC's.  Be sure to compare "street" prices because PC's are far more heavily discounted from the retail price than Macs.

WebSkulker is especially disappointed with the two higher-priced iMacs that Apple claims are suitable for digital video production.  First of all, they can only accept video from the very high priced Digital Video camcorders with firewire ports, whereas PC add-on cards for digital video can handle the normal analog VHS and 8mm camcorders that real people have at home, as well as inputs from a TV set and VCR.  If you have a digital camcorder with firewire, you can buy a firewire port for a PC -- including a CD with video editing software -- for as low as $88:  the Pyro brand 1394DV card.  So the point is that you can do video editing on a PC quite easily and inexpensively and have been able to do so for years, so the iMac for this purpose is nothing new.

Who wants to do video production on a 15" monitor?  Wouldn't you rather have a PC with a choice of larger monitors?  The new iMacs have at most a 13gb hard drive.  This strikes WebSkulker as anemic for a video editing machine because captured video files take up a huge amount of hard drive space.  If you have a PC you can add a second hard drive, and 27gb drives are available for under $225.  If you bought an iMac a year ago and wanted to do digital video, too bad: there is no upgrade path so you throw it away and buy a new machine.  If you bought a PC a year ago, you could add an analog or digital video capture card and a larger hard drive.  What are you going to want to add next year?

While we're talking about Apple, a jr. skulker who should probably remain anonymous suggested some sites with constantly updated rumors about the company and its products:

Skulking the best prices

These two web sites let you do comparison shopping between multiple online stores that sell the same items, but often at amazingly different prices. handles computer equipment and consumer electronics, including cellular phone services.  ClickTheButton handles computer equipment, books, movies, music, and toys.  They work in very different ways, but either one can save you a lot of money by finding a store with a lower price and by finding a store outside your state so you can get out of paying sales tax.

With you go to their web site first and either click your way down through the categories and subcategories until you find the product you want, or type the exact brand and model in the search form.  Once you find your product, you will see a list of stores selling it with their current prices, what state the store is located in, maybe shipping charges, and maybe information about whether the product is in stock.  Notice that the stores seem to be sorted in a random order.  The truth is that some of the stores pay money to to get placed at the top of the list.  Above the list is a blue link "Re-Sort By Price."  Click that immediately and the lowest price stores will end up at the top.

Now here is all you do:  run your eyes down the page looking for a store that has your product in stock and is not in your state so you won't have to pay sales tax.  Click on "Buy Info" next to the store name and in most cases you will be taken to that store's web site, positioned on that product and ready to add it to your shopping cart.  Caution:  if the state is shown as **, then the store charges sales tax in multiple states so you must go to their web site for details.

ClickTheButton ends up with basically the same information, but works backwards.  First, you must go to their site and download a small program that you install and keep running at all times.  They actually have a Mac version!  On a PC, this installs a little button that looks like a target and stays at the right end of the task bar, near the time.  Once the program is installed and running, you go to any of the web stores that they support, browse around that store, and find the product you want.  Here is their list of stores:

When you are in the store and at the page for your product, double click the target button on your task bar and the ClickTheButton program will wake up, look at the web page you are viewing, extract the brand and model of the product, and launch a web page showing the price for the same product in all of the other stores.  Use this list much like .

Skulking gear

This is an online catalog of unique telecom and cable installation products and tools.  WebSkulker gets this catalog on paper, which is a lot better because it has pictures which are for the most part missing on the web site.  Nevertheless, you will find things here that are quite useful to the jr. skulker.

What the well-dressed skulkers wear

"Day wear and evening wear are regular features on the catwalk. But computer hardware isn't generally considered couture. Until now.  A recent New York fashion show aimed to de-geek the wired image with a display of wearable computer accouterments."

Be sure to watch the video on this page!

This made WebSkulker laugh

Submitted by Jr. Skulker Dan Dunkel:

A middle-aged woman is in a terrible accident and is rushed to the hospital.  On the way there, her vital signs fail. The doctors are able to revive her, but while she is gone, she sees God and he tells her she has 40 more years to live.

Since she is in the hospital anyway and knows she's going to be around for a while, she decides to use the stay for self-improvement. She has a face-lift, a fanny-lift, and breast implants.

She gets released from the hospital and, as she crosses the street, is run over by a truck and killed.  When she sees God again, she says to him "I thought you said I had 40 years left to live!"  To which God replies, "I'm sorry ... I didn't recognize you."


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