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

Tuesday November 23, 1999

WebSkulker Newsletter
The name is Er.  Skulk Er.

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For jr. skulkers with a lot of nerve

If you live in California or Oregon and have a lot of nerve, you might be able to get a free monitor, thanks to Viewsonic and Microsoft Network (MSN).  No doubt you jr. skulkers have seen ads about $400 Internet rebates if you buy computer equipment and subscribe to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for three years.  Several ISP's are doing this, including CompuServe, Juno, and MSN.  Most of the rebate plans are straightforward in their wording: you buy the designated computer or other equipment, sign up for the ISP, mail in the rebate form with your receipt, and they send you a check for $400 a couple of months later.  Sometimes the store will take off the $400 from the price if you agree to sign up for the ISP.  The fine print on these deals typically says that you can cancel the ISP whenever you want, but if you cancel in less than the three years you must pay the $400 back and maybe a penalty of $50 or so.

Go to the link above for about the Viewsonic brand of monitors.  It looks like the typical Internet rebate plan with MSN as the ISP, right?  You can get a free monitor because there is a $400 rebate and many Viewsonic monitors cost less than $400.  Or you can get a $400 rebate on a more expensive monitor.  From that page, click on the link near the bottom that says "Please see complete terms and conditions here" and read it all the way through.  Notice this section:

"if for any reason whatsoever you do not continue for the period of time associated with the rebate that you have elected to receive, you agree that you will repay MSN the amount of the rebate immediately upon termination or cancellation of your MSN Plus Internet Access account; provided that if you are a resident of California or Oregon you will not be required to repay the rebate amount."

Does this give you any ideas?  If you live in California or Oregon it should.  Here are some thoughts:  don't buy a monitor directly from Viewsonic because you can get lower prices elsewhere.  See our 10/8/99  and 10/12/99 issues for sites that help you find the best mail order deals.  Since monitors are heavy, look for stores with free shipping and be sure to buy out of your state to avoid sales tax.  The Viewsonic PS790 19" monitor is available for not too much over $400, and is an excellent choice.  Warning: some stores are selling reconditioned ones.  Read the fine print of the mail order ads to make sure the monitor is new, because that is a requirement of the rebate offer.

Since it will take 30-60 days from the time you send in the rebate coupon to receive your check, WebSkulker suspects that you had better keep your MSN subscription for that long, which will cost you a month or two of service.  If you cancel before then, they might notice and not send the check.  But once you receive the check....

WebSkulker just happens to know how to cancel an MSN subscription:  Dial 800-386-5550. Press 2. Press 3.

Jr. skulkers can get great shareware

As we explain in the WebSkulker FAQ page, WebSkulker in another life sometimes used the handle "Midnight Skulker" and wanted the domain name, but it was already taken.  The owner of that site heard about WebSkulker and we have been corresponding by ICQ ever since.  They have some great shareware and freeware programs of their own, and links to a lot of other shareware sites.

For proving when you skulked something

WebSkulker doubts that most jr. skulkers will be using this service, but it's interesting to know that this technology is out there.  Suppose you have a computerized file of some kind, maybe a word processor document, spreadsheet, drawing, whatever, and you might someday need to prove that this file existed on a certain date.  A good example is an inventor working on something in their lab and writing daily documentation of the work on a personal computer.  As part of applying for or defending a patent, they might someday have to prove to the Patent Office or to a court that they had made the invention on a particular date.  But if all they have is computer documentation, how could they prove they didn't write it later and backdate the files?

FirstUse helps you do this.  It "enables you to digitally fingerprint, time stamp and register any size or type of digital file ranging from ideas, business plans, scripts, songs, inventions, Y2K records, tax records, contracts, wills and trusts, web sites, software code, videos, and more. By registering your records, you have taken the first step to protect yourself against dispute."  Jr. skulkers can test how this works because they are giving away three document registrations for free.

Skulking a different kind of cat scan

No doubt you have heard of the CAT scan X-ray technique used in medicine.  Jr. Skulker Goat Boy submitted this site that has a whole new meaning to the word (as does the joke below).  This is one of those items that WebSkulker added to the newsletter when his cat wasn't looking.  She thinks we were reviewing this site which you should look at, but look at the above one first:


This made WebSkulker laugh

A man runs into the vet's office carrying his dog, screaming for help. The vet rushes him back to an examination room and has him put his dog down on the examination table. The vet examines the still, limp body and after a few moments tells the man that his dog, regrettably, is dead.  The man, clearly agitated and not willing to accept this, demands a second opinion. 

The vet goes into the back room and comes out with a cat and puts the cat down next to the dog's body. The cat sniffs the body, walks from head to tail poking and sniffing and finally looks at the vet and meows. The vet looks at the man and says, "I'm sorry, but the cat thinks that your dog is dead too." 

The man is still unwilling to accept that his dog is dead. The vet brings in a Black Labrador. The Lab sniffs the body, walks from head to tail, and finally looks at the vet and barks. The vet looks at the man and says, "I'm sorry, but the Lab thinks your dog is dead too." 

The man, finally resigned to the diagnosis, thanks the vet and asks how much he owes.  The vet answers, "$650". 

"$650 to tell me my dog is dead?" exclaimed the man.... 

"Well," the vet replies, "I would have charged you only $50 for my initial diagnosis. The additional $600 was for the cat scan and Lab tests."


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