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

Wednesday January 12, 2000

WebSkulker Newsletter
All skulk and no play makes Ms.Cat a dull puss

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WebSkulker visited the CES

In our 9/28/99 issue WebSkulker recommended that you jr. skulkers take a trip to Las Vegas in early January to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and explained how to get in for free.  WebSkulker just got back from that trip and urges all you jr. skulkers to plan this for next year.  The CES is intended for computer and electronics dealers to see the latest products and sometimes future products from manufacturers and distributors, but anyone over 18 can get in easily, whether you are in the business or not.

WebSkulker's favorite future products from this year's show were three "watches" that were being displayed in prototype forms.  We put quotes around "watches" because most of these devices are a lot larger than a normal watch and the only reason for calling them a watch is that they have a strap that goes around your wrist.  To see what we mean about the size, go to and click on the link "GPS Watch."  This was shown at last year's CES and is now available.  It is a GPS unit build in to a "watch".

This year Casio showed three prototype watches: an MP3 player with headphone jack built into a watch, a database watch that interfaces with Microsoft Outlook to let you carry around your phone book, appointments, and notes; and a camera watch that can take up to 100 black-and-white photos and display them on the watch screen and upload them to a PC.  The Casio web site has a link under the News section that describes these, but without pictures.

Another booth had a prototype of a complete CDMA cellular phone built into a watch about the same size as Casio's GPS watch.  The phone watch can be used Dick Tracy style because it has a speakerphone built in, or you can plug in a headset.  The salesman claimed that the battery life would be comparable to other small cell phones.  There is no room for a keyboard, so dialing and other phone functions are done by voice commands.

WebSkulker used to do this

Nowadays when someone like WebSkulker wants to publish his own material, he starts a web site and/or an email newsletter.  Before the web became so ubiquitous, many people published their material via telephone answering machines, often home made ones before they were available to the public.  Jr. Skulker Batteryman runs this site which has RealAudio archives of many of the old joke, entertainment, and comment lines, primarily from the 70's.

The main page has a brief history of phone recordings and links to other similar sites.  To hear the recordings, use the links in the orange box at the left:  Dial-A-Joke's, General Entertainment, Comment Lines, and Other Recordings.

Jr. Skulkers should improve their typing

Jr. Skulker JennyAnn submitted this site which has a web-based typing tutor program to teach touch typing and help improve typing speed.  Ms. Cat is trying this out, but the exercises don't seem to work on a cat. 

Skulking old radio shows

"Yesterday USA is a radio station that broadcasts actual radio shows from the 1920s - 1950s, 24 hours a day. You can listen to YUSA via the Internet, C-band satellite dishes, some cable systems and various low-power AM & FM stations!"

To listen via RealAudio 14.4 speed:

To listen via RealAudio 28.8 speed:

This made WebSkulker laugh

Submitted by Jr. Skulker Goat Boy.  This is supposed to be a true story.

Mutant Marsupials Take Up Arms Against Australian Air Force 

The reuse of some object-oriented code has caused tactical headaches for Australia's armed forces. As virtual reality simulators assume larger roles in helicopter combat training, programmers have gone to great lengths to increase the realism of their scenarios, including detailed landscapes and - in the case of the Northern Territory's Operation Phoenix - herds of kangaroos (since disturbed animals might well give away a helicopter's position). 

The head of the Defense Science & Technology Organization's Land Operations/Simulation division reportedly instructed developers to model the local marsupials' movements and reactions to helicopters. Being efficient programmers, they just re-appropriated some code originally used to model infantry detachment reactions under the same stimuli, changed the mapped icon from a soldier to a kangaroo, and increased the figures' speed of movement. 

Eager to demonstrate their flying skills for some visiting American pilots, the hotshot Aussies "buzzed" the virtual kangaroos in low flight during a simulation. The kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the visiting Americans nodded appreciatively... then did a double-take as the kangaroos reappeared from behind a hill and launched a barrage of Stinger missiles at the hapless helicopter. (Apparently the programmers had forgotten to remove that part of the infantry coding.) 

The lesson? 

Objects are defined with certain attributes, and any new object defined in terms of an old one inherits all the attributes. The embarrassed programmers had learned to be careful when reusing object-oriented code, and the Yanks left with a newfound respect for Australian wildlife. 

Simulator supervisors report that pilots from that point onward have strictly avoided kangaroos, just as they were meant to. 

-- From June 15, 1999 Defense Science and Technology Organization Lecture Series, Melbourne, Australia, and staff reports


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