To lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason.  To move or go in a mean, stealthy manner.
ISSN: 1527-814X Thursday March 30, 2000

WebSkulker Newsletter
Tis a far, far, better site I skulked
than I have ever skulked before

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To use the links in this newsletter, you must be connected to the Internet.  PC Eudora users: to see this and other html mail properly you must check the box "Use Microsoft's Viewer" in the "Viewing Mail" options.

Getting instant messages while skulking

This site is important for all jr. skulkers with a digital cell phone, alphanumeric pager, or wireless PDA, or who have friends with any of these devices.  You download and run a skinnable PC application that at first glance is like ICQ or AOL Instant Messenger in that you register yourself, and then build a list of buddies who also subscribe to the system.  The program will show you who is online, let you send instant messages to them, etc. etc.

But wait there's more!  If the recipient told the system that they have any digital cell phone or wireless device on any system anywhere in the world capable of receiving alphanumeric alerts or short messages, then Unimobile will optionally send a copy of the instant message to their phone, pager, or PDA.  Unimobile will soon have a WAP interface so that you will be able to use your Internet-enabled cell phone to send instant messages back to PC users.  The Unimobile software can send a message to your friend's phone even if your friend hasn't registered with Unimobile, because you can enter a phone number directly as the recepient. 

Every Unimobile subscriber gets an email address,, which can be used in various ways.  Any message sent to that address will show up immediately as an instant message in the PC program; optionally as an alert on the cell phone, pager or PDA; and optionally forwarded to any other email address.

Unimobile also provides several interfaces to Internet services so that, for example, it can send an alert to your handheld device when you receive mail at Hotmail and other web-based and POP3 email systems.

Jr. skulkers couldn't afford anything here

Jr. Skulker 785sicc suggested this site which "is a B2B portal serving the entire communications industry. It is the place to go for 'Everything Communications,' including products and services, jobs, shows and events, RFPs/RFQs, news, technology, VARs and international distributors, and much more. Our goal is to facilitate global business and networking opportunities for communications people and companies."

If you get a parking ticket while skulking

It happens every day.  A jr. skulker drives to the starting point of their skulk and then gets so engrossed in their skulking that they forget to skulk back to their car to feed the meter.  When this happens to you, this site may let you pay the parking ticket online with your credit card.  They don't cover the whole U.S. yet, but your city might be on their list.

Skulking in Klingon

WebSkulker knows two people who have audible clock programs on their PC's that play Westminster chimes over the PC speakers every 15 minutes.   How boring.  WebSkulker downloaded the audible clock from the first link above which speaks the time in Klingon every 15 minutes, or any interval he wants.  Now that's a clock suitable for a skulker!

If you want to understand what the clock is saying, study the material at the second link, the Klingon Language Institute.  These people are very serious about it.  Speaking of Klingons, do you know this one?  How are Star Trek and toilet paper related?  They both go to Uranus and fight the Klingons.  (This makes more sense when spoken than in writing.)

This made WebSkulker laugh

Submitted by Jr. Skulker Goat Boy

Electrical Engineering vs. Computer Science 

Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. "What do you think this is?" 

One advisor, an engineer, answered first. "It is a toaster," he said. The king asked, "How would you design an embedded computer for it?" The engineer replied, "Using a four-bit microcontroller, I would write a simple program that reads the darkness knob and quantizes its position to one of 16 shades of darkness, from snow white to coal black. The program would use that darkness level as the index to a 16-element table of initial timer values. Then it would turn on the heating elements and start the timer with the initial value selected from the table. At the end of the time delay, it would turn off the heat and pop up the toast. Come back next week, and I'll show you a working prototype." 

The second advisor, a computer scientist, immediately recognized the danger of such short-sighted thinking. He said, "Toasters don't just turn bread into toast, they are also used to warm frozen waffles. What you see before you is really a breakfast food cooker. As the subjects of your kingdom become more sophisticated, they will demand more capabilities. They will need a breakfast food cooker that can also cook sausage, fry bacon, and make scrambled eggs. A toaster that only makes toast will soon be obsolete. If we don't look to the future, we will have to completely redesign the toaster in just a few years." 

"With this in mind, we can formulate a more intelligent solution to the problem. First, create a class of breakfast foods. Specialize this class into subclasses: grains, pork, and poultry. The specialization process should be repeated with grains divided into toast, muffins, pancakes, and waffles; pork divided into sausage, links, and bacon; and poultry divided into scrambled eggs, hard- boiled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs, and various omelet classes." 

"The ham and cheese omelet class is worth special attention because it must inherit characteristics from the pork, dairy, and poultry classes. Thus, we see that the problem cannot be properly solved without multiple inheritance. At run time, the program must create the proper object and send a message to the object that says, 'Cook yourself.' The semantics of this message depend, of course, on the kind of object, so they have a different meaning to a piece of toast than to scrambled eggs." 

"Reviewing the process so far, we see that the analysis phase has revealed that the primary requirement is to cook any kind of breakfast food. In the design phase, we have discovered some derived requirements. Specifically, we need an object-oriented language with multiple inheritance. Of course, users don't want the eggs to get cold while the bacon is frying, so concurrent processing is required, too." 

"We must not forget the user interface. The lever that lowers the food lacks versatility, and the darkness knob is confusing. Users won't buy the product unless it has a user-friendly, graphical interface. When the breakfast cooker is plugged in, users should see a cowboy boot on the screen. Users click on it, and the message 'Booting UNIX' appears on the screen. Users can pull down a menu and click on the foods they want to cook." 

"Having made the wise decision of specifying the software first in the design phase, all that remains is to pick an adequate hardware platform for the implementation phase. An 600 Mhz Pentium with 128MB of memory, a 4 GB hard disk, and a SVGA monitor should be sufficient. If you select a multitasking, object oriented language that supports multiple inheritance and has a built-in GUI, writing the program will be a snap. (Imagine the difficulty we would have had if we had foolishly allowed a hardware-first design strategy to lock us into a four-bit microcontroller!)." 

The king wisely had the computer scientist beheaded, and they all lived happily ever after.


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