To lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason.  To move or go in a mean, stealthy manner.
ISSN: 1527-814X Monday July 24, 2000

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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.

Skulking through past issues

Last Friday's issue discussed a way to use the free Internet service without an advertising bar taking up screen space.  WebSkulker had used that method in the past and knew that it worked, but two jr. skulkers informed us that unfortunately it stopped working some time back.  We tried it again and can confirm that it does not work now.  We apologize for the bad information.  Normally Ms. Cat or WebSkulker tries everything just before publishing a newsletter to make sure it is accurate, but we trusted out memory on this one and didn't try it recently.  We have another idea for a free ISP service with no ads that we are working on, and should be able to tell you about in the next issue.


Last Friday's issue also mentioned a shareware program that purports to encrypt the HTML source code for a web page so people browsing to your site will have difficulty figuring out any special tricks you may use, harvesting your email address for spam lists, linking to your pictures, etc.:

Jr. Skulker Cary Roberts looked at this and wrote to us:  "This really isn't encrypting anything. It simply reverses the entire section between the tags character by character. All you need to do is read it backwards, or write a simple script to reassemble it. You'd think they could have at least gone to the trouble of scrambling tags and such. Maybe they have better products than the shareware version, but I'm not impressed."

Ms. Cat had looked at a sample of the encrypted source code briefly and it looked familiar, but she couldn't quite put her paw on it.  Cary's observation that it isn't really encrypted, but only backwards, shows that humans really are smarter than cats, even ones who can dictate newsletters.  Nevertheless, this shareware would still be useful to prevent automated harvesting of email addresses and pictures, so it might be worth something.  On the other hand, WebSkulker doesn't really believe in hiding HTML source code because the Internet is supposed to be a place for sharing and web programmers can learn a lot from reading other people's source code.


Jr. Skulker 925 sent us this news article:  "Federal regulators set aside new three-digit telephone numbers Friday: 511 for local traffic information and 211 for referrals to nonprofit groups serving the needy. They also ordered phone companies to adopt a code to reach special operators who help the deaf make calls.... The commission also mandated that telecommunication carriers implement a 711 code to contact operators that relay messages between those with speech or hearing disabilities and other callers."  Read the article for more details.

Voice skulking through history

WebSkulker is amazed that he never heard of this before, but did you know that Bell Labs had developed an electronic speech synthesizer called the Voder and demonstrated it in 1939 at a world's fair? Jr. Skulker Wes Chester sent us a picture and sound sample by email, and Ms. Cat did some web skulking to come up with these links to information, pictures, and more sounds of the device.

The first site is the most important because down at the very bottom, it has links to a six-minute interview with an engineer and an operator of the Voder, and many samples of its speech.  Both links are the same; one is in .wav format and the other is .au, whichever you prefer.  Trust WebSkulker, these are worth the large download!

The second site has more information and pictures, and a different sound sample to download.  The third site has pictures of the inventor at the machine.

The fourth site is in German, but if you are interested in this subject you should go there anyway.  It has the best picture of the Voder (click on it for even higher resolution), but better yet it has a description of a speech synthesizer built in the 1700's using pipe organ technology!

You jr. skulkers do know about Babelfish, don't you?  This will translate part of the German text into poor English.  Go to:   check the button "Website", type in the URL (or copy and paste), specify that you want a translation from German to English, and press the Translate button. 

Keep your skulking tools up to date

You jr. skulkers hopefully are familiar with Microsoft's Windows Update site that scans your hard drive to see what versions of Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer you have, and then displays a customized list of updates that are available for you to download and install.  ZDnet now has a site that does the same thing for most commercial software and shareware products.  Go to that site, click on "My Updates", enter your email address if your want to be on their mailing list (but you can leave it blank and everything will still work), and press the Start Now button.  The first time you do this, wait a few seconds and you should get a request to install their scanning program, say Yes.

Press "Scan My PC" and their program will scan all of your hard drives to see what you have installed.  It will then compare this with their database and give you a report on what fixes and new versions are available for everything it recognizes, with an easy download and install option for each one.

This is not the first service like this -- WebSkulker remembers one called Oil Change years ago and Norton had one -- but they both charged.  This is the only one he knows about that is totally free.

It's difficult to skulk with bees flying around you

Jr. Skulker Mediahound suggests this site for the funny animations of crime fighters Beebeard and his crew.  Click on "Heroes" and then "Villains" to see the cast of characters, then click on "Action" to get the list of episodes to view.  There are only two as of this writing.

This made WebSkulker laugh

Revenge of a user to Bill Gates

Bill: "There are a few issues we need to discuss." 

Contractor: "Ah, you have our basic support option. Calls are free for the first 90 days and $75 a call thereafter. Okay?" 

Bill: "Uh, yeah... the first issue is the living room. We think its a little smaller than we anticipated." 

Contractor: "Yeah. Some compromises were made to have it out by the release date." 

Bill: "We won't be able to fit all our furniture in there." 

Contractor: "Well, you have two options. You can purchase a new, larger living room; or you can use a Stacker." 

Bill: "Stacker?" 

Contractor: "Yeah, it allows you to fit twice as much furniture into the room. By stacking it, of course, you put the entertainment center on the couch... the chairs on the table...etc. You leave an empty spot, so when you want to use some furniture you can unstack what you need and then put it back when you're done." 

Bill: "Uh... I dunno... The second issue is the light fixtures. The bulbs we brought with us from our old home won't fit. The threads run the wrong way." 

Contractor: "Oh! That's easy. Those bulbs aren't plug and play. You'll have to upgrade to the new bulbs." 

Bill: "And the electrical outlets? The holes are round, not rectangular. How do I fix that?" 

Contractor: "Just uninstall and reinstall the electrical system." 

Bill: "You're kidding!?" 

Contractor: "Nope. Its the only way." 

Bill: "sigh Well... I have one last problem. Sometimes, when I have guests over, someone will flush the toilet and it won't stop. The water pressure drops so low that the showers don't work." 

Contractor: "That's a resource leakage problem. One fixture is failing to terminate and is hogging the resources preventing access from other fixtures." 

Bill: "And how do I fix that?" 

Contractor: "Well, after each flush, you all need to exit the house, turn off the water at the street, turn it back on, reenter the house and then you can get back to work." 

Bill: "That's the last straw. What kind of product are you selling me?" 

Contractor: "Hey, if you don't like it nobody made you buy it." 

Bill: "And when will this be fixed?" 

Contractor: "Oh, in your next house - which will be ready to release sometime near the end of next year. Actually it was due out this year, but we've had some delays..."


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