To lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason.  To move or go in a mean, stealthy manner.
ISSN: 1527-814X Thursday August 10, 2000

WebSkulker Newsletter
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Skulking around your hard drive

WebSkulker mentioned FileTracer in the 2/7/2000 issue.  This is probably his favorite shareware program and one he uses several times a day.  The new version 1.1 just came out, so this is worth mentioning again.  The first time you run FileTracer, it spends several minutes building a database of every file on all of your hard drives.  From then on, it keeps this database up to date in real time by placing hooks into the operating system so that every time a file is created, renamed, or deleted, it knows that immediately and updates its database.  This all goes on hidden in the background.

Whenever you need to find or explore anything on your hard drives, you pop up FileTracer and type in a complete filename, or a partial name with wild cards.  Since all information about your files is already in its database, it immediately presents a list of every file in every folder in every hard drive that matches what you typed, showing the folder where the file is located, the generic type of the file, the date and time last modified, and the size.  You can sort the entries on any of these fields by clicking the header of the field.  This list acts pretty much like a Windows Explorer window, so you can double click a file or folder to open it, click the right mouse button over an entry to bring up a menu of actions, etc.

The new version lets you pop up the FileTracer window while you are in the middle of a File Open or File Save dialog in another application.  Find the file you want in FileTracer, double click on it, and the path and name of the file will be transferred to the File Open or File Save window.

Because FileTracer accepts wild cards in the search field, you can instantly bring up a list of every file on every drive simply by typing * as the search.  You can then, for example, sort by date to see what ancient files you have sitting around wasting space.  Or sort every file by size to find giant files that are filling up your disk.

Jr. Skulker Chris Bernay asked WebSkulker for help the other day and FileTracer provided the answer, although it wasn't the answer Chris was hoping for.  Chris was working with a .wav file editing program to make a lot of changes to a very large (150 Mb) sound file.  He told the program to save the changes and something went very wrong.  There was an error message, and the saved file was corrupted and only a few bytes long.  The big file, along with all of his changes, was lost.  Sometimes such sound editing programs leave a copy of the original file behind as a temp file, so we looked for such a thing in all the obvious folders, but couldn't find anything.  We then installed FileTracer on his machine, did a search on * to display all files everywhere, and sorted them by size.  We went down the list looking for files of around 150 Mb, because such a file might have been a temporary copy of the original.  Unfortunately there was nothing, but you can see how FileTracer might have saved the day if there was a file of the right size, and this was trivial to look for using FileTracer.

Note: FileTracer by default does not display files in a couple of system temporary folders.  For the Chris Bernay example where we definitely did want to search temp files that might be in these folders, we needed to change the settings in FileTracer via the View / Preferences /  Ignored Folders command.

Skulking inside the stock markets

You jr. skulkers who own stocks will like this free service a lot.  Streamer is a Java program that you launch from a web browser and fill in a list of stocks that you own or are interested in.  It will then display the prices and order details for these stocks in real time whenever the market is open, just like you were sitting in a broker's office.  The Streamer service is from Datek, an online stock broker which hopes that Streamer will convince you to open an account with them.  This isn't necessary; the important functions of Streamer will work for anyone for free.

Go to the link above to see what Streamer looks like, then click on "Register Today" or "Register for Streamer".  The registration page has two options:  Open an Account, or Register Now Streamer.  If you don't want a Datek account, but just want to use Streamer, then select the second option.

Read your skulking manuals online

Microsoft just released a free electronic book reader for the PC and hopes that this will encourage book publishers to release electronic versions of all their books.  You download and install the reader program, then go to web stores that offer books to download and install into the reader.  Some are available for free, but most are for sale at about the same price as the print edition.  This seems like a rip off; shouldn't an electronic downloadable version of a book be a lot cheaper than a physical book on paper?

The reader program is supposed to make it easier to read a book on a desktop PC or notebook than just reading it as a text file.  The reader interface looks kind of like one page of a book, with very clear type and a simple interface for changing pages, finding, and bookmarking information.  But the real point of the reader program isn't for you, it's for the publishers because the books are encrypted and can only be read by this program.

This reader program for the PC isn't really the future of electronic books because it isn't that convenient to read a book from a PC monitor.  Perhaps you might want to do this from a laptop while traveling, but the future of electronic books is handheld devices that are about the size and weight of a paper book with clear screens and long lasting batteries.  Microsoft's entry in that arena is an electronic book reader program for the latest series of Windows CE machines that are similar to Palm Pilots.  The current machines can read some books, but not the latest ones encrypted for the desktop PC reader.  WebSkulker suspects that it will be a year or two before all of this is worked out and electronic books get popular.

Skulk target not found

Jr. Skulker Bob Bernay told us about this site that pays tribute to the 404 error message that you get from your web browser when a page can't be found.  Webmasters can change the default error messages in their server and some of these customized 404 error messages are clever and amusing.  The first link above tells all about 404 errors including the technical details of the error numbering scheme.  The second link goes to a page linking to sites with the author's favorite 404 messages.

These may not work for you because your browser might be set up to ignore the server's error message and give one of its own.  If this happens, read their instructions for changing this setting in your browser.

These made WebSkulker laugh

Submitted by Jr. Skulker Stuart Shostak

Top ten good things about having a Jewish vice president 

10) He can get us nuclear weapons at low, low wholesale prices. 

9) Between Federal and Jewish holidays he only works three days a year. 

8) Cures the middle east problem by turning all them towel headed Arabs into valet parkers for Israel. 

7) All Cabinet meetings save money because they're catered by the Stage Deli. 

6) The Winter White House gets moved to the top floor of the Fontainblue in Miami where it should have been all along. 

5) It's about time somebody sued them Cuban bastards. 

4) First day on the job he'll tackle Strom Thurman and circumcise him. 

3) Red Buttons finally takes his place on Mount Rushmore. 

2) The Catskills becomes the fifty-first state. 

1) The senate still has closed door sessions, but only after they "schmooze" and have a "nosh."


Submitted by Jr. Skulker Bruce Stein

Ten ways the White House will change with Lieberman as V.P.

10) Air Force One to be renamed "El Al Gore." 

9) Tipper to be referred to as "The First Shiksa." 

8) Saturday Night State Dinners to be replaced by Sunday Night Chinese. 

7) Inauguration to be completed with Breaking of Glass. 

6) Problem: Presidential Baldness.  Solution: Presidential Yarmulke! 

5) Every time "Hail to the Chief" is played, Secret Service men lift Gore in chair and dance around. 

4) U.S. never to pay retail again for nuclear warheads. 

3) Federal employees to have Saturdays off for Shabbat - but will have to actually start working Monday-Friday. 

2) Camp David relocated to Palm Beach. 

1) In first major trade agreement with India, New Delhi to be renamed Carnegie Delhi.


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