To lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason.  To move or go in a mean, stealthy manner.
ISSN: 1527-814X Wednesday September 27, 2000

WebSkulker Newsletter
His 5-year mission: to skulk strange new sites

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Skulking through past issues

In our last issue, WebSkulker mentioned a site with instructions for modifying the Windows ME startup files so that ME would boot more like Windows 98, including the real DOS mode.  The above link is to another site with instructions for accomplishing the same goal, but in an entirely different way.  If you follow the instructions in the Geocities site from the last issue, you will make a permanent modification to ME so that it will always boot through DOS and then into Windows just like 98 did, including loading drivers from config.sys and programs from autoexec.bat.  The instructions from the above site show how to set up a dual-boot situation so that sometimes you can boot into real DOS and sometimes you can boot into ME.  When you choose to boot into ME, the official new Microsoft boot sequence will occur that does not go through DOS.


This is a special offer from Staples to register a domain name for only $1 for the first year, and it expires this Saturday, so hurry.  Ms. Cat is always on the lookout for cheap domain name registration services because she figures that if WebSkulker saves money, he will spend it on catnip, toys, and higher-quality cat food for her.  The above link lets you register a domain for a year for only $1, and this is a complete, normal, registration with the domain registered to you and directable anywhere with no ads being imposed.  On the one paw, this seems like a great deal.  But on the other paw, the registration is with which normally charges $35 per year.  So you get the first year for only $1, but each subsequent year of renewal will be $35.  If you plan to keep a domain name for at least two years, you would therefore be better off with a discount registry that charges $11 per year, including the first year.  If you want to go through some trouble, you could take advantage of the $1 special now and then move the registration to a discount registry a little before the year is over.


Jr. Skulker Bob Bernay told us about another kit to make yourself a portable MP3 player, similar to the one we mentioned in the last issue.  This new one is based on a CD player instead of a hard drive, so you would burn MP3's into CD's to carry with you.

Tools for WebSkulking

Jr. Skulker Ldoug suggested the second link, but this is one of those sites where WebSkulker went up one level and liked other aspects of the site even better.  Rex Swain is an author and software developer.  His home page has a lot of good documentation and sample code for people interested in the technical and server side of web page development.  All jr. skulkers would be very interested in this subject if you had any idea how much good people in this field make and how easily they can find jobs.

The second link is to his famous HTTP Viewer.  Go there, type in a URL, and see information about the web server at the other end and the exact headers and content data that it returns for that URL.  This shows you what goes on under the covers when you browse the web with your favorite browser, and can be extremely valuable for developers debugging their web pages and CGI programs.

The third link is WebSkulker's favorite and is useful to every jr. skulker whether they are technical or not.  It discusses a couple of consequences of the mathematics of probability that can be very useful in the real world and explain a strange phenomenon.  "Intuitively, most people assume that in a string of numbers sampled randomly from some body of data, the first non-zero digit could be any number from 1 through 9. All nine numbers would be regarded as equally probable. 

But, as Dr. Benford discovered, in a huge assortment of number sequences -- random samples from a day's stock quotations, a tournament's tennis scores, the numbers on the front page of The New York Times, the populations of towns, electricity bills in the Solomon Islands, the molecular weights of compounds the half-lives of radioactive atoms and much more -- this is not so. 

Given a string of at least four numbers sampled from one or more of these sets of data, the chance that the first digit will be 1 is not one in nine, as many people would imagine; according to Benford's Law, it is 30.1 percent, or nearly one in three. The chance that the first number in the string will be 2 is only 17.6 percent, and the probabilities that successive numbers will be the first digit decline smoothly up to 9, which has only a 4.6 percent chance."   Go to the third link for the rest of this story.

You've got to know where to skulk-em

Mapquest is a very popular site that many of you jr. skulkers surely know about.  If you don't, go there to get at the least a high-level map of most places in the world, and for many countries, detailed street maps.  More importantly, Mapquest provides detailed driving instructions for getting from anywhere to anywhere in the U.S., Canada, and a growing number of other countries.  Just type in the address you are at and the address you want to go to, and it will draw you maps and turn-by-turn instructions.

But WebSkulker sometimes finds its driving instructions, at least for the San Francisco area, to be a little off.  It seems to come up with routes that are more complicated than local people would use.  For example, it shows totally unnecessary turns going from WebSkulker's house to the nearest freeway.  WebSkulker has asked people and stores for directions from the freeway to their address and gotten simple instructions, but MapQuest sometimes comes up with complicated instructions that seem out of the way.

Try using the second link instead.  It gives driving instructions based on the Etak mapping system, and seems to be there mainly as a sample of the kind of program you could write if you, as a developer, buy their mapping database.  It's interface is crude compared to MapQuest, but it seems to come up with driving instructions that match the real world better.  WebSkulker has used it for a couple of trips and likes it. 

Maps to Skulkers Homes

Continuing with the maps theme, Jr. Skulker H. Campbell told us about the first link, the Library Cats Map.  Ms. Cat wants you to know that there are 316 library cats in the United States shown on this map: 115 current residents (most live, but including 6 sculptures, 1 stuffed Siberian tiger, 1 stuffed mountain lion, and 1 virtual) and 201 former residents.  Click on your state to see where you can visit a library and pet a cat at the same time.

Ms. Cat's ego is flaring up from that item, and this won't help:  Jr. Skulker Numike submitted the second link, "Welcome to the Temple of the Sacred Cat. We are a small congregation of international members throughout cyberspace that are devoted worshiper of the Sacred Cat and/or enlightened open minded people that understand that an alternative theology can coexist and compliment main stream religions."  Wow.  And you thought all cats could do was eat, sleep, purr, meow, and write newsletters.

This made WebSkulker laugh

Submitted by Jr. Skulker Sidney Bernay

Engineering Conversions

Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter: Eskimo Pi 

2000 pounds of Chinese soup: Won ton 

1 millionth of a mouthwash: 1 microscope 

Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement: 1 bananosecond 

Weight an evangelist carries with God: 1 billigram 

Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour: Knot-furlong 

365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer because it's less filling: 
1 lite year 

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone: 1 Rod Serling 

Half of a large intestine: 1 semicolon 

1000 aches: 1 kilohurtz 

Basic unit of laryngitis: 1 hoarsepower 

Shortest distance between two jokes: A straight line. (think about it for a moment) 

453.6 graham crackers: 1 pound cake 

1 million microphones: 1 megaphone 

1 million bicycles: 2 megacycles 

2000 mockingbirds: two kilomockingbirds (work on it....) 

10 cards: 1 decacards 

1 kilogram of falling figs: 1 Fig Newton 

1000 cubic centimeters of wet socks: 1 literhosen 

1 millionth of a fish: 1 microfiche 

1 trillion pins: 1 terrapin 

10 rations: 1 decoration 

100 rations: 1 C-ration 

2 monograms: 1 diagram 

8 nickels: 2 paradigms 

3 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital: 1 I.V. League 

100 Senators: Not 1 decision


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