To lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason.  To move or go in a mean, stealthy manner.
ISSN: 1527-814X Wednesday January 26, 2000

WebSkulker Newsletter
I'm skulking over, a four-leaf clover

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Warning to jr. skulkers looking at DSL

Don't subscribe to Pacific Bell DSL!  And the same may apply for the DSL offerings of other telephone companies and some ISP's, so ask a lot of questions.  The two advantages you will always see in ads for DSL are (1) high-speed access, and (2) always on, always connected.  Pacific Bell Internet (PBI) recently snuck in a major change to their DSL offering so that it is slower than it used to be and the connection is no longer permanent, but rather a corrupted form of dialup.  It is PBI, the ISP, that made the change, not Pacific Bell, the telephone company, so it is still possible to get the old-fashioned type of DSL via a combination of a Pacific Bell DSL line with an alternative ISP at the other end.

DSL lines have traditionally acted like leased lines so that as far as your computer is concerned, you have a permanent connection to an ISP exactly as though you had a T-1 line connection (although usually slower than a real T-1).  You would have a static IP address for your computer so that you could run a web server and email server if you wanted, with names known to the rest of the Internet.  Pacific Bell installed a large number of DSL lines on that basis, and supposedly anyone who has such a line can keep it.

But all new DSL lines connected to PBI are being configured with a protocol called PPP over Ethernet (PPPoE) which simulates a dialup line over the DSL line.  With PPPoE there is no connection to your ISP when you first turn your computer on; you must click on a dialup networking entry -- just as though you were dialing into a modem line -- and start a simulated dialing procedure.  WebSkulker doesn't know the details, but he believes that PBI will disconnect the connection after some number of minutes of inactivity just like an ISP would on a dialup line, and you will have to do the simulated dialup again to reconnect.  Every time you dial in, your machine will get a different (dynamic) IP address so you can't run named servers.

DSL lines using PPPoE are some percentage slower than traditional DSL because the PPPoE protocol is involved with every packet sent and received, not just the connection sequence.  PPPoE has some overhead bytes in every packet, so fewer useful bytes can be transmitted per second.  For more information about PPPoE, see these two FAQ pages:

The RedBack FAQ makes PPPoE seem desirable and obviously it is from the ISP's point of view, or they wouldn't be using it.  But it is not good for you, the subscriber.  Ask a lot of questions before subscribing to DSL.  Will you have a static connection and IP address, or PPPoE?  If static, will you be able to keep that forever if the ISP goes to PPPoE for new connections?  The rumor is that the telephone company ISP's in some states will force their current subscribers to switch to PPPoE at some point.

For those of you in California, we recommend our ISP, Rawbandwidth Communications, as one that is committed to installing the traditional form of DSL at just slightly higher prices than Pacific Bell.  See:

Skulking details about the Internet

"Are you curious about the Internet? Would you like to know how the net was invented, what an Internet Protocol address is, and play with network maps and real-time tools? If so, then you are at the right place, because this site provides the net's most comprehensive source of information about the Internet."

If you aren't familiar with the IRC chat system, newsgroup forums, and MUD's, be sure to read the tutorials on the history of these services and how to use them.

WebSkulker particularly liked this page with links to several sites that show maps of the Internet backbone connections around the world:

Skulk around the house while listening

"The Radio Webcaster is a state-of-the-art, low power FM transmitter that connects to your computer's sound card, sending the audio output from your computer to any FM receiver within its range in stereo. With the easy to use talking remote you don't even have to leave your chair to change, browse, add, or remove station presets; play MP3's; adjust the volume; even record your favorite program.  Let Kim2000 talk you through all of the Radio Webcaster remote functions right through your radio or computer's speakers."

WebSkulker is guilty of this

Jr. Skulkers NoReality and Norm Bernay submitted this site which tackles the hidden problem of kitty porn on the Internet.  Yes, it's true and disgusting: kitty porn is rampant on the Internet.  Many web sites, including WebSkulker's, post pictures of naked cats who are under 18!

This made WebSkulker laugh

Submitted by Jr. Skulker Odyssey

How to Please your Technical Support Department 

1. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and children's art. We don't have a life, and we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours. 

2. Don't write anything down. Ever. We can play back the error messages from here. 

3. When an I.T. person says he's coming right over, go for coffee. That way you won't be there when we need your password. It's nothing for us to remember 700 screen saver passwords. 

4. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know that you can't get into your mail because your computer won't power on at all. 

5. When I.T. support sends you an E-Mail with high importance, delete it at once. We're just testing. 

6. When an I.T. person is eating lunch at his desk, walk right in and spill your guts right out. We exist only to serve. 

7. Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up and flags it as a rush delivery. 

8. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support.  There's electronics in it. 

9. When you're getting a NO DIAL TONE message at home, call computer support. We can fix your telephone line from here. 

10. When you have a dozen old computer screens to get rid of, call computer support. We're collectors. 

11. When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on an I.T. person's chair with no name, no phone number and no description of the problem. We love a puzzle. 

12. When an I.T. person tells you that computer screens don't have cartridges in them, argue. We love a good argument. 

13. When an I.T. person tells you that he'll be there shortly, reply in a cathing tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do you mean by shortly?" that motivates us. 

14. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20 times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes. 

15. When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the job to all 
68 printers in the company. One of them is bound to work. 

16. Don't learn the proper name for anything technical. We know exactly what you mean by "My thingy blew up". 

17. Don't use on-line help. On-line help is for wimps. 

18. If the mouse cable keeps knocking down the framed picture of your dog, lift the computer and stuff the cable under it. Mouse cables were designed to have 20kg of computer sitting on top of them. 

19. If the space bar on your keyboard doesn't work, blame it on the mail upgrade. Keyboards are actually very happy with half a pound of muffin crumbs and nail clippings in them. 

20. When you get a message saying "Are you sure?" click on that Yes button as fast as you can. Hell, if you weren't sure, you wouldn't be doing it, would you? 

21. When you find an I.T. person on the phone with his bank, sit uninvited on the corner of his desk and stare at him until he hangs up. We don't have any money to speak of anyway. 

22. Feel perfectly free to say things like "I don't know nothing about that computer crap". We don't mind at all hearing our area of professional expertise referred to as crap. 

23. When you need to change the toner cartridge in a printer, call I.T. support. Changing a toner cartridge is an extremely complex task, and Hewlett-Packard recommends that it be performed only by a professional engineer with a master's degree in nuclear physics. 

24. When something's the matter with your computer, ask your secretary to call the help desk. We enjoy the challenge of having to deal with a third party who doesn't know anything about the problem. 

25. When you receive a 30mb (huge) movie file, send it to everyone as a mail attachment. We've got lots of disk space on that mail server. 

26. Don't even think of breaking large print jobs down into smaller chunks. Somebody else might get a chance to squeeze a memo into the queue. 

27. When you lose your car keys, send an email to the entire company.People out in Pofadder like to keep abreast of what's going on. 

28. When you bump into an I.T. person at the grocery store on a Saturday, ask a computer question. We do weekends. 

29. Don't bother to tell us when you move computers around on your own. Computer names are just a cosmetic feature. 

30. When you bring your own personal home PC for repair at the office, leave the documentation at home. We'll find all the settings and drivers somewhere. 

31. Keep it crashing! 


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