To lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason.  To move or go in a mean, stealthy manner.
ISSN: 1527-814X Thursday September 21, 2000

WebSkulker Newsletter
I've got to admit I'm skulking better,
Skulking better all the time

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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 the news

Microsoft released the latest version of Windows called Millennium Edition, or Windows ME.  The first link above is to Microsoft's home page for the product with details of the new features that ME has over Windows 98.  Click on the link "Top 10 Reasons to Upgrade".  The second link is a review of Windows ME by ZDnet, with the last page being a must read:  "Is This Update for You?"

There really isn't much in ME that you can't get other ways.  If you go to and install Internet Explorer 5.5 and Windows Media Player 7.0 to Windows 98 you are most of the way there, and most of the other new features in ME are available with freeware and shareware programs.

On the other hand, an upgrade CD from 98 to ME is only around $50 so it isn't big money to try it out and get the new features.  But there is one reason not to: ME as shipped from Microsoft eliminates the ability to boot your machine into a real DOS mode, and it ignores most statements in CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT.  Microsoft did this deliberately to get better reliability and better speed in booting and shutting down, so for the average user this might be a good thing.  If you run old DOS programs, however, or you are a power skulker who likes to go into DOS mode from time to time and tweak the settings in CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT, then you had better think carefully about converting to ME.  You will lose those capabilities and may not gain much in return.

It might be possible to skulk the best of both worlds.  The third link above is a mysterious, but well respected, page with instructions on how to modify the Windows ME boot processes so that statements in CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT will be honored and the old 98 boot menu option to boot into DOS (Command Prompt) will still work.  Many newsgroup messages point to this link and claim the method works, but the page itself is anonymous and one would think that something so unique and important would be on something better than a Geocities page.

WebSkulker hasn't tried this yet, but people on newsgroups and Jr. Skulker Stuart Shostak have.  Stuart had mixed luck with it:  it seemed to work as advertised, but a CONFIG.SYS setting that he needed for an old DOS program didn't seem to work in ME even with the patch, and he had some problems shutting down the system.

The patch can be reversed easily so there is no reason not to try it, but you must be sure to back up the originally three files that get altered.  Then you can reverse the patch simply by copying the three original files back to the root directory.  Let us say this again: the instructions on the patch page neglect to mention making a copy of all the files first, so remember to do this!!!!


Ms. Cat ran across this interesting History of Hacking page by MSNBC.


This service is only available in New York City right now so WebSkulker mentions it more for a glimpse into the future than for something you jr. skulkers could use today.  Modo is a small alphanumeric pager-like device that you purchase for $99 and after that all service is free.  The Modo system sends out information every night over pager frequencies to keep an up-to-date database about the city you are in (New York only at the moment) and the events going on in it.  The Modo interface is very much like a web browser to let you find the information you need easily.  Play with the Flash demo on the first link above to see how it works.  The second link is to the company behind Modo.


WebSkulker mentioned the iTag service in last Wednesday's issue.  At that time, the site and the service seemed alive and well.  But in the meantime, Jr. Skulker Lisa noticed that their web site now says they are discontinuing service.

Tell it to the skulker

877-923-Surf    818-874-1280

TellSurf is yet another system where you sign up on their web site, then dial a toll-free number from wherever you are to retrieve information via speech recognition and voice response.  The name of the web site,, is quite misleading because you would think that the toll-free number that you would dial is 1-888-tel-surf, but it isn't.  That number gives you a live operator who will register you for the system instead of using the web site.  Once you are registered, they give you the real phone numbers for dialing into the system.  We cheated and listed them above.  According to the web site, they are still rolling out the service nationwide and the 877 number might only work from inside California.  Anyone can use the 818 number to play with the system.

"TelSurf provides a broad range of Internet communication, information and entertainment services that members can access from any telephone, without using a PC, modem or Internet Service Provider. From the TelSurf home page members can access services like Pro Scoreboard and Stock Quotes as well as access other TelSurf web pages for Entertainment, Message Center, News and myTelSurf. TelSurf also enables a member to access certain 3rd party Web pages, like My Yahoo!, via the telephone by reading portions of the page as the member directs. 

TelSurf provides a valuable selection of Personalized services that make TelSurfing more rewarding and interesting. Many of these enhancements are in addition to traditional Internet content. TelSurf has personalized services for weather, stocks, sports and news. For example, you can say, "My Portfolio" and TelSurf will give you stock quotes for up to 48 stocks and indexes in your personal stock portfolio. And if you want stock quotes for companies not in your portfolio you simply say, 'stock quotes'."

Entertain yourself while skulking

Jr. Skulker Batteryman told us about this kit for building your own portable MP3 player with the music files stored on a hard drive so you can carry hundreds of hours of music with you.  This is definitely a work in progress and a project for the jr. skulker who is technically inclined because you need to build at least your own case and power supply and handle a lot of details about the format of the hard drive and firmware installation.  Also the author is still actively working on the firmware so many of the functions are limited at this moment.  If you like soldering, you can buy the main circuit board and components as a kit and solder it all together yourself, or for only $10 more, you can buy the main board fully assembled and tested.

Although in theory this could be carried around and run on batteries, the author intends it more as a component in a home stereo system or an attachment to a car stereo where it could be powered by the car battery.  Besides battery life, WebSkulker doesn't think a normal hard drive would be very happy bouncing up and down while you walk or jog or skulk.

Skulking on crack

Both links go to the same site, so whether you are an anti-Bush Democrat or an anti-Gore Republican, you can click on a link that feels right.  Go here for Pure Uncut Satire on the presidential race and everything else in the news.  

Thanks to Jr. Skulker Bob Rowell for telling us about this.

This made WebSkulker laugh

Submitted by Jr. Skulker Sidney Bernay

Here are some of the classic questions that were asked of the Sydney Olympic Committee via their Web site, with answers supplied where appropriate.

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK) 
A: Upwards, out of the ground, like the person who asked this question, who themselves will need watering if their IQ drops any lower... 

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA) 
A: Depends on how much beer you've consumed... 

Q: Which direction should I drive - Perth to Darwin or Darwin to Perth - to avoid driving with the sun in my eyes? (Germany) 
A: Excellent question, considering that the Olympics are being held in Sydney.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden) 

A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, so you'll need to have started about a year ago to get there in time for this October... 

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Australia? (Sweden) 
A: And accomplish what? 

Q: It is imperative that I find the names and addresses of places to contact for a stuffed porpoise. (Italy) 
A: (I'm not touching this one...)

Q: My client wants to take a steel pooper-scooper into Australia. Will you let her in? (South Africa) 
A: Why? 

Q: Where can I learn underwater welding in Australia? (Portugal) 
A: Underwater. 

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK) 
A: Why bother? Use your fingers like the rest of us... 

Q: Do you have perfume in Australia? (France) 
A: No. Everybody stinks. Just like France 

Q: Do tents exist in Australia? (Germany) 
A: Yes, but only in sporting supply stores, peoples' garages, and most national parks. 

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? (UK) 
A: This HAS to have been asked by a blonde... 

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy) 
A: Yes. Gay nightclubs. 

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France) 
A: Yes. At Christmas. 

Q: Can I drive to the Great Barrier Reef? (Germany) 
A: Sure, if your vehicle is amphibious. 

Q: Are there killer bees in Australia? (Germany) 
A: Not yet, but we'll see what we can do by the time you get here. 

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA) 
A: (What's this guy smoking, and where do I get some?) 

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany) 
A: (Another blonde?) 

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA) 
A: I love this one...there are no rattlesnakes in Australia. But we have 9 of the 10 most deadly snakes in the world. 

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA) 
A: Face North and you should be about right. 

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA) 
A: (Americans have long had considerable trouble distinguishing between Austria and Australia.) 

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA) 
A: And the question is ..??? 

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA) 
A: (From Liz Taylor I assume?) 

Q: Are there places in Australia where you can make love outdoors? (Italy) 
A: Yes. Outdoors. 

Q: I was in Australia in 1969 on R+R, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Kings Cross. Can you help? (USA) 
A: No. She doesn't want to see you. 

Q: Will I be able to "speek" English most places I go? (USA) 
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.


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