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 13, 2000

WebSkulker Newsletter
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Skulking inside the CueCat scanner

Last Friday's issue mentioned the free CueCat barcode scanner that you can get totally free simply by walking into any Radio Shack store and asking for one.  We just noticed that last Friday's issue was also the first anniversary of the newsletter since the first WebSkulker was published on 9/8/99 and we didn't even notice this!

A couple of jr. skulkers sent us more information about the CueCat.  TreeMan suggests looking at these URL's for information about modifying and hacking the electronics of the CueCat as well as privacy concerns about the software that comes with it:  (Be sure to check this one out!)

"Bottom line: Using Digital Convergence software is quite possibly a privacy risk (and also a legal risk if you don't want to give up ownership to the device which was freely given to you).  There are a lot of people figuring out other ways to use the device, and DigitalConvergence doesn't like it. For my part, I was given the device at Rat Shack with no strings attached (I would not give them any personal information, either) and I did not and do not agree to their license agreement (and I have NOT used their software), so it's mine, and if I want to use someone else's software with it, I will."

Jeff Dobkin sent these instructions for a modification to the CueCat.  WebSkulker has not tested this and cannot vouch for it:

"Most barcode scanners on the market today are user configurable for different options such as various types of bar codes, whether or not to include a carriage return each scan, and displaying start/end characters. The most common method of setting these options is with dip switches. 

Opening up the CueCat and analyzing the design reveals that there are some circuit board connections that can change the programming. One that may be of interest to skulkers will convert the CueCat to an ordinary barcode scanner that will display the actual bar code scanned without encoding it. This modification can be done as follows: 

WARNING: Do not attempt to perform this modification unless you completely understand the instructions as a mistake could damage your computer's system board and/or the CueCat. 

1. Open the CueCat by removing the 4 screws underneath and removing the top part. 

2. Locate a set of 5 gold plated holes in the PC board that are close together in a row just above where it says FM+H Rev 0.3 on the pc board. 

3. Solder a wire from the where the red wire connects to the board (+5 volts) to the second gold plated hole from the left in the group of 5 as located in Step 2. As a reference, left is the side where the light source is. 

4. Re-assemble the CueCat and reconnect to the computer. 

Now the CueCat can be used as an ordinary bar code scanner."

Skulk free for 3 months

WebSkulker recommends that you not take advantage of this Network Solutions special offer for "free" domain registrations because there are much better deals to be had, but in some special cases this offer might be useful.  Go to the first link and you can register a domain name with Network Solutions totally free and anonymously because they don't require a credit card.  But this is only good for three months, and if you want to keep the domain name after that, you must pay them either $30 or $40 for the rest of the year, depending on which of their description pages you believe.  If you plan to keep a domain name for more than three months (which in most cases you certainly would) then you would be better off with one of the discount registries which charge only about $11 per year.  But if you have only a short temporary need for a domain name, then this free offer makes sense.

The free Network Solutions name does not include any web hosting service, so anyone visiting your new name will get a generic "under construction" type of page.  But you will get one and only one email address at your domain name that you can forward to another email address you already have, or read email via their website.  Since you probably want a web site as well as an email address, you will have to establish an account with a web hosting service and set up the DNS entries on the Network Solutions site to point to your web host.

WebSkulker set up a domain to test this and found that the email started working after a couple of days, but he wasn't able to set up the DNS servers for web service until about five days later.  The instructions for this are quite sparse.  The secret is to wait several days, then go to the home page, and click on a link at the bottom "Make Changes".  This will claim that the domain name isn't registered if you haven't waited enough days.  Note that you can't specify another web site for your name to forward to.  You can only provide DNS server information so you need to know how to handle things from there.

Again, WebSkulker mentions this more as a curiosity than as something you should really do.  If you want your own domain name, register it with for about $11 instead as recommended in last Friday's issue.

The second link above,, can help with this process if you choose a web host that doesn't handle DNS.  Most of the free ones don't.  Jr. Skulker Tim told us about RealDNS as a replacement for the MyInternet service that WebSkulker has recommended before, but isn't working well at the moment.  RealDNS does almost all of the functions that we liked at MyInternet.  MyInternet was totally free while RealDNS is almost free.  They give three months of service free, then their price is $2 or $5 per year depending on which services you require.  The changes at seem to be coming along and hopefully it will start working for new users soon.

On your mark;  get set;  skulk!

Suppose you are out skulking and listening to the radio for entertainment, you hear a song you like,  but the DJ doesn't identify it.  If you sign up with either of these sites and carry around the little keychain-like device they send you, then you can mark the times you heard songs by pressing a button.  When you get home, you plug the device into a port on your PC and upload these time marks.  The web site will show you what was playing on your favorite stations at that moment.  Both sites are also planning to have the same service for commercials you hear and want to remember.

These services compete with each other; their devices and lists of radio stations they support are different. will send you the device totally free; sells their device through for $19.95.  The only obvious difference in the devices themselves is that the itag one connects through a serial port, and you plug a cable into the device.  The emarker one connects to a USB port and you set the device into a cradle.  If you use it a lot, the emarker one might be worth paying for.  It isn't clear from either web site which radio stations they are really supporting today, so perhaps emarker might be worth the money if it has your stations and itag doesn't.

All jr. skulkers should get an itag since it is completely free.  Once you see the concept in action, you might want to spend the money to get an emarker also.  Or maybe wait a while and emarker will give theirs away free in order to compete with the free itag.

Thanks to Jr. Skulker AmpereMan for telling us about itag.

Fractional skulking

Jr. Skulker Busbar suggested these two sites about skulking around inside fractals.  The first has many pictures created by a fractal-generating program and chosen by the site author for their beauty and interest.  The second lets you download such a program to generate fractal images to your specifications.

WebSkulker backed up one level and looked at itself.  He liked this even better than the fractal pictures, because it has hundreds of icons and animated GIF's for use on web pages.

This made WebSkulker laugh

Submitted by Jr. Skulker Greg Morkovin

This is from a contest on Long Island. The requirements were to use the words Lewinsky and Kaczynski (the Unabomber) in a limerick. Here are the 3 winners:

Third place:

There once was a gal named Lewinsky
Who played on a flute like Stravinsky
'Twas "Hail to the Chief"
On this flute made of beef
That stole the front page from Kaczynski.

Second place:

Said Bill Clinton to young Ms. Lewinsky
We don't want to leave clues like Kaczynski,
Since you look such a mess,
Use the hem of your dress
And wipe that stuff off of your chinsky.

And the winning entry:

Lewinsky and Clinton have shown
What Kaczynski must surely have known:
That an intern is better
Than a bomb in a letter
Given the choice of how to be blown.


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