Some hints on what you can do on Internet


Updated Sunday, July 14, 2002

I felt it was really time to update this page. Many of my old hints are now obsolete, and some are even disencouraged e.g. for contruibuting to spam. Instead of those, you will now find hints about how to avoid spam. :-) The forms have been removed too. There used to be free email forms available but because of abuse by spammers there are no such forms any more. I could set up one here, but I wouldn't want to run the risk of being banned for letting spammers use my scripts.

Send a fax

You can send e-mail to any fax machine in the world with the Internet. You message must be in plain text format, and it will be printed on the fax just like a normal E-mail would. If you're using an emailer capable of sending formatted text (such as Microsoft Outlook) make sure you turn all formats off and send the message as plain text. The recipient (To:) should read:

Mailto:<name>@<any letter><TelNr>.fax.sunet.se
Example: Mailto:firstname_lastname@f08555555.fax.sunet.se

Remember that your fax will be sent from Sweden. To fax to your own country you have to enter the country code as well, and cut the first zero in the exchange code. in the example above it would be:

firstname_lastname@f+468555555.fax.sunet.se

More information can be found at http://basun.sunet.se/html_docs/info_sunet/fax_gate.html.


There is another fax gateway. More information and an online script can be found at http://www.tpc.int


Anonymous mail

There used to be mail forms available all over the net. You just had to enter a fake sender and you would send email anonymously. It didn't take long before those forms were used by spammers, i.e. companies using them to send commercial ads to large numbers of internet users by email. Many people found this spam annoying and reported servers with such forms to a blacklist. Any server that was blacklisted would not be able to send e-mail to those servers who used the blacklist. Therefore, you will not find that kind of forms on the web today. Instead you will find forms that have been exclusively written to send e-mail to a certain person.

You were also able to enter any mail server (e.g. mail.telia.com) as your outgoing mail server. This too was abused by spammers and still is today. A server which allos anyone to send email is called an open relay, and will end up on blacklists as soon as the spammers discover the open relay. Nowadays, considering Internet Providers have mail servers which only allows you to send messages if you are logged in to their system. This prevents "hijacking" by spammers.

A better way of sending email was to use a cyberpunk server. This system was not completely anonymous, because the system administrators could track you if the police needed information for a crime investigation. It was also possible to reply to you via the cyberpunk server. As far as I'm concerned this function has been made obsolete by forwarders and modern email programs which allow you to change user. If you want to be anonymous, just get a mail forwarder e.g. at bigfoot.com and temporarily change the sender to this address in your mail program. Or, you could get yourself a hotmail address.

Send text messages to a GSM telephone

This was revolutionary when a South African company let anyone send SMS messages through their servers. It started out as an experiment, but the word spread quickly, and before soon the service was used by people all over the world. It was costly for the company, and they had to close down the service. Another reason for shutting it down was that spammers abused it to send commercials to mobile phones.

The system was later resurrected. To prevent spamming, you could not use the service unless you were a member and had logged in to the server. Probably because of economical reasons the company changed the service and today you can only use their system to send SMS to south african companies. Another likely reason is that today, most providers offering free services have an SMS:er of their own.

However, I think the company deserves that you visit their homepage. They were pionieers when it comes to sending SMS over the net, and have spread joy to numerous internet users. Please visit them at www.mtnsms.com

Local Search

You can customise search engines to search your webpage alone, and skip the rest of the world. This is useful for local searches and requires no knowledge of script programming on your behalf. The Page of Reason uses such a script:

Search The Page of Reason

How to avoid annoying popups and banners

Commercials have ruined the indernet. What was once a glorious land where everybody had free speach has been kidnapped by scrupulous companies who's only interest is to make money, even by means that are considered unethical by the ones who recieve the ads. As seen above, many excellent internet tricks have been abused by spammers and been forced away from the net. A less negative way of displaying commercials is to put up banners directly on the webpage. However these ads take time to download, and a less appreciated way is to open up the ads in a new pop-up window.

Turn off javascript

To avoid popups is fairly easy - just turn off javascript. However, some internet services (most notably banks and webshops) require that you have javascript on to be able to utilize them. You will be forced then to turn javascript on and off depending on where you go, but that is probably less annoying that those pop-ups.

Here is another way for Windows 95/98 users to prevent banners and pop-ups

In the directory C\Windows there is a file named HOSTS.SAM. Open that file using notepad, or your favourite text editor. At the end of that file, add the following text

#no ads from the following servers
127.0.0.1 ad.doubleclick.net
127.0.0.1 ad.se.doubleclick.net
127.0.0.1 ad2.doubleclick.net

The text after the # is just a remark to let you remember why those names are there. What this trick does is to port calls to the domains mentioned to point at 127.0.0.1, i.e. yourself. Thus, all banners with a reference to those addresses will fail and you will not have to wait for them to download. ad.se.doubleclick.net is for swedish users. If you live in the UK you put ad.uk.doubleclick.net instead, german users write ad.de.doubleclick.net, etc.

Of course you can add as many ad-domains as you like. Whenever you see new ads, you can move the mouse cursor over the image to see where it came from, add the domain name to HOSTS.SAM and you will never get any ads or popups from that domain ever again.

Get a popup killer

However, this system is not foolproof. Whenever the company changes server (e.g. ad3.doubleclick.net) you must add it to HOSTS.SAM. An easier way is to install a program that filters your webpages and prevents pop-ups from displaying on your computer. Oe such program is Popup Stopper. Here is a list of popular popup killers: www.download.com

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Last update Monday, July 15, 2002

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