Diana the Valkyrie

Diana the Valkyrie's Newsletter - September 1999

A hard man is good to beat


We had an eclipse of the sun this August. Of course, it was cloudy at the time so we couldn't actually see anything much, but it got kind of cold and dusky round here, and I had to put the lights on for a while.

Understanding the Internet - Free Internet Access

Several months ago, I explained to web site members how they could (legally) get free internet access, especially if you live in the UK. Now US surfers can get free ISPs (actually, you could before, but not many people knew about it).

This time, it's AltaVista. There are no monthly fees, and your time online is unlimited. You simply fill out a brief questionnaire to help them deliver advertising and offers that are customized to your tastes, and then you can download and run the software.

Uh ... yes. That's the downside. You get to have adverts shoved at you while you surf. Like TV or radio. free stuff has to be paid for somehow. They say their thing takes up 5% of your screen (they don't say how much download speed you lose, but if they're pumping bytes through your modem, that's speed you don't have any more). So what you're doing, is trading 5% of your computer for the free internet access.

I haven't tried it, so I don't know how good it is. There's a hint that this might become available internationally some day.

You can get free internet access in the USA (in the UK, it's increasingly difficult to find people who actually charge for this!) at NetZero and FreeI.net and Tritium and Microworkz. And I guess there's others, I didn't do a full search. But you have to be within their list of local numbers. I think that AltaVista have a wider range of access numbers, but if yours is on the list of one of the others, that doesn't matter to you.

Make money while surfing the web?

While I'm on this subject, here's a few ways to actually make money while surfing. I haven't signed up for any of these, so A) I don't know how good they are, and B) I'm not actually recommending them, just telling you about them. A lot of them are "Multi-level marketing" schemes (MLM), whereby if you persuade other people to join up, you get revenue from your "downline". So, for example, if someone you sign up gets $1, maybe you get ten cents. Or maybe 25 cents, whatever. And if he signs up someone, you get a cut of that person's action, too. Typically, this could mean that you can annoy all your friends to get them involved, and make an additional $1 per week. Maybe more. It depends how much you're willing to work to make that ten cents. There's usually some ceiling to how much you can make via this, check the details.

Which brings me to C) I haven't signed up, so I don't get anything if you sign up. And please don't invite me to join your "downline" because I don't do MLM schemes.

Before I get down to details, there's one thing about this kind of scheme that bothers me. Where on earth are they going to find advertisers dumb enough to pay for an advert that is very likely going to be ignored? Or is the plan to expand operations while losing a bundle of money, and then float the company with an IPO to proudly take it's place alongside all the other new internet companies that don't make money either? I mean, when you look at the Amazon.com accounts, they made a loss of $138 million on $314 million sales in the last reported quarter. And they're usually cited as a big success story. "We did a lot this quarter," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO. So you did, Jeff; so you did.

GoToWorld.com is a search engine and magazine/community, and they pay you money to use their browser. If you surf the Internet and have the banner-viewer activated then you will have viewed 180 banners in an hour and you get paid 40 cents. If you surf for a couple of hours per day, a few days per week, you can make $5 per week. This doesn't put you in the Bill Gates league (or even up there with Mr Formby the window cleaner), but could pay you enough to buy a couple of bottles of beer (or a month on my web site). There's also an MLM scheme, so you can annoy all your friends to get them involved, and make an additional $1 per week.

AllAdvantage gives members the ability to "Get Paid to Surf the Web" (which is done with the Viewbar™) and to get cash refunds from on-line shopping. For the first 15 hours you are online with your Viewbar on you will be credited 50 cents per hour. So again, you stand to make $5 per week maybe. There's also an MLM scheme, so you can annoy all your friends to get them involved, and make an additional $1 per week, maybe.

UtopiAD is an advertising serving engine, that pays its members a percentage of advertisement revenue, which they say is much more beneficial to members than a "flat rate" payment model. Maybe. It depends on how good they are at selling the adverts. I looked at their site, I couldn't work out how much you'd be likely to get. According to their press release, their web site has been up since August 6, 1999, so as internet businesses go, they rank as an old established business. And yes, there's an MLM scheme here too, but I'm blessed if I could work out how it works from their description.

ePIPO will pay its Surf Partners (well, they aren't going to call you "marks", are they?) 60 cents per hour to surf the web. Well, that sure beats the 40 and 50 cents that Goworld and AllAdvantage offer. Maybe you'll make three bottles of beer per week from them. Plus, they have the good old MLM scheme that lets you annoy your friends. They're pretty new too. In fact, their web site says they're starting up in September 1999. Hmmm, maybe 40 or 50 cents isn't that bad.

Sharkhunt also offers a percentage of the revenue received from advertisers. You will earn 25p each hour that the Adbar is open. 25p? Hey, these guys must be British! Well, 25p is about 40 cents US. And there's the usual MLM scheme. Their adbar takes up 10% of your screen. Right now, they can only send out cheques in Pounds Sterling, but they're hoping to expand. Today England, tomorrow ... who knows, maybe other countries too? I wonder if they know that Americans call cheques "checks"?

Fed up with getting junk emails? Well - good news! You can sign up to get even more junk email! Money-for-mail. But when I went to their web site, it said "The Money For Mail Site is down for temporary maintenance to help serve you better. Please return in a few minutes." So I went back after a while, and it was still down. I'm not sure how being out of action serves me better, maybe they know something I don't? Anyway, it's back now, and you get between $.20 and $2.50 per email. Plus you can annoy your friends by trying to get them to sign up, in the usual way. Hey! $2.50 just for getting an email? Ah, I see. That's from your "downline", all the folks you've badgered into signing up.

So what's the catch? Well, let's look at it from the advertisers' point of view. They're the ones who are paying for your name. Now, imagine you're a possible advertiser. Are you going to pay $2.50 for some guy's email address, knowing there's a pretty high chance that your email isn't going to do very much? Or even $.20? But the payouts depend on advertisers doing exactly that.

So why are they doing this? Well, let's see. Maybe there really are advertisers that are willing to pay $2.50 to discover that my email address is Valkyrie@thevalkyrie.com. Oops. I just gave it away! Oh well, I can set up another email address. Or another hundred email addresses. Oops! I shouldn't have said that, now the advertisers will get really cold feet. Still, I'm a quality sales lead, aren't I? I mean, I checked all the boxes that says I'm really interested in buying everything, so I'll get lots of junk emails at $$$ per email. Yes, I am keen to buy a waffle-iron and fondue set. No, I don't have one already. Yes, I'm a shopping fool, just tell me and I'll buy.

Or ... hey, lookee here. I get a share of stock in the company when I sign up, and another share for each referral. So I guess they're thinking of an IPO, a listing on the exchange. Well, if they can show they've a zillion members, and each member is worth $3000 (that's how they valued Freeserve when it floated), then ... well, you get the idea.

The bottom line

I haven't signed up for any of these. If any members have, I'd be interested to hear from them, provided I can publish the information in this newsletter. But if you do write to me, don't tell me how to sign up. I already know, and I already decided not to.

Next month, I'm planning to cover "internet stocks", with special emphasis on "success stories" such as Amazon.com. My sources of information, by the way, are the information that these companies put about their deals on their web sites, and the SEC database, which anyone can access at http://edgar.sec.gov/cgi-bin/srch-edgar

Want privacy? Use Hotmail?

On August 30, Microsoft took their Hotmail servers offline. Apparently, it was a security problem. Here's what Microsoft has to say about it. They claim they've fixed the problems now.

Since the problems are fixed, it's OK for me to publish them. Here's one way to find out people's passwords. I haven't tried it, and presumably Microsoft have fixed it. Or maybe it never worked in the first place, and he just made it all up.

If you want to know more about security holes in Hotmail, check out this list of articles. Most of the reports are of an old problem, fixed a year ago. There's a full coverage of the current story on Wiredand here.

Is this an important issue for web site members? Probably not. Most people wouldn't use Hotmail for anything important. I've thought of setting up a Hotmail-type email service for members, but then I ask myself, what's the point? There's already several such things, all free, all probably a lot better than the one I'd set up. So I haven't.

Listen with Diana the Valkyrie

More stories added, and more on the way. I'd be delighted if more people volunteered to do some of the reading. If you were hoping for a Contributor's Membership, this is one way to get one.

New and updated Galleries

I'm getting a lot of material via the Femsport project, and they also have their own web site.

Also -Jabber is bringing in a lot of pictures and reports from contests, while Tre (the Silver Knight with the Golden Lens) is bringing in huge amounts of pictures from various athletic events.

Galleries added this month.

The Library

I've put up an interactive never-ending story.

It works like this. You can read the story. At suitable points, there's a choice that you have to make, and the story continues according to the choice you made. Eventually, you get to the point where you make a choice, and up comes "Your Turn. You have reached the end of the story action. Now it's your turn to enter what happens next in the story." and at that point, it's over to you. You have to write the next part of the story, up to another decision point. There's two options, and you have to say what they are, such as "Sherry opens the box" and "Sherry decides not to open the box". Then someone else will write what comes next. Or you can write the next part too, if you want.

So, here's the story so far ...

Marmot has his own Bookshelf now.

The winner of the "Silenced Sentries" story contest is: "Vara," by Motif.

Authors rating an Honorable Mention include Tachallon, Barbanne, and Skeebo.

Stories added this month.

The Movie Theatre

Two new Movie Theatres. The Jan Tana 1999 will have a series of movies, and there's a great sequence of Andrulla Blanchette horseriding, interesting to Andrulla fans and to the Cavalry-fans.

Movies added this month.

Newsgroups - NewsThumbs

Still working fine. Mary the news server is full up now, so I'm deleting older stuff to make room for new stuff. Of course, when Suzie comes online ...


I had a problem near the end of July, just after I left for vacation. A disk problem took Mary offline, which meant that the newsthumbs were down, for about 36 hours. But then they were back and running again. However, I had some very sad emails from NewsThumbs addicts deprived of their daily fix. Well, the day that computers are 100% reliable ...

My current plan is to re-incarnate Greta (remember Greta?) to run alongside Mary, so that if one of them trips over, the other one can keep the NewsThumbs flowing. This will be Suzie, and Suzie is currently planned to have 300 gigabytes of disk space. Yes, 300 gigabytes. Actually, there's very little of the old Greta in Suzie.

Maybe you're wondering how to get 300 gb in one server? Well, it's not too difficult. IBM make 37 gigabyte drives, costing about $400 each. Eight of those, and you have 296 gigs. The drives are small, so you can cram eight of them into the case. It's easy when you see how, and it isn't even that expensive, considering. And the software I run on it is free, because it's Linux and Apache.

When will this happen? I wouldn't like to predict. Things always take longer than you expect, even when you know they take longer.

The Shopping Mall

In the Andrulla Blanchette shop, you can buy Andrulla's Iron Goddess 2000 calendar. You can see one of the pictures from it in the shop, go look. Buying Andrulla's calendar is a great way for fans to support this great competitor.

The Clubhouse

Are you fed up with being called abc123 or some such gibberish? Well, now you can make a name for yourself. You can change your username and/or your password and (within reason) choose any name you like.

In the Chatroom

The Coffee Lounge Tattler

"All the chat that's fit to print..."


  1. An Indecent Proposal
  2. ...somewhat of an accomplice
  3. A DREAM COME TRUE...Andrulla armwrassles Tex

Send questions and comments to TexBB@aol.com...........

You might like to read Tex's stories.

On August 30th, Andrea Gahan made a guest appearance in the Tearoom. Questions included wresting, contest preparation, and, of course, the editorial she wrote on her web site. Go read what everyone chatted about. And there's hope for all web site members :

Andrea Gahan - MY ideal man is not a bodybuilder..... very sensitive, kind, intelligent and generous

Chatter of the month



Diana the Valkyrie2704

Fistman played a dirty underhanded lawyer-type trick, and shovelled up thousands of postings before he went on vacations, earning himself the title of most-sneered-at chatter. Mad Scientist was really the chattiest member, followed by Pan. Boomer died, but Bud arrived to make up for it. Then Boomer recovered and was lying in Tibet in a coma, communicating with us via the entity known as Budoomer. We hope that Grim Reaper and Charon (two other chatroom inhabitants) don't get to lay permanent claim to Boomer, and he makes it back safely from Tibet.

There was a reunion of Old Chatters when Ghost turned up again, and we've started seeing sub again regularly. Also, welcome back to Jim Houdini. Melissa Coates was frequent chatter too, popping in unexpectedly from time to time, and staying for several hours.

If you want to know who's in the chatroom at any time, look at the list on the main Message Board page.

On the Message Boards

There's a new Message Board for Olga.

Board of the month

Poster of the month






Melissa's board has easily been the best this month. The L&C board has been boosted by the argy-bargy about anonymous postings, and attacks on video vendors. But I think it's returning to the main subject. One big surprise for me, has been the popularity of chess on this site; the Chess Board made it into the Top Ten this month! Melissa Coates is easily the most prolific poster on the web site. She's three times as big as TomNine (and twice as muscular).


We're sponsoring the Women's Strength Extravaganza again. And again, I'm offering a few VIP tickets to web site members, for free, in exchange for a committment to tale a load of pictures, and send me the film (I'll pay the film costs etc).

Back Page

Yes thank you, I had a great holiday. Sun, sea and sand. And stuffing. No internet connection, no telephones even. I read lots of books, though. I mean, you can't spend the entire day stuffing, can you?

I checked the site statistics. that Sandra counts up each night. Early in May, we passed the million picture count! And in June, we roared past a million and a half. Newsthumbs will stay and a million and a half now; I've hit the limitation of disk space on Mary. Until I get a server up that's even bigger ...

At the end of August 1999, there were about 187,000 pictures (8.3 gigabytes), 13.6 gigabytes of video, 3300 text files (mostly stories) and a total of about 22 gigabytes. In addition, there's NewsThumbs, which is another 1,337,000 pictures in 109 gigabytes and two million text files, a total of 116 gigabytes.

To the Library