Archive for computers

Study: 1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD. Seriously.



Not everyone knows what the letters HTML stand for, or the exact definition of Hyper-Text Markup Language. But one would think that most people know it has something to do with computers or some kind of techy stuff in general. One would be wrong.

Los Angeles Times:

A recent study found that many Americans are lost when it comes to tech-related terms, with 11% saying that they thought HTML — a language that is used to create websites — was a sexually transmitted disease.

I wouldn't put it past Michele Bachmann to warn those 11% against getting inoculated against HTML. Memo to everyone: Never listen to Michele Bachmann.

Here's a handy dandy definition that should give the 11% in question some relief should they ever find themselves exposed to an abundance of HTML:


Stands for "Hyper-Text Markup Language." This is the language that Web pages are written in. Also known as hypertext documents, Web pages must conform to the rules of HTML in order to be displayed correctly in a Web browser. The HTML syntax is based on a list of tags that describe the page's format and what is displayed on the Web page.

It gets worse. Not possible, you say? Confusing HTML with HPV was crazy preposterous enough, you say? Read it and weep:

  • 27% identified "gigabyte" as an insect commonly found in South America. A gigabyte is a measurement unit for the storage capacity of an electronic device.
  • 42% said they believed a "motherboard" was "the deck of a cruise ship." A motherboard is usually a circuit board that holds many of the key components of a computer.
  • 15% said they believed "software" is comfortable clothing. Software is a general term for computer programs.

no wayWay.

Imagine what they think a "swap file" is. (Hint: It has nothing to do with open marriage.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to work. I'm writing up a piece on RAM Emanuel, and I'm running way behind schedule.


Passwords R Us: Don’t you love being called weak by some snotty algorithm?


passwords cartoon

Today’s guest post by the one, the only, Will Durst:


As the new year approaches, many of us in the dimly lit brotherhood of computer clumsoids (and our number is legion) feel the sharp prod of IT experts who blow themselves blue encouraging we Luddites to change passwords once a year like smoke alarm batteries or high school girlfriends or underwear on Duck Dynasty. And you know what that means: time for one more slippery descent into the bowels of Password Hell.

Passwords have engulfed our lives like glitter at a fashion show. You need one to rent a car, view your water bill, turn on the microwave, get in or out of bed. Oh, wait. That’s a safe word. Mine is “ouch.” And don’t get started on usernames, because it’s increasingly difficult to keep track of who we even are anymore.

The gear- clanging, brain- racking to dredge up a unique password for 2014 has commenced. Altering the Es to 3s is trendy. 8s to Ss and versa visa. But will it be enough? Each of us knows the terror inherent in that little bar rating passwords according to strength. Green- good. Red is weak. And don’t you love being called weak by some snotty algorithm? And no matter how many times you snap back, “oh yeah, well, you’re inert and lack sentience,” it doesn’t help.

And yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know the best passwords are a series of random symbols that look like Dagwood Bumstead’s dialogue balloon after hitting his thumb with a hammer. Giving you the same chance of remembering them as Rob Ford has of winning the decathlon in Brazil 2 years hence.

On top of that, enough layers of rules are being added to qualify for croissant dough. Your password no longer can be your wife’s birthday or 1234567 or the word “password” or eatpoo&die. Can’t be any password that has ever been used before. In the history of humanity.

At least 6 characters long but no more than 12. Must contain capital letters and non- consecutive numbers, two punctuations, a Polynesian petroglyph and the closest representation of a squirrel hut your keyboard can muster. Oh yeah, well, hashtag this. How does Password1234 strike you?

Worst thing you can do is write the password down. And please refrain from using the same password for all your firewalls. So expect to have 30 or so strings of nonsense floating around your cerebellum. We may be thwarting hackers, but the first casualty is usually ourselves. Half our time is spent logging in.

There’s password retrieval programs, but none of the questions appear the least bit familiar giving rise to the distinct possibility of drunken site registration. “What is the name of your favorite pet?” Who can make that kind of judgment? “Your son’s middle name?” Negative sons in this family, thank you very much. “Favorite non-cruciferous vegetable.” The hell does that even mean?

Password protection apps are popular. But the very idea seems a bit dodgy. Too many people wanting to manage my passwords. And willing do it for free. Eerily similar to those 80s subliminal tapes used during sleep cycles. Stop smoking. Manage stress. Pretty sure the subliminal message for most of those was “buy more tapes.” Meanwhile, the boatman has been paid and is taking me across the RiverStyx19$#!T. And yes, the period counts.

Will Durst is an award winning political comic. Go to to find about appearances near you including The 21st Annual Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show, Dec 26- Jan 1. Six Comics. Seven Cities. Eight Shows. 2,347 Laughs.


Cartoons of the Day- Cyber Monday


Early Shopping

Rob Rogers


Charles Beyl


Ann Cleaves


Joel Pett

Share Is Fixed -- In 3 Days By 3, 20-Year Olds, And For Free


healthcare gov fixit guys

The Affordable Care Act stumbled out of the gate with their website, It was a bust. Face it, there's nothing but bad news involved with the rollout except the number of people who tried to log on initially. That was very encouraging news. But if you can't buy what you're advertising for sale, you're bust. And so went the site and so went the President's credibility.

Fortunately, the fix is in. Oh, not like in a horse race, but as in a fully working site replacement. There's only one catch. It's not the government's site. It's a free site that three computer jockeys designed themselves over a few days and nights. It's only it works. The site is called and all you have to do is put in your zip code and all the rates and plans come up for you. Since it's inception, they've added on a feature that calculates your tax subsidies as well. So this site is good to go.

It's up and running right now.

And it's simple too. All the federal government needs to do now is take it over. And the three 20 year olds,  Ning Liang, George Kalogeropoulos and Michael Wasser who built it are willing to give it up -- to the government -- for free. They did  it as a public service. Of course they should be paid for this, but look at what we can do here as a country with education, advanced technology and some collective brainstorming. MailOnline reports:

The website claims: 'The Health Sherpa is a free guide that makes it easier to find and sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We only use carefully vetted, publicly available data.'

The programmers are also adding features to the site, such as a section on tax subsidies. But the three 20-year-olds say they worked on the project as a service rather than to make money.

CBS News made this report: