Archive for computers

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

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html

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:

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.

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

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passwords cartoon

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

DEEP IN THE BOWELS OF PASSWORD HELL

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 willdurst.com 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.

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Cartoons of the Day- Cyber Monday

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Early Shopping

Rob Rogers

cyber

Charles Beyl

cyber2

Ann Cleaves

cyber3

Joel Pett

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Healthcare.gov Is Fixed -- In 3 Days By 3, 20-Year Olds, And For Free

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healthcare gov fixit guys

The Affordable Care Act stumbled out of the gate with their website, Healthcare.gov. 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 healthcare.gov only it works. The site is called HealthSherpa.com 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:

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If The GOP Was Around When Democracy Was Proposed

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13 coloniesThe 13 Colonies

If...

If the Republicans were around in 1776.

If Democracy had been proposed by the colonists.

If we needed all 13 colonies to join up or we'd perish.

If the Town Criers were all from Fox News.

What would that be like?  Well, thanks to Mark Fiore, we can get see for ourselves: CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW to be magically transported back in time.

Town Crier

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Cyber Hacked. Cyber Terrorized. Cyber Raped.

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computer safety

Just over a week ago, I wrote a piece about internet safety and how you have to work to stay protected.  It was called, Why Porn Sites Are Safer Than Small Business Web Sites.

Now comes some shocking and very, very scary news. Private citizens, those with webcams, remote or built into their computers, tablets or smartphone devices are being hacked. Without the victim knowing, their camera's have been activated, their actions recorded. And in many cases, picking up innocent people in a totally nude state.

Then, these people are contacted and extorted or their pictures will be released across the Internet on social media sites. Sometimes using your personal accounts, meaning all of your friends and contacts will be shown these images.

The extortion being extracted isn't only money. In order to keep these private video/pictures off the Internet, the perpetrators in some cases are having their innocent victims perform perverse sex acts on camera for the pleasure of the extortionist.

Sound like it's science fiction or that it can't happen to you. YOU'RE WRONG.

Cassidy Wolf

Here's the story of the current 2013 Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf.

TODAY SHOW NEWS:

About four months ago, Wolf said she received an anonymous e-mail from a stranger saying he was in possession of photos of her that were taken in her bedroom via the webcam on her computer after it was hacked. The person tried to extort her in return for ensuring the photos were not made public.

“I wasn’t aware that somebody was watching me (on my webcam),’’ she said. “The light (on the camera) didn't even go on, so I had no idea.”

Now it's  not just beauty queens and models who have been hacked. It's regular people like you and me. And we don't know it.

HUFFPO reports this:

Jared James Abrahams of Temecula surrendered to agents at the FBI office in Orange County to face a charge of extortion that could send him to federal prison for up to two years, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

That sounds like a pretty light sentence, up to two years for what he did.

Abrahams, a college freshman majoring in computer science, allegedly would use the women's webcams to capture nude images, then send emails threatening to post them on their hacked social media accounts unless they either sent him nude photos, a nude video, or logged onto the Skype video chat service and follow his orders for five minutes.

According to the affidavit, the victims included several women from other countries.

One teenager in Ireland responded to the demands by writing: "Please remember I'm 17. Have a heart," according to the court record.

Abrahams allegedly responded: "I'll tell you this right now! I do NOT have a heart. However, I do stick to my deals. Also age doesn't mean a thing to me!!!"

The girl then allegedly stripped during a Skype session, according to the FBI affidavit. A woman in Canada also stripped, according to the document.

Cyber-crimes are here. They're now. And they could be happening to you and if you don't take precautions, you might not find out until it's too late.

If something like this happens to you, please call the authorities. Here's how to contact them.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).

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New Google Glass App: Google Glass GOP

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paddyscetch

Yesterday, Paddy posted in her wonderful Saturday Links an entry that caught my eye:

What do you get when you combine Google Glass and religion? JEWGLASS: Jewish app translates Hebrew and locates nearby synagogues and kosher restaurants

It just sounded so wacky I had to check it out, and I wasn't disappointed. It's unintentionally hysterical especially to someone of that persuasion. Me. Now, I'm not one to refrain from an occasional foray into postulating what the future might hold. Who knew that I'd live long enough to see some of the things come to fruition that as a kid I thought were pure Jules Verne?

I mean my childhood fantasies of the future have now come true in so many ways: personal computers, self-driving cars, cell phones that show you television shows, microwaves, voice controlled everything.

Admittedly it doesn't take a whole lot to impress me with the future. I was really excited when they came out years ago with the "Pocket Fisherman" -- a collapsible fishing rod from Ron Popiel? Remember him? Well now that we have the Google Glass Jew, I'm wondering what's next. A self-conversion circumcision app? One snip and you're a Jew? Yikes.

Well, close. In a few weeks, Reince Priebus, on behalf of the RNC, is going to announce the latest, newest and most innovative app yet -- Google Glass GOP!

Google Glasses

It's Google Glasses that allows you to see things the way a Republican would see them. You could say they're one step forward and two leaps back.

I got to wondering what the world would look like. So I contacted a friend over at Google who's in the R & D division and he's sending me a pair. While I was waiting, I closed my eyes and got to imaging -- It started with some wavy music, fluttering light, and then I was magically transported to the future...with me wearing my Google Glasses GOP.

It's a sunny day. Well, we're led to believe it's sunny. The pollution is so thick that sans your glasses and their auto day/night vision setting, you can't actually tell if its day or night. Without any EPA regulations to get in our way, air quality is now measured in how many fingers you can make out in front of your face. Telling day from night requires you to carry a watch, illuminated with radioactive waste from one of the unregulated fracking polluted lakes or discarded nuclear waste from processing runoffs. It's cheap because there's such an abundance of it. But the good news is it's free. Just run tap water over the watch, assuming you have a tap to use, and it'll glow for hundreds of years.

dead pigeon

As you continue on your way, your Google Glass GOP will warn you of falling birds dying in mid-flight because of the pollution.  Those mutated, three headed pigeons are really messy and hurt when they hit you. Beware.

broken sidewalk

Anyway, Google Glass GOP will help you avoid nasty potholes and broken concrete sidewalks as you stroll along the deserted boulevards passed boarded up storefronts of failed concerns, victims or deregulation.

Boarded up Dominos

Google Glass GOP does help you avoid discarded businesses whenever possible. And should you be forced to pass one of these boarded up, out of business establishments, Google Glass GOP does let you tap a button allowing you to see what the buildings and business did look like back in their heyday which is sure to stir many a happy memory.

Dumpster diving

You find yourself hungry. Have no fear. Google Glass GOP will direct you to the closest hobo village and encampment. There you'll be able to trade whatever you still have left from your foreclosed home and bankruptcy from student loan debt to join in the mass civilian handouts found by Freeganists. You might know them as organized dumpster divers who share what scraps the Wall Streeters and other 2-percenters have discarded. Sometimes there's even a new Gucci sweater that's only been worn once by a high ranking "Too Big To Fail" corporate boss. Google Glass GOP can identify that for you.

Whites only zone

You're never far from another "White Zone Only" community. Google Glass GOP will guide you to a security zone. If you can prove that you're White, Christian, straight, male, and have no compassion, you'll be granted entrance to GOPania, the Nirvana of American life. But you'll be facing random police checks. Questions about how you'd demean a woman, a gay person, a minority or anyone with open thoughts will flash over your Google GOP Glass and your access to free passage will be determined by your answers. You might even face incarceration without any notice should your responses not match up with those of the Supreme GOP Ruler --  Emperor Limbaugh. All hail Rush.

rose colored glasses

Life is heaven if you're wearing rose colored, Google Glass GOP. If you want the experience of your lifetime, you'll give anything for a chance to see life the way it's supposed to be. Special options include showing you your unborn child all gown up, should you have wished for one of those long outlawed procedures called an abortion. If ever that thought crossed into your mind, Google Glass GOP will immediately show you a video of your adult child saving your life from a burning fire, carrying you to safety from the conflagration. That's made possible because there will be no more fire departments with the closing down of the government and all of it's supported services. Lucky for you, Google Glass GOP steers you away from so many mistakes.

Face it, the future holds great things. And you can have them now, if you'll just close your mind to any rational thinking, put a smile on your face and grab yourself a pair of Google Glass GOP.

Oh, I was kidding about the self-circumcision app. In the GOP Glasses land, there aren't any Jews. By banning them, out goes circumcision and along with it, that outdated, barbaric unnecessary regulation. Men of the future, it looks like turtle-neck sweaters will be back in vogue.

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