I’m continually amazed at the geeky phrases that my peers are able to infuse into everyday living. Megahertz, gigabytes, Internet, http, URL, email, blogs, World Wide Web. Does anyone else ever take a step back and listen to just how silly we all sound calling that punctuation mark that usually goes at the end of a sentence a dot? I wonder if Isaac thought it was weird when his teacher called it a period?

Spam has to be one of the best. I’m not sure where that came from, but I’ve gotten to know some native Hawaiians lately, and they actually like to eat Spam. Apparently it’s big on the islands. I haven’t asked if they are offended that we use the name of a beloved food to refer to unwanted email advertising, but I’ve been tempted.

Here’s one you probably haven’t heard before. Did you know that there are robots crawling the Internet? People write programs that download website after website from the internet. These programs are, for some unknown reason, referred to as robots, or bots, for short, and what they do is called crawling. In fact, this is how Google indexes the entire internet, by crawling it with the Googlebot.

The Googlebot is generally thought of as a good and helpful bot, but there are other more sinister bots crawling the internet. They look for email addresses and blogs that are ripe for spamming. These are called spambots. You probably haven’t noticed, but this website has fallen prey to spambots lately. Weird comments advertising unmentionable things have been showing up on old entries. I’ve been deleted them as soon as they appear, but that’s getting old. While sitting around after having had knee surgery, I added a captcha to the website’s comment system in order to battle the bots. You’ve probably seen these before, actually. If you haven’t, leave a comment on this entry and you’ll see what I mean.

The idea behind a captcha is to require you to pass a test before you can post a comment to a website. The test should be simple for humans, but next to impossible for computers (or bots). Deciphering pictures is one of those tests. Pretty ingenious, if you ask me. I’m sorry that the website has become slightly more inconvenient to use, but I really didn’t want to see another advertisement for, well, you know, on this website. Such is the price for this wonderfully open and “free” internet. Here’s hoping this helps.


Bryan November 25, 2007 at midnight

Hey, comments still work! Yay!

Julie November 26, 2007 at 11:48 a.m.

I am so glad you saved us from spambots!

Bryan August 20, 2008 at 11:01 p.m.