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Techno Ted's Wacky Site

It's going to be a lot more difficult now for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to shirk his "Techno Ted" nickname (and techno-dunce reputation), what with the single weirdest message we've ever seen appearing on his campaign Web site.

Almost as freaky as his infamously disjointed "series-of-tubes" speech last year about the Internet (which briefly earned him the Most Lampooned Politician on the Web award), Stevens's reelection site asks visitors to enter a username and password and then -- as they unsuccessfully fumble for a password -- condemns them with a warning that begins:

"Through a series of highly sophisticated and complex algorithms, this system has determined that you are not presently authorized to use this system function. It could be that you simply mistyped a password, or, it could be that you are some sort of interplanetary alien-being that has no hands and, thus, cannot type." (See screenshot on 2nd page of this post.)

But wait, it gets even weirder:

"If I were a gambler, I would bet that a cat (an orange tabby named Sierra or Harley) somehow jumped onto your keyboard and forgot some of the more important pointers from those typing lessons you paid for. Based on the actual error encountered, I would guess that the feline in question simply forgot to place one or both paws on the appropriate home keys before starting. Then again, I suppose it could have been a keyboard error caused by some form of cosmic radiation; this would fit nicely with my interplanetary alien-being theory."

Um, senator? Are you OK? Have you decided not to run for reelection after all?

Stevens spokesman Aaron Saunders said he didn't know anything about the Web message and furthermore wouldn't comment anyway because of legal separations between Senate and campaign affairs.

No one seemed to know how the alien missive landed on the Senator's web site, including Stevens's campaign treasurer, Tim McKeever, who called it "bizarre." And like boss, like aide: McKeever claimed to be as technologically challenged as the senator.

"I have limited knowledge about the Internet, as my teenage son will tell you," McKeever said, maybe only half-jokingly. He insisted that Stevens is definitely running for reelection, just as the senator has announced, even though is not "an active campaign Web site" yet.

So who left that whacky message on the campaign site, and why? We thought the tabby cat reference a bit curious, considering Stevens had a pet cat who died recently. How mean to tug at the senator's heart strings that way! Though we hear the senator's cat was named Tigger, not "Sierra Harley."

Senate Democratic political operatives professed innocence. Though they were down right gleeful over having an excuse to dredge up "Techno Ted," as Sen. Stevens came to be known after his Internet speech in which he declared, among other musings, that the Internet is "not a big truck."

"Unfortunately, this is the least crazy thing Ted Stevens has said about the Internet," said
Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Below is a screenshot of the message that was on Stevens's campaign site. The site was not working on Thursday, though your Sleuth visited it on Wednesday and saw the text herself. The screenshot was provided by a trusty political operative who's clearly getting an early start on the '08 campaign season.

Sen. Stevens Web Site

By Mary Ann Akers  |  February 23, 2007; 5:00 AM ET
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Mary Ann Akers wrote "The site was not working on Thursday, though your Sleuth visited it on Wednesday and saw the text herself."

It's ba-a-a-a-ack!!!!

Posted by: Charles H. Riggs, III | February 23, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that Ted is merely renting space off a server (as opposed to getting an entire server for himself) and the owner of the Server at some point decided to have fun when customizing the error messages.

Posted by: BF | February 23, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

After a quick check and some Googling: It would appear that this is a 'standard' error message associated with Motorola Canopy wireless devices. Hacker humor. Maybe some dev type temporarily pointed the DNS at a Canopy-managed IP while working on the site? But in any case, it looks to me like it has very little to do with Senator Stevens. (can't believe I'm defending the guy, though)

Posted by: emillerpdx | February 23, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: PWND | February 23, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? Great sleuthing, madame Akers. Excuse me while I try and hold down my lunch.

Posted by: smikulen | February 23, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

IE6? In this world? Today? Now *that's* the biggest joke of them all!

Posted by: DG | February 23, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mary Ann, this is too, too cool.

Posted by: SnarkyBoy | February 23, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

ted stevens is an alien

Posted by: lucifer | February 23, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

These are simply pages that get served up for http errors. Doesn't reflect on Ted Stevens at all -- just the boundless numbers of bored, immature sys admins and webmasters out there.

Posted by: Chuck Allen | February 23, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, over half a million residents in the District of Corrusant are forced to go without representation in the Senate AND Parliament. Why can't we all just pretent that Nancy Pelosi is the Prime Minister for the next two years? And get her one of the those levitating pulpits?

Posted by: Northeastcorridoritron | February 23, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on! They're being funny. Good for Ted.

Posted by: Allen | February 23, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Weak sauce. An I.T. guy's incredibly lame attempt at humor does not make Stevens any more whacked than he already is. Next song....

Posted by: paul | February 23, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Is this what passes for geek humor?

Posted by: Robert Johnson | February 23, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

If our dear "savvy slueth" was really a savvy geek-type, then it would be obvious that a) some intern systems administrator messed with the "default" generic error messages that a server displays, and, b) an update to her browser is over due, since that error message might, in fact, be due to an out-of-date computer system that is looking in the wrong place for what it needs to display a page, or to function correctly. (Or could it be that the computer has a virus?)

The real point here is that most of those who are in disagreement with the political views of the man in question will not care about the truth behind this silly error message, but instead will go around claiming that it proves their position as the better one.


Posted by: Oil4Every1 | February 23, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Umm... that is clearly a screenshot of a cached page. Just look at the URL (ending with \Temporary_Internet_Files\), as it's not blurred too well. Seems like someone did a half-assed job with photoshop here. Inadmissible.

Not that I think Terrible Ted is worthy of even a sewer commissionership, but please, if you're going to try and discredit a man who represents the foremost threat to the free Internet, let his own stupidity incriminate him.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 23, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

This is nothing, as many poster have observed. It's simply some sysadmin or Web person entertaining themselves. Stevens is still a boneheaded caveman, though.

Posted by: JJ | February 23, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

It certainly didn't make his reputation any better.

Alaskans will probably reelect him anyway.

Posted by: for the common good | February 23, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

It's 'wacky,' my sister, not 'whacky.' If you're going to serve it, you'd better be able to spell it.


Posted by: shieldvulf at playful | February 23, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Ted Stevens has a website?
Did he hire a plumber?

Posted by: ThomasMc. | February 23, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh, are we going to destroy people for having a sense of humor now. I'm a liberal democrat, but jeez, even though I may be the single most pissed off person in this country about the past 6 years of hell, I can't tell a joke when I see one. You know, somebody has to run this country, but if we keep focusing on stuff that is unimportant and clobbering people for ridiculous things like this, no one is going to want the job that has half a brain and we seriously need fully functioning people running this country.

Posted by: Come on | February 23, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Lighten up.

Posted by: bob | February 23, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

From a proud Liberal in the state of Oregon, I say to the writer of this article that she is off base. I'll wager you could go to Stevens website and find half a dozen issues to write a column that condemns Stevens. But the error page in this case is hardly one of those issues.

Frankly, I would feel better knowing that Stevens was somehow personally responsible for the wording of this error page, because in the past he has seemed to me to be singularly ill tempered and cranky. A display of mirth by the Senator would be a welcome change, but not a reason to bash him.

Posted by: Ken | February 23, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

The site is not connected to anything.
Why do you think we need the bridge.

Posted by: nowar | February 23, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's cause your not smart enough to use a better browser than IE, and thus you get the luddite message for those who lack the brains to use a more secure browser.

Posted by: Joe | February 23, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Nice work, Akers. That's hilarious.

Posted by: Nathan Ivy | February 23, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the funny pic.

Posted by: Allan | February 23, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

The message was obviously penned by a cynical cat who had taken typing lessons.

Posted by: Craig | February 24, 2007 1:51 AM | Report abuse

I can't add anything to those who point out that while the good senator is a dolt and worse, this message has no connection to him or anyone related to him and in fact makes anyone who makes a big deal of it look like a complete techno-illerate who has visited somewhere under three dozen websites in her life. I just wish to reinforce their previously shared wisdom.

Posted by: Bella | February 24, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

by coincidence, the offending cat has been caught on video:

Posted by: Craig | February 25, 2007 1:19 AM | Report abuse

I can tell you guys, as an IT worker, that boredom in server work will cause a redbull-fueled error message like this one to belch out of your tired brain. Stevens just picked a host with a burnt admin.

Posted by: TexasEags | February 25, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but this is a valid criticism. If a candidate can't muster a campaign website without looking like an idiot in this day and age, they need to go back to the farm league. Note: do some homework before hiring a friend's nephew to be your "webmaster".

Posted by: spj4g | February 25, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Lets ask Al Gore, after all he invented the internet....

Posted by: mark | February 26, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Next time you want to put fake screencaps on, you should do a better job of blurring the URL so we can't see that it goes to a file on your local PC.

We can still read the "..uments and Settings" part of the URL.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

Posted by: Skeptic | February 28, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I am not the Internet. You are the Internet. NEVER EVER SHAKE A BABY!!!

Posted by: Tubey | February 28, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Very funny.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 28, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

As much as I like to make fun on "Techno Ted", it would be more accurate to make fun of him for things he has said, rather than error messages written by an admin.

This post should be updated to include the error checking done by the commentators.

Posted by: Wah | February 28, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

This is an error message that has been around awhile. You should do some actual sleuthing. Maybe try copying the first line of the message into a Google search.

Here's an example of what a completely inept journalist (me) can find with a couple of seconds of "research".

Yes, Ted is an idiot. Hewever, if this is the best you can do to point that out, you should find a different career.

Posted by: Iozzi | February 28, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

401 errorz ar not funy

Posted by: bubba | February 28, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

It's an attempt at humor. Are you that dense? Now, maybe the web guy was being zany without permission. But isn't that for the Senator as his campaign staff to deal with? I mean, this isn't offensive by any stretch of the imagination. And so it really doesn't seem worthy of an article. Or blog entry. Or whatever this is. I know them internet tubes is big, but surely there are better things to fill them with than this.

Posted by: Andulamb | February 28, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Either you can live with having thease kinds of error messages connected to you, or you get a web hosting that do not have them.
If Stevens (or any other Alaska Senator) drove arround with a bumpersticker saying all kinds of bad things or just the wordings of the above message, he (or she) would be publically scolded for leaving it on the car and not taking it off and making sure it did not reappaer.
Why is it that if the message is on a web page you can go free and clear?
If you cant do your due dilligence regarding the net, maybe you should not run. The net is bigger than Stevens truck.

Posted by: PowerGeek | February 28, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations. You are now officially less internet-savvy than Ted Stevens. Which takes some doing.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 28, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, I like all the so called "technical" people posting all there reasons why you get this page. 1) if you look what your logging into, it is a canopy of some form. 2)A simple whois of the dns name reveal that the Steven's doesn't even personally own the domain. here is copy and paste of whois
Holmes Weddle & Barcott PC
Robert Storm
701 W. 8th Ave Suite 700
Anchorage, AK 99501

Registrar Name....: REGISTER.COM, INC.
Registrar Whois...:
Registrar Homepage:

Domain Name:

Created on..............: Wed, Aug 18, 1999
Expires on..............: Wed, Aug 18, 2010
Record last updated on..: Mon, Jun 19, 2006

Administrative Contact:
Stevens for Senate Committee
Robert Storm
701 W. 8th Ave Suite 700
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 907-274-0666

Technical Contact:
Stevens for Senate Committee
Robert Storm
701 W. 8th Ave Suite 700
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 907-274-0666

DNS Servers:

Posted by: Jesse | February 28, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry Mary Ann, but this is a case of a pot, a kettle, and something about a non-technologist calling something black.

You didn't even do the least bit of technical background checking to your claims, if it is so "whacky" don't you think you should have consulted somebody in IT that would have the investigative knowledge to tell you that it is indeed a Canopy wireless router default message as commenter emillerpdx said.

Seriously, it took me about 2 minutes with google to realize that this is something not news worthy(or blog worthy as it were) in any sense. And I even begin to cast doubt on your "trusty political operative". Thank god for "untrusty journalist operatives" that help "trusty political operatives" defame other politicans.

I don't care if the guy knows tech or not, the only anybody should be asking in Alaska is: Does this man represent our state and our interests in the best way?

p.s. When you telnet to the website it clearly states:

Motorola Broadband Wireless Technology Center
(Copyright 2001-2004 Motorola Inc.)

Futhermore here is the manual for the device:

In the future please consult somebody who knows whats up :-) You can email me here(reverse): moc.oohay@2lskire

Take care!

Posted by: ErikC | February 28, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

C'mon technophiles. It should be embarrassing to make something publicly available if you haven't finished the configuration. I'd like to think a senatorial staff would pay attention to that kind of detail. I know if I were the alpha-nerd in that organization and let this slip through, I'd be updating my resume.

Posted by: Bird | March 1, 2007 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Why SHOULD any website's 401 error page have to be dry and dull? And is there some special requirement that all politicians act like they are sucking lemons? It's regrettable that Ted Stevens actually had nothing at all to do with that message, as many have pointed out; otherwise, it would have improved my sub-zero opinion of him by showing some trace of a sense of humor, maybe even a bit of humanity (other than the human vices of sloth and avarice).

In the name of all that's holy, go after him for his political stances, for his greed, for his pork-barrelling, for his ignorance of technology (and many other issues) -- not for a humorous default error message on a website that he doesn't even own.

Posted by: Wanderer | March 1, 2007 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the idea. I shall make the same page as Techno Ted. Link all my pages on my website. Maybe I can get some free "marketing" out of it.

Posted by: The Master of all Goofs | March 1, 2007 1:56 AM | Report abuse

How is this news? Clearly this is a joke. And it's funny. Grow up, columnist. I hate Stephens, too, but there's nothing to this story.

Posted by: Dave | March 1, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I have a canopy device, and can confirm thats the message you get when you don't enter your password.

Posted by: Mike | March 1, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

LOL Google Toolbar!

Somebody needs to pay attention to their installers...

Posted by: Rizzo | March 1, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Hardly believe this made a headline anyhere. Custom error pages are a thing widely considered to be standard practice by any web administrator - and this is most assuredly nothing more than a custom error page designed by someone with a sense of humor.

I'm sure Ted has bigger issues at hand than keeping tabs on what a web administrator puts on the default error page for his campaign site.

Posted by: weaksauce | March 2, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

...and this is behind the scenes in Washington.?..

If were the Editor and Chief of this publication I would have a new Sleuth. Some banner detective work on a nonexistent line of bullcrap there Ms. Akers...

Posted by: sleuthsloth | March 2, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

iwrpc cmaj pyorumi xwkzgsial awsbnod gqdabj jscyz

Posted by: aekhmdgp grldbjcm | March 11, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

zbty gxbzvupql gwuroscfi zioxbar klzdtsagc kohv ykri

Posted by: mdrpcybj iavupmx | March 11, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

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