Jun 30

Calculator WordPress plugin

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I just released a new plugin for WordPress called Calculator. It adds a widget that display a simple calculator. All the basic operations are supported: additions, subtractions, multiplications and divisions. It behave like a classic physical calculator and has the 4 classic memory functions. Get the calculator WordPress plugin.

Jun 28

Calculator widget version 2.0

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I updated the calculator widget. The new 2.0 version behave more like a classic physical calculator and now has the 4 classic memory functions:

  • M+ is for memory add
  • M- is for memory subtract
  • MC is for memory clear
  • MR is for memory recall

For those of you that already have the widget installed, the upgrade is automatic.

Jun 25

PHP obfuscator

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I just released an online PHP obfuscator. Unlike some other solutions, this PHP obfuscator does not require special server side libraries or server components to work properly. While it is not foolproof, it does make the source code more difficult to read and understand.
Jun 24

Calculator widget

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I just released a new widget called Calculator. It displays a simple calculator. All the basic operations are supported: additions, subtractions, multiplications, divisions and installation is really easy. Get the calculator widget for your website.

Jun 23


Articles, News Comments Off on ROT13

Did you try our ROT 13 Encoder / Decoder? It’s pretty fun to use. If you don’t know what ROT13 is, this article will tell you all about it.

What is ROT13?

ROT13 or “rotate by 13 places” is one of the simple substitution ciphers used in the online forums as a method of hiding punch lines, spoilers, offensive material and puzzle solutions from casual glance. The interesting fact is that ROT13 is an inverse of its own as for undoing it, you have to apply the same algorithm. The same actions are used for decoding and encoding. Several word and letter games have been inspired by ROT13 online and the system has been frequently talked about in the newsgroup conversations.

How ROT13 works

In order to apply ROT13 to a text, you have to just examine the alphabetic characters of the word and replace them by 13th alphabetic letter after them. For example, A becomes N and C becomes P. The alphabets are wrapped back to the starting of the series if necessary, for example O becomes B and Z becomes M. Only letters of English alphabet are affected while the numbers, white space, symbols and characters remain unchanged. As 26 letters are there in English alphabet, it is divided by 2 to get 13, therefore, the function of ROT13 is inverse of its own. In simple words, two consecutive ROT13 applications restore its original text. In cryptography, it is also known as involution or reciprocal cipher.

ROT13 Usage

ROT13 is usually used for hiding potentially offensive material or for obscuring answers to the puzzles or other spoilers. Thirteen is a value which helps in arranging decoding and encoding in an equivalent position and thereby allows the convenience of single command on both. Typically, ROT13 is supported as an in-built feature of a newsreading software. Sometimes, the e-mail addresses are also encoded using ROT13 so that they can be hidden from the less complicated spam bots.

Usually, ROT13 is not used at a place where secrecy is concerned. Use of constant shifting means that there are no keys in the encryption and decryption needs no other knowledge or skill than knowing the fact that the system of ROT13 has been used. Even if you do not know that ROT13 has been used, you can easily break the code through the method of frequency analysis. Because it is utterly unsuitable for actual secrecy, ROT13 is known to be a catchphrase for referring to a conspicuously weak scheme of encryption. Application of the system to an already encrypted matter restores the original text, ROT26 means no coding at all. Other versions of ROT13 are ROT26, 2ROT13, and double ROT13. In 1999, the Netscape Communicator made use of ROT13 as a part of the insecure scheme for storing email passwords. In 2001, NPRG (New Paradigm Research Group) was found to be using ROT13 for encrypting their documents. It is speculated that the group may have mistaken ROT13 for a serious scheme of encryption. Windows XP also uses ROT13 on some of the registry keys.

ROT13 provides a great opportunity for the letter or word games. Some words produce entirely other meaningful words while encrypted with ROT13. For example, “abjurer” becomes “nowhere”, “bar” becomes “one” and “envy” becomes “rail”.

History of ROT13

ROT13 originated during the early 1980s in the newsgroup of net.jokes where it was used with an effort for providing voluntary means for hiding jokes which some of the readers may find offensive or for just obscuring the punch line of the jokes so that they could not be read to early even accidentally. Previously, they had tried to include offensive jokes in different category but failed. The site managers also did not wish to be viewed as condoning these postings by making an exclusive space for them. Because of its ease and simplicity, ROT13 was one of the most convenient solutions for this problem.

Since the system replaces alphabets with other letters, it did not create problems for the newsgroup software which had experienced problems due to unusual types of characters. ROT13 was originally chosen over the ROT-N because 13 may be the only shifting value that ensures decoding and encoding to be equivalent. The ROT13 system can be applied to those languages only that have 26 alphabets, for example English. While the users can plausibly decode and encode the messages manually, automatic encryption is more convenient. Automatic deciphering method was soon included in the newsreading software. From early 1990s, it also began to be used in the Fidonet forums in which the mail reading software of Fidonet often included characteristics for deciphering and enciphering automatically.

Basically, ROT13 is one of the variations of Caesar cipher which was developed in the ancient Rome. As far as cryptography is concerned, Caesar cipher is one of the most popular and simplest encryption techniques. It is a kind of substitution cipher system in which all letters in a text are replaced by letter some specific number of alphabets down the line. The method has been named for Julius Caesar who used to communicate with the generals using encrypted language. As with every simple alphabet cipher for substitution, Caesar cipher can be easily broken and practically offers no security to communication. It has been unknown how efficient was Caesar cipher at that time but it can be assumed that either most of the enemies of Caesar must have been illiterate while others may have guessed that message is written in a foreign language. During the 19th century, personal advertisements in newspaper may have sometimes been used for exchanging messages using cipher schemes and Kahn has described lovers communicating secretly using enciphered language in “The Times”.

In 1915, the Russian army used Caesar cipher for replacing a complicated cipher system which the troops found difficult to master. Being so easy and simple, Austrian and German cryptanalysts found very little difficulty in decoding their messages. Caesar cipher has also been found in children”s toys in the form of secret decoder rings. During 2006, Bernardo Provenzano, a fugitive mafia don, was detained in Sicily because of cryptanalyzing his messages written in Caesar cipher. Multiple decryptions and encryptions provide no extra security. In the mathematical terms, encryption under several keys tends to form a group.

Jun 22

The Coleman-Liau index

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The Coleman-Liau Index is a readability test that determines the understandability of a document. As you can calculate the Coleman-Liau Index on Joe’s Web Tools, we now explains you the working of the index and the history behind it.

The Coleman-Liau Index determines the measurement in difficulty going through and understanding a portion of text by a person. It forms the base of an estimate in US grade level, which is used as a mandate for the students to read, understand and interpret the text.

Designed by Meri Coleman and T.L.Liau, the test rests on characters per words in the document, rather than on syllables, as in the case of other readability tests like the Flesch-Kincaid and Gunning Fog Index. This makes the test more computer friendly, as characters per words is more easily and accurately counted by automated programs than syllables.

The Coleman-Liau index uses the following formula:

Coleman-Liau Index

In a text of 100 words, the number of characters is divided by the number of words and the answer is multiplied by 5.89 (A). For the second step, the number of sentences per 100 words is multiplied by 0.3 (B). To obtain the index, B is subtracted from A, and then further subtracted by 15.8. The answer indicates the US grade level of the document.

Jun 20

To check the readability of any document, several formulas have been devised since the 1920’s. As Joe’s Web Tools offers an online text readability calculator that include the Flesch reading ease and the Flesch–Kincaid grade level test, we will present those tests in this article.

Of these, two were created by Rudolph Flesch who published his works in the 1940’s on English usage and vocabulary. In 1943, Flesch published his dissertation ‘Marks of a Readable Style’. This laid the groundwork for his readability formula that could be applied on adult reading material. Publishers realized that his formula could help them reach an audience 40% to 60% larger.

By 1948, Flesch had prepared two formula. The Reading Ease Formula suggested the dropping of affixes and the usage of only two variables: the number of syllables and the number of sentences in a text of 100 words. Reading ease is measured on a scale of 1 to 100, where a score of 30 is ‘very difficult’ and 70 is considered ‘easy’. A score of 100 indicates a text that can be read by a fourth grader, considered ‘functionally literate’ by the U.S. Census. A 0 to 30 score indicates a text that can be read only college graduate level readers.

The reading ease test achieves a score through the following formula:

Flesch Reading Ease

In 1976, the U.S. Navy further modified the formula to produce a grade level score. Known as the Flesch-Kincaid formula, this readability test converts the 0-100 score to a U.S. grade level.

The Flesch-Kincaid formula is as follows:

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

The answer would give the grade level of the text. A score of 5.3 would mean that the document can be read by a student of the 5th grade. Theoretically, -3.01 would be the lowest score in this formula, but it would mean single -syllable words in every sentence.

Jun 18

The SMOG index

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After helping you to calculate the SMOG index of a text, Joe’s Web Tools explains you the SMOG readability formula, which is used to assess the years of formal education a writer would need to understand a text.

SMOG is an acronym for Simple Measure of Gobbledygook. The SMOG Index was an attempt by G. Harry McLaughlin in 1969 to improve on the Gunning-Fog Index. It was an easier formula devised to give a more accurate scores. The formula offers a 0.985 correlation with a standard error of 1.5159 grades vis-à-vis grades of readers who had complete understanding of test materials. The formula entails counting the words of three or more syllables in three-sentence samples, calculating the square root of the answer, (rounded off to the nearest perfect square) and adding the constant 3.1291.

To calculate the SMOG, first select 10 sentences from the start, the middle, and the end of the text. Count the words of three or more syllables. Now use the following formula:

SMOG Index Formula

Points that should be kept in mind when counting words:

  • Hyphenated words are considered as one word
  • Proper nouns are counted too
  • Abbreviations are de-abbreviated before counting to check whether they are multi-syllabic

Documents which have less than 30 sentences follow this formula:

  • All the multi-syllable words are counted in the text, as are the number of sentences.
  • The average number of multi-syllabic words is calculated by dividing the total number of multi-syllabic words by the total number of sentences.
  • This average is multiplied by the number of sentences it is falling short of 30.
  • The figure is added to the total number of multi-syllabic words.
  • Now the square root is calculated and a constant of 3 is added.

The SMOG formula is used in health-related documents, and helps ensure that they are understood. SMOG applied materials make good teaching aids for undergraduate and graduate health education students and help disseminate health information better. The SMOG readability test that we have here at Joe’s Web Tools can be applied to various documents online.

Jun 16

The Gunning Fog index

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The Gunning Fog Index was devised to bring simplicity to writing. Unnecessary complexities that a document may contain render it unreadable for the people it is intended for. With a background in textbook publishing, Robert Gunning came up with this readability formula in 1952 which came to be called the Fog Index, as it aimed to remove the ‘fog’ and clutter of any document.

The Fog Index uses two variables – average length of the sentence, and the number of words with more than two syllables for every 100 words. The formula is as following where complex words are words with more than two syllables:

Gunning Fog Index

The score is an indication of the number of years a person requires to be able to understand the given text in the first reading. Therefore, a fog index of 10 would mean the reader should have a reading level of a 10th grader.

The Fog Index is used by writers and publishers who would like their reading to reach out to a wider audience. An index of 12 is considered suitable for a fairly large readership, while an index of 8 would definitely expand the audience.

However, the formula is based on the myth that all words with more than two syllables are difficult. Most multi-syllabic words are simple to read and pronounce, and don’t always make a document difficult to comprehend.

When the formula was first introduced, clauses within a sentence were considered as separate sentences. This was based on the logic that readers view these clauses as distinct from the rest of the sentence. However, once the formula was applied by computers, this distinction was removed, and all clauses are now considered as words within a sentence.

Computing the index is easy as Joe’s Web Tools online readability calculator include the Gunning Fog Index. The index will indicate the level of complexity of your document.