Beaten by the captcha!
We’re all used to CAPTCHAS, the little images embedded in web pages that have randomly-generated characters. You must retype the captcha text into a form field before you can register, or comment or do something along those lines.
I think they are a hell of an invention even if they are annoying. “CAPTCHA” stands for: “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.”. A “Turing Test” is simply a test to determine man from machine.
Here is the problem I have with captchas: They are getting to be too damn hard! I believe I am of at least average intelligence, and I am fairly certain that I am a human. Yet, several times a week I find myself beaten by the captcha!
Google has especially tough captchas. If you have to do a Google captcha on a regular basis you have probably felt my pain. Another drawback to character-based captchas is that if the image deosn’t load properly you are screwed. I once had a piece of software that was not loading the captcha image properly. I turned to the audio option included with most captchas. The computer-generated voice was among the most annoying things I have ever heard. On top of that I could not make out the letters 4 out of 5 times, again leading me to question my humanity.
The reason captchas are so tough to recognize is that now OCR (Optical Character Recognition) has advanced to the point that normal level captchas can be beaten pretty easily by determined spammer-programmers. Even difficult captchas are being beaten by humans who are being bribed with free porno according to Software Blogger Mr. Reid of Strictly Software.
Conclusion: The image and text-based captcha has run its course! I have come across logic-based captchas that are much more pleasurable to use. They ask you a simple arithmetic question, or even a user-defined question that might even be funny!
The mathematical questions like 2+10=? will be beaten by determined spam programmers if they have not already, but I think a word problem like: two plus ten equals ? will probably not be easy to beat. Or simple questions like: “Name a continent:” will surely be difficult to be beat by programming.
Of course a human bribed by porno will still be able to beat a logic-based captcha, but nobody has come up with a way to stop a porn-driven boy, and I state here that nobody ever will!
Please, lets start getting away from those damn image captchas! I suggest that if you feel you need a captcha, Google up the phrase “captcha alternative”, or “question captcha”.
Whew, I’m glad I got that off of my chest!