Friday, November 06, 2009
I ran into this INSANE Captcha today. I took a screenshot of it. I nearly threw my computer out the window, trying to decipher it. Can you possibly tell what this says?!?!?
GAHHH!!!! It's crazy! Captchas are not supposed to drive you crazy!
I did a little research into this bane of the Internet world. Oh suuuuure, Captchas are supposed to *help* us all, by separating the wheat from the tares (humans from the computer robots), but they STINK! Can't they make them more readable?
So CAPTCHA stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart." This is what Wikipedia says:
A CAPTCHA or Captcha is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to ensure that the response is not generated by a computer. The process usually involves one computer (a server) asking a user to complete a simple test which the computer is able to generate and grade. Because other computers are unable to solve the CAPTCHA, any user entering a correct solution is presumed to be human. Thus, it is sometimes described as a reverse Turing test, because it is administered by a machine and targeted to a human, in contrast to the standard Turing test that is typically administered by a human and targeted to a machine. A common type of CAPTCHA requires that the user type letters or digits from a distorted image that appears on the screen.
The term "CAPTCHA" (based upon the word capture) was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas J. Hopper (all of Carnegie Mellon University), and John Langford (then of IBM). It is a contrived acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart." Carnegie Mellon University attempted to trademark the term, but the trademark application was abandoned on 21 April 2008.
I know why the trademark was dropped-- because Captchas drive people foaming-at-the-mouth-insane and we'd storm Carnegie Mellon U with pitchforks and torches!
It may come as a surprise to you that I hate Captchas.
Or maybe it's just that Captchas hate me. Because I can NEVER solve them on the first try. It's too messy; I can't read it. I usually have to repeat or refresh the durn thing four, five time before it finally accepts my input.
And the sad thing about it is, is that Captchas are going to get more and more difficult, because hackers are creating ways to circumvent the technology to have their evil robots read them. So, before long, the bots will take over the world! Because it will become IMPOSSIBLE for humans to read the Captchas, but all the bots of the world will solve them in seconds! Imagine the places we'll be locked out of-- out of our blogs, our email, green shopping websites, cars, banks, bathrooms-- EVERYTHING!
If you hate Captchas, too, here's an official-looking Captcha site (so it says) where you can lodge a formal complaint. Haha. Yeah, I'm just joking. :|