Captchas

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Captchas

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:46 pm

aaa
Have you ever had to read those distorted words or nonsense jumble of letters and symbols when you sign up for something online and are then challenged to type what you see in an answer box?

These annoying little MFs are designed to thwart bots which, for example, sign up for Hotmail or Yahoo e-mail accounts by the thousands for the purpose of spewing spam, or posting nonsense bits in hopes of raising a site’s search-results ranking. However, they often turn out to be so distorted that even humans can’t read them – and, is that a one or lower case L, or is that a zero or the letter ‘o’? More than once I’ve had to just give up because I was tired of going from one undecipherable CAPTCHA to another. And incidentally, if you were wondering, the acronym stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

The March issue of Scientific American has an article by the New York Times personal-technology guru, David Pogue, in which he rails against these irritating obstructions which are estimated to waste a cumulative 150,000 hour per day of user’s time. “In practice, Captchas have just replaced one public nuisance with another.”

There’s got to be a better way and he offers up a few, including: 1) a check on speed or irregularity of the typing to distinguish man from machine. [[seems to me, though, that this could be easily thwarted by a human-typing simulation program – but what do I know?]] 2) identifying a simple photograph (e.g. cow, apple, . . .) 3) inventing a voluntary Internet identity card, 4) enforcing a short-term limit of one new account or posted comment per person . . . . .

Well, I agree that there’s got to be a better way than the CAPTCHA, which Pogue suggests should actually stand for “Computers Annoying People with Time-wasting Challenges that Howl for Alternatives!
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Ken G – February 20, 2012
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Re: Captchas

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:07 am

Ken Greenwald wrote:aaa
Have you ever had to read those distorted words or nonsense jumble of letters and symbols when you sign up for something online and are then challenged to type what you see in an answer box?

However, they often turn out to be so distorted that even humans can’t read them – and, is that a one or lower case L, or is that a zero or the letter ‘o’?
I thought you were assumed to be human if you got them wrong.
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Re: Captchas

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:01 am

aaa
Edwin, As an American patriot once famously said, “My Captchas, right or wrong.”
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Ken – February 20, 2012
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Re: Captchas

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:13 am

Ken, I second your howl of anguish. I'm sure Allen Ginsberg would have agreed with you too.
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Re: Captchas

Post by Wizard of Oz » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:08 am

... estimated to waste a cumulative 150,000 hour (sic) per day of user’s time.
.. what a ridiculously sad comment .. and a wonderful example of a wild stat masquerading as some kind of imperative to act and change things .. it is a nothing .. a mere blip in a long day .. this insane growing time cult where commentators make out that everyone is time poor .. and worse!!!! .. that it somehow matters .. it takes a matter of about 15 seconds to type in the ???? um Captcha .. now be honest just how many times per week do you actually do that ?? .. me?? .. and I spend a lot of time on-line .. maybe twice a week max .. halfabloodyminute !! out of 10 080 minutes .. 30 seconds out of 604 800 seconds or 0.00496% of your weekly time .. even if you had to do it 10 times per week it is still only 0.0248% of your weekly time .. slow down .. smell the flowers before this insane rush to go somewhere causes you to be pushing up the flowers ..

WoZ in slower motion
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Captchas

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:35 pm

aaa
Wiz, I’d agree with you that the time thing is silly and would be a non-issue if the Captchas where always readable. But I find that in the majority of cases they’re not. And if one is barely readable than that’s usually true of the whole set. And then if I really want to get into a site I have to just keep banging away in frustration until by accident I get it right. The issue here is probably more a matter of frustration than of time, although when sifting through 10 or 15 of these suckers in any particular session it can begin to feel like hours. Now I don’t know if I’ve just had an incredible run of bad Captcha luck over the years, but that has been my general experience and if that is not uncommon, I think it would be a good idea to find an alternate route.
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Ken – February 21, 2012
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Re: Captchas

Post by trolley » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:07 pm

Lost time can never be recaptchad.
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Re: Captchas

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:46 pm

aaa
John, It's all a matter of relativity!
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Ken – February 21, 2012
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Re: Captchas

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:42 pm

aaa
By pure happenstance, I happened, over lunch, to have read an article that could erase the time it takes to do a Captcha or at least to observe it:
<2012 “A New Wrinkle in Time – Scientists develop a ‘time cloak’ that can obscure an object at a given moment: For years physicists have been refining invisibility cloaks—physical setups that cleverly reroute light around a region in space, effectively concealing any object that might be inside. Now researchers at Cornell University have built the first temporal cloak, a device that obscures an object or event [[the time wasted working on a captcha]] at a specific moment in time. . . . Fridman and his co-workers were able to open a brief time gap . . . and then close it back up as if the beam [[laser]] had gone undisturbed and in such a way that the detector did not register the interruption. The gap allows anything [[the Captcha]] that would have otherwise have affected the beam, such as an object [[the Captcha]], to instead slip right through leaving no trace for the detector to pick up.”—Scientific American, March, page 16>
And there we have it – the Captcha that consumes no observable time!
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Ken – February 21, 2012
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Re: Captchas

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:54 am

Sounds Captchaesque to me.

But I suspect I may be a computer.
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Re: Captchas

Post by Dunkeld » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:06 pm

Edwin F Ashworth wrote:
Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:07 am
I thought you were assumed to be human if you got them wrong.
Good idea!

And: I hate those Captchas!
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