Thursday, January 18, 2007

These CAPTCHAs are Getting Ridiculous!

If you spend much time on the Internet, you must have run into these things. They're called CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) and were designed to foil roaming computer programs called web bots, created by spammers, in their attempts to automatically post form data in order to create email accounts and indulge in other nefarious deeds. Supposedly, we humans are much better at recognizing patterns than are computers. But as computers become more and more powerful, they can read these things with more and more accuracy. So the arms race heats up and the CAPTCHAs have to be made more and more difficult to read. That's what's getting to me. I know, or am pretty certain, that I'm not a computer. But I feel like one when I run into a CAPTCHA that I have to strain to figure out. Here I am, squinting fiercely, saying to myself, "Is that a seven? It could be a 2, I'm not really sure." And forget about q's and g's! It's getting to the point where soon we'll have to give a DNA specimen to get access! Are you running into the same thing?