Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Don't you just love the CAPTCHA box?

One of the banes of my on-line life is the CAPTCHA security system. You know, those little boxes you often have to complete in order to prove that you are a human being and not a robot. CAPTCHA, just in case you were blissfully ignorant of the fact, stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, the Turing being Alan Turing the pioneer of computing and the originator of the so-called Turing Test to detect artificial intelligence.
I might not like them but I can fully appreciate why they are so popular. I do think, however, that there is a crying gap in the current market place for an arbitration service for use at times when there is a dispute between a user and a
CAPTCHA dialogue. Let me give you some examples of what I mean. The code on the top left is easy to decipher: 'overlooks' and 'inquiry'. But what about what appears to be in the majority? The other day I was commenting on a
blog post and was faced with the CAPTCHA dialogue illustrated here. I typed in 'bedagandmi' and the wretched thing said I was wrong and offered me another silly pictograph to interpret. I shouted back that I wasn't wrong and that the CAPTCHA machine couldn't read its own writing. This went on for some time until we reached a stage of deadlock and I went off to sulk. Clearly, what is needed in these circumstances is an independent arbitrator who could settle such disputes - for a small fee, of course. I would therefore like to use this opportunity to announce the launch of my new service: CAPTCHAUSIFYOUCAN.COM If you find yourself in an argument with a CAPTCHA dialogue, just take a screenshot of the dialogue and send it to me along with your interpretation and a Paypal transfer of £5. I will e-mail you a decision by return and my decision will, need I say, be binding on both parties.
Incidentally, the wheelchair logo to the right of the box above is not for wheelchair users but is, in fact, the audio version of the phrase. Have you ever tried using these? I'm not sure for whom this feature is designed but if you think the number words are absurd, click the audio icon and try to decipher the same numbers and words as spoken by a broken tape recorder! It will make you weep.
And finally. People of a certain age will have thought "Captchausifyoucan? That sounds familiar". Indeed it does. Who remembers the Dave Clark Five? All together now, snap your fingers and..............
Here they come again, mmmm-mm-mm
Catch us if you can, mmmm-mm-mm
Time to get a move on, mmmm-mm-mm
We will yell with all of our might!
[Dave's drums kick in right now]
Catch us if you can ...

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