Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Open Letter to the Makers of Captchas

Dear Mega-Tools,

Wow, well you guys have definitely been busy upping the ante on difficult captchas. You know, the ones where you can't tell if it's a 2 or a Z, and the ones that use horribly misspelled words. Captchas like this:


According to the reCAPTCHA site, which is run by Google (who knew?), "About 200 million CAPTCHAs are solved by humans around the world every day. In each case, roughly ten seconds of human time are being spent. Individually, that's not a lot of time, but in aggregate these little puzzles consume more than 150,000 hours of work each day."

The thing is, I don't want to spend even ten seconds of my day on these ridiculous puzzles.  But today the Pennsylvania Department of State's website wanted me to reconstruct this gem that I promise took about 20 minutes:

A MACRON?  REALLY?  You want me to figure out how to get a diacritic over the letter "o" before you'll allow me to search your site?  I can't even do that in Word, much less on the Interwebs.

Cool it with the nerd power trip, guys.  Here's a super easy way to tell if I'm human - I'll be the one screaming at the screen. 



Kristen said...

So true! I am glad that I'm not alone in my 1)inability to read them and 2) frustration at getting them wrong over and over again.

PS To post a comment I have to solve a captcha! Thank goodness it's at least legible

julia said...

I hate Captchas and I'm terrible at entering them. I always try to go too fast and end up having to try again fifty more times. About 10% of those 200 million Captchas being solved are probably me, messing up over and over again.

Cato said...

Secret fact? the computer has no idea what that first word is. It's trusting you to solve it for them, because of the evil drive to digitize books. So, they know what the second word is, and you're translating the first word for the fine people at google.