Space Ramblings

Captchas are the Devil’s Toolbox

Captchas, everyone hates them. At least everyone who isn’t a blind mole rat working for Carnegie Mellon, pity about that whole nasty business. If spam had managed to take the internet and urinate ever so gently in its swimming pool, Captchas responded by slamming the cover on the pool and making you do quadratic equations to take a dip.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy squinting at the screen until my nose is about a micrometer away from the surface tension field of the monitor that is known to induce sterility, seizures and utter madness, trying to figure out if that particular squiggle is a tiny X, a blot or a dead fly that Carnegie Mellon helped send along my way.

Captchas basically remind me of the copy protection that computer games back in the primitive days of the late 80’s and early 90’s used to come with, that forced you to spend 5 minutes skimming through a booklet in order to play a game. And Captchas are only getting more insane. In the last month I’ve encountered the following words in Captchas, “serendipitous”, “stasi”, “hereafter”, “arumgeben”. Please note that last word can’t be spelled properly because it comes with an Umlaut, which for you barbarians means two dots on top. And no this wasn’t a German site, disturbingly it was an American one.

Now I realize that over at Carnegie Mellon or in the fifth circle of hell, there’s two guys both named Steve tanked up on mountain dew and red bull and inputting progressively more insane things from foreign dictionaries while laughing like loons, but isn’t it about enough already? I’m starting to miss the comment spam.

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