Audio CAPTCHA garble

If you are unfamiliar with Audio CAPTCHA* here is a sample of what you might hear.

captcha

Visual CAPTCHA Sample from Google

I helped out someone last week with their email. They had forgotten their password and couldn’t get into their email account. I ended up speaking to someone from a call centre and being guided through the steps to get a new password. One of the steps was a stumbling block. The visual CAPTCHA. The sample above is a basic form of visual CAPTCHA, a moving collection of numbers and/or letter without regard to letter casing. Mine were nothing like this. Mine were out to fool the smart bots.

There were background letters and numbers like in a stream, they were the water and the letters/numbers I had to write down were the stationary fish bobbing in the water. I tried eight times while I spoke to the call centre representative. And eight times despite entering the correctly matching letters/number the response from the website was “Incorrect code. Please enter the correct code.” Each time I grew frustrated yet outwardly calm with the representative and each time telling her that the response was the same. She suggested that I was entering the code incorrectly. No, I wasn’t.  Then she tried it from her end. She discovered that what I had been saying to her was correct. The CAPTCHA generating tool wasn’t working. It didn’t work for her either. No kidding. That was what I was telling her all along!

Meanwhile there was an audio CAPTCHA option that I thought might be easier than the visual option. I couldn’t do it at all. Let me describe it to you if you haven’t clicked the youtube video. You are listening to three possibly four conversations at once. In my case I had to isolate the child’s voice who was listing numbers while the other conversations were going on at the same time. I could hear maybe two numbers, but I couldn’t tell if I had heard the first number or the third number or anything really. It was a garbled mess of words and numbers. I failed badly. I suspected that even if I got the correct number by chance the website would tell me I was wrong anyway. However I knew I would never get it.  Audio was not possible, visual options were the only way. But Visual wasn’t working. The representative decided that she would work from a different computer console and she would call me back. She kept her word and called me back as promised. She also successfully allowed me to change the password. Mission accomplished! Hurrah!

*CAPTCHA (an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”)

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