Captchas gone wild!

August 29th, 2008

Using a horribly spam infested domain has made me appreachiate why others employ captchas (and other methods) to reduce the abilities of bots filling in the form fields…

How ever I was caught out by a captcha myself the other day. Browsing for some brouchures from Agfa IMPAX (a supplier of digital imaging solutions for the health domain) I stumbled over this little nugget:


The developers behind this must have seriously misunderstood the captcha concept. The problem with computers are the fact that they cannot pass “the turing test”, in simpler or more complicated instances. This captcha however is an instance of the task a computer is most proficient in, namely doing mathematics.

The real what-the-fuck? here is that I actually failed it. I answered “nine”, which wasn’t accepted. So I refreshed, filled in the whole form again, and answered “9” (well technically it was a new captcha, but I still managed to compute, feel the irony and contempt in the choice of words here, the answer). It still failed.

At this stage I started to second guess my primary school education. Did they actually lie to me? Isn’t four and five, nine?

I then tried in Internet Explorer and there it actually worked, well not when I typed “nine”, but 9.

In the end, I actually managed to get a hold of the pdfs, but I still didn’t figure out what I did wrong…

From the perspective of Agfa, I actually had to spend almost 15 minutes of fighting this captcha to get hold of their pdf-brochures to sell me their products…

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August 21st, 2008
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 Since 1997 (: