CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) are those distorted-text boxes on websites that you have to read and re-key before you can send an email or create an account. They're used to stop robots from being used to harvest thousands of pages or to create thousands of bogus accounts or send pots of spam.
There's a lot of controversy about CAPTCHAs, not least because visually impaired users have a very hard time using them, but also because there are a lot of programmers who believe that creating an app to read CAPTCHAs just isn't that hard (the easiest way may be to inline a CAPTCHA from the site you're attacking on a site where you're offering free porn, and get the people signing up for the free porn to solve the CAPTCHAs for you).
PWNTCHA is an app that decodes different vendors' CAPTCHAs, to varying degrees of accuracy, producing evidence for the case that CAPTCHAs don't do a great job of keep bad guys out nor of letting good guys in:
PWNtcha stands for "Pretend We're Not a Turing Computer but a Human Antagonist", as well as PWN capTCHAs. This project's goal is to demonstrate the inefficiency of many captcha implementations.
For an overview on why visual captchas are a bad idea, see Matt May's excellent presentation, Escape from CAPTCHA, as well as the W3C's Inaccessibility of Visually-Oriented Anti-Robot Tests working draft.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
Watching Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services can unfortunately be difficult while traveling outside the US. Rather than bypass these restrictions with the help of a complex and slow VPN, choose a faster and simpler solution with Getflix. Instead of rerouting all your Internet traffic through a different server, this handy service only routes the […]
Shake, stir, and muddle your way to delicious homemade cocktails with this must-have bar set. Expect only the finest quality tools from MakersKit — enabling you to unleash your inner mixologist.Top 12 Favorite Things of 2014, Sunset MagazineQuart-size vintage-style Mason jar shakerRetro double jigger for accurate measurementsStrainer & spouts for a mixologist-style smooth pourHardwood muddler […]
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image.