Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fun with CAPTCHA

Before I started my dog blog over at The Elka Almanac, I was frequently a CAPTCHA failer. I had to listen to the audio, or try over and over until, by some miracle of the Internet, I got it. A lot of comments require the CAPTCHA completion to know that you're a person, though, and I've gotten much "better" at it, if such a thing could be considered a viable skill. Really, it is a viable skill; leaving comments and suchlike is instrumental in the "social network" (see what I did there?) that brings traffic to blog, shares info about contests and upcoming publications, and gives you cred in the field of your choosing.

(image from Wikipedia)

"CAPTCHA" stands for  "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart".Turing, for those who aren't aware, is Alan Turing, one of the people responsible for, ultimately, breaking the code that the Nazis used during World War II. Among other things. As a side note, one of my college friends was in a production of the play "Breaking the Code". He did not play Turing, and in fact played one of Turing's illicit dalliances. The play was quite long, and my friend Kelly and I were unruly and eventually bored, and decided that "Breaking the Code" might well have been called "Loving the Butt Cock". Now, I respect Mr. Turing's work, to be sure, and I'm not ant-gay. But it was college. And it was funny.

Occasionally, CAPTCHA can be pretty funny. Or intriguing. One time, not long ago (I tweeted about it), my CAPTCHA word was, very clearly, "Turing". Another time lately it was "angers", and just now (while commenting on another dog blog) I got Hesse, which reminded me that I'd always intended to read Steppenwolf again. I read it once during high school, and never revisited it, though I feel I should. It's OG werewolf literature, and I feel it deserves attention. Very funny is Lord Inglip, which you can read about at The Church of Inglip (I liked to the compendium).

There's also, apparently, reCAPTCHA, which "is a free CAPTCHA service that helps to digitize books, newspapers, and old time radio shows", which is pretty freaking cool (information here). I happen to have a deep love for old time radio shows, especially of the Science Fiction variety, and have a bunch on cassette (I know, right?) that I got from the library book sale, which includes such fantastic gems as the War of the Worlds broadcast, a whole lot of Ray Bradbury, and a dramatization of Earth Abides, which I then read (and discovered is partial inspiration for Stephen King's The Stand).