He appears to want to make ammends for introducing this abomination to what would otherwise be the pleasure of registering for something. buying something etc. online. “At first I felt really good about that because I thought, ‘Look at the impact that I’ve had’,” he says. “But then I starting feeling bad.” And then he “devised ReCaptcha, a system that uses each human-typed response as both a security check and a means to digitise books one word at a time” ….. thereby adding, for me at least, even more annoyance!
I wanted to register with the Driving Standards Agency in order to check my CPC hours online and one of the captchas was a letter with a circumflex above the ‘a’! A British government website expecting users to have French keyboards.
The registration progress with the DSA is one of the most complex I’ve ever come across. It starts off simply by asking for your Driving Licence number and Postcode, enter those and click ‘Next’. That seemed a good start but the next page then says your login password will be mailed to you. ‘MAILED’ to you as printed and put into an envelope which a man comes by van to take to a sorting office, it’s then transported by van or train to a place somewhere near where I live where it’s again sorted and given to someone with a bike and a big bag of letters to deliver to my house. All this takes some days. My bank, which holds information I consider to be of the utmost confidentiality don’t go to these lengths. I really couldn’t careless if someone else were able to see how many CPC hours I’d accumulated. They can’t steal them like they could money if the accessed my bank account.
Anyway the letter finally arrived with my passord – s*76*i8d. The asterisks represent the same character but the character itself could be one of several; uppercase ‘i’, lowercase ‘l’ numeric ’1′. In order to be sure which it really is you need to know the typeface used in the printing of the letter. Try it in Word with various typefaces and you’ll see how a lowercase ‘l’ is the same as an uppercase ‘i’ in some typefaces. Anyway it kept rejecting my attempts to login and wouldn’t indicate whether I’d got the password wrong or the damned captcha. After about 20 attempts I gave up and rang the DSA.
Customer Service put me through to IT who couldn’t acess my password on the computer but could read a copy of the letter to me giving it with the result that they didn’t know what it was either! They the gave me a new simple one over the ‘phone. Why they can’t tell you how many CPC hours you’ve accrued over the ‘phone after asking ‘security questions’ my bank will tell me my balance by ‘phone after I’ve done the security bit.