Thursday, December 13, 2012

How do you know I'm not a robot?

I started wearing glasses in junior high, though my eyes were never that bad. My problem initially was that one eye was a little far-sighted and the other was a little near-sighted. So in one sense, it all averaged out, and in the other sense I got headaches when I read, because my eyes couldn't agree to disagree. And since I would have read 24/7 if able at that age, headaches were a problem.

My eyesight being what it was, when I started driving and had to take the vision test for my license, I decided to give it a try without my glasses. Things were pretty fuzzy, and I felt like I was guessing at a certain point. "E? F? T? It's not an O, I'm pretty sure of that!" In any case, I "passed" the eye exam and didn't have any restrictions listed on my license. In fact, ever since, when renewing my driver's license or moving to a new state, I have always "passed" the eye exam by approximating the basic shapes of letters I couldn't really read.

Here in Holidailies, I have encountered a similar phenomenon, as I discover new blogs. Several of the blogs that I've visited require some kind of test to "Prove you're not a robot." Apparently, robots are unable to guess at which letters are implied by vague scribbles, whereas I have honed this skill to an art form. Sometimes I type in my guess and I'm sure my comment will be rejected, but I haven't missed one all December, so either I'm pretty good at intuiting what's wanted based on little or no evidence, or being willing to make a guess is all the proof these blogs need that I am not, in fact, a robot. I guess we've found the new Turing test.


  1. Yes, the verification is stupid (in every possible way). I used to use another comment system, but it was bought out, then after a couple of years the buyer decided to stop offering the commenting system. When I came back to blogger's commenting, I discovered that if I left the verification off, I got my first ever spam comments.

    Have you solved the headaches-while-reading issue with the glasses? I find it easier to read for extended periods of time with the glasses (lineless bifocals) than with contacts and reading glasses.

  2. Glasses solved it way back in junior high. 20-ish years later, when my then-infant daughter broke my glasses, it turned out I didn't need them any more, so I don't wear any glasses at all and reading hasn't been a problem. My eyes fixed themselves, or near enough. I'll take it--I'll probably end up wearing glasses again at some point in my life.

  3. I prefer the math questions, personally. I had to (finally) include some kind of security on my blog because of the overwhelming amount of spam, but since I can't actually 'see' it, I have no idea what it asks for.

    What drives me crazy is when the ONLY proof-of-humanity options are logging in with Facebook or Twitter. Thank you, but no.

  4. I found your post very amusing. Glad to know your eye exam passing skills works on these silly Captcha things. I don't even know why they made that word so hard to spell.

  5. More than once I have found it difficult to read those Captcha things well enough to pass the test. Usually happens after I've been reading for a couple of hours and my eyes just refuse to focus any longer.

    I, too, get annoyed with all the ways that web sites (blogs and comments) set hurdles for us to leap, but I guess that spam is ubiquitous and persistent.