Pages

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Are You Human?

Bots!   I don’t understand them.  But I know they’re out there. Web robots.  The lifeblood of the Internet.  Ingenious, calculating  little bastard programs posing as people, and working faster and with far more accuracy than would be possible for a human alone. 
In wiki terms: bots are software apps than run automated tasks. These tasks are  typically simple and repetitive, as in  search engines, Web spidering, crawling -- or creeping.  
As in the Land of Oz, where there are good witches and bad witches -- or more like bacteria in the body, where there's bacteria good for you and not so good -- there are good bots and bad.  

Best humanitarian use of bots (beside the automated bidding program on ebay) can be found on the site, Freerice.  
If you haven’t yet discovered the site, by all means, go and play.  Homepage | Freerice.com 
The website offers a variety of educational, multiple-choice games ranging from vocabulary-building to famous art identification.  For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to fight world hunger.  Good stuff.
Now the bad guy bots (and botnets) include all sorts of malicious intent including:
1. Spambots that harvest email addresses from internet forums
2. Downloader programs that suck up bandwidth by downloading entire websites
3. Web site scrapers that grab the content of web sites and without permission 
4. Viruses and worms
5. DDoS attacks
To protect websites against comment spams in blogs and other forms of internet highway robbery, there’s the familiar, yet curiously strange program known as CAPTCHA ( short for for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart.)  A CAPTCHA generates words - or other visual distortions that presumably humans can read and computer programs cannot.  For example, you can read the text shown in the box above, while your current computer cannot.
In the battle of the bots and the CAPTCHAs, the CAPTCHAs continue to win -- generating all sorts of mischief and mirth in codes and camouflaged words. For more on CAPTCHAs , see The Official CAPTCHA Site
For a laugh today (God knows we all need a laugh today) visit Zrharc! The Comment Word Verification Dictionary -- offering nonsense definitions only humans can find funny. 
If you care to play along, send me your favorite CAPTCHA of the day, I’ll make a point of collecting them and posting them on this site.  
And bacqu very much for stoping by.

No comments:

Post a Comment