Some problems with CAPTCHAs

A CAPTCHA that\'s essentially impossible to read.
Mr. Tozier was kind enough to get in touch with an example of a CAPTCHA image (see right) generated by the plug-in I’m trying out, and I must agree with his assessment that only a “scarce class of psychics, known for their ability to read around the corners and edges of computer windows” would be able to meet the challenge so posed. Sigh.

A CAPTCHA that\'s pretty hard to read. I poked around some, and it appears that the issue is (in part) a problem with the bottom of the CAPTCHA being clipped off. So I modified the plug-in code so that generates images that are twice as tall as they used to be, and that does seem to have significantly improved the clipping issue.

Unfortunately, there are obviously still combinations of backgrounds, text colors, and distortions that are pretty hard to read even without the clipping problem (see the example on the left). Most of the images generated are managable IMHO, but clearly not all. For the moment, my suggestion is to hit reload before you start typing your comment if you get an image you can’t make sense of.

I’m also looking into some other options for CAPTCHA plugins. The SecureImage plugin looks quite promising, but I can’t (at the moment) get the darn thing to run. The kind folks at our web hosting service are working with me to resolve the problem, though, so hopefully we’ll be able to try it out soon and see if it’s more managable.

Thanks to all for your patience and to Bill for the feedback!

Shortly after posting this, we got the other plugin to work on WeatherGirl’s blog. (Huge thanks to the support folks at ICDSoft for their super-prompt and patient assistance in debugging the problem!) This new plugin seems much easier to install and admin, and less troublesome for humans to read. I’m so impressed I’d be inclined to switch mine over immediately if it weren’t 2am (i.e., I don’t trust myself at the moment to do anything significant that involves technical detail).

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One Response to Some problems with CAPTCHAs

  1. Sage says:

    I will add my vote to those who find the color combinations particularly difficult to read. Is not a white background with the ‘graphicized’ text sufficient to stop text reading bots?

    I have reloaded more than once here; and event that has not ever happened elsewhere in my experience.

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