12-14-2018, 05:18 PM
#1
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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We were ordering some last-minute on-line gifts this afternoon, and we found something just right at a site where where have ordered well into $four digits worth of merchandise over the past couple of decades.  (O.k., it is Land’s End.)  As we have an established account there, we signed in.  Or, at least, we attempted to sign in.  

Like some other merchants who are extremely inconsiderate to their clientele, Land’s End has fallen for a sales pitch to require its customers — after entering a valid user ID and password — to check a box that says “I am not a robot” and then pass a cruel test.  The system called CAPTCHA, or reCAPTCHA, puts a grid of 16 postage stamp-size, or smaller, low-resolution and out-of-focus photos on the screen and directs the viewer to click on each of the squares in the grid that satisfies a criterion:  “Click on every square that has a mammal," for instance.  After one has attempted to comply, one is to click on a Verify button and if one has clicked on every one that has a mammal, and has not clicked on any square that does not have a mammal, one is then allowed into the site.  Otherwise, the viewer gets another screen with new tiny blurry photos and a new challenge.  

Today, we were desperate to complete our order, but after more than a dozen new screens — both my bride and I took our turns at it — we were completely defeated.  Had it not been so close to Christmas, and had we not found what we regarded as perfect gifts for two people on our gift list, we should not have been as persistent.  Finally, we abandoned our efforts and went elsewhere to order our gifts.  

There is more to the story, but, as the original poster, I shall save that for follow up if this thread generates any interest.  The bottom line is that Land’s End has lost us as a customer, not just for today, but forever.

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 12-14-2018, 06:13 PM
#2
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 12-14-2018, 08:34 PM
#3
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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I find this extremely frustrating as well. It is a pain and, I doubt it adds much protection.

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 12-14-2018, 08:47 PM
#4
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(12-14-2018, 06:13 PM)mike_the_kraken Wrote: [Image: 7ho3qdtaa2xy.jpg]

The square at the bottom right of the left side illustrates one of the problems we faced.  We wer supposed to click on every square that had a “car.”  But one square had what looked to me as the quarter post of a Volvo station wagon, the kind of vertical strut that has a rear taillight embedded in it.  But:  (1) I could not tell for sure, on the basis of the tiny out-of-focus sliver, if in fact it was a Volvo station wagon taillight, and (2) I had no way to know whether a photo that included only half of a taillight, and nothing more, constituted a “car.”  That, apparently, was my mistake, because, after clicking on Verify, immediately, I was confronted with a brand new riddle. In the new array, there was a photo of a desert road going into the far distance, and on the far horizon was a speck that probably was a vehicle, viewed from the front.  The challenge was to click on every square containing a “bus," but the speck was perhaps 16 pixels by 16 pixels, and, from the front, who knows?

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 12-14-2018, 09:10 PM
#5
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 12-15-2018, 01:45 AM
#6
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It's been a while since I looked into the mechanics of stuff like reCAPTCHA, but as far as I recall what you are doing is basically seeing how well your choice of letter, digits and images lines up with the Google AI and other users - which leads to "interesting" edge cases as how much of a car has to be in the tiny square for it it to be recognised as a car...

It's also somewhat worrying that the users input is used to train software to recognise things... yes, google provide the service for free, but it's the labour of all the poor gals and guys who just want to log in somewhere who gives Google the data to refine the AI and their OCR software. And if you suffering from bad eyesight or dyslexia... no log in for you.

One variation I've seen more and more lately is the noCAPTCHA; code that analyses user behaviour and triggers more complicated reCAPTCHA challenges if the user might be a bot. This relies on user cookies stored on your computer, so if you clean out your cookies regularly or browse the internet in incognito mode, you'll see more of the hard challenges.

I can see the utility and need for being able to tell computers and people apart. Still a pain in the posterior though.

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 12-15-2018, 06:03 AM
#7
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We used to get the photo version very often. I found the ones with "cars" or "street signs" to be the most irritating. From them we evolved to the version Mike shows above. Of late we've just been getting the I am not a robot check box. No idea how we got so lucky, but I'm not complaining.

Dave

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 12-15-2018, 06:44 AM
#8
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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I am often asked to click on pictures that show a storefront. It’s quite annoying. Many websites ask for security questions and answers when registering as a customer. This seems to be a more secure method. But what the heck do I know?

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 12-15-2018, 08:26 AM
#9
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A short article about the system from last year:
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/03/...-captchas/

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 12-15-2018, 08:48 AM
#10
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I'm color blind, thank god they are not asking me to click the squares with red or green or whatever color...

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 12-15-2018, 09:09 AM
#11
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I find that the ones requiring me to retype letters and numbers are far more clear the "photos that contain....".  Frankly both a pain in the butt altho i get why its needed

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 12-16-2018, 04:02 AM
#12
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I'm not fussed by either variety -- it's never taken me more than three attempts -- but my error rate is a little higher with the distorted letter series.

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 12-16-2018, 05:32 AM
#13
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(12-15-2018, 09:09 AM)MHBru Wrote: I find that the ones requiring me to retype letters and numbers are far more clear the "photos that contain....".  Frankly both a pain in the butt altho i get why its needed

Oh, good.  You, then, are the person who can explain to me why it is needed.  

I have been logging onto Amazon.com for two decades or so using just a user ID and password.  Amazon sells a lot of high price-tag items, occasionally to me.  
Sometimes — as I have done this week when ordering last-minute gifts — I order items to be shipped to addresses other than my credit card billing address.
Amazon apparently does not think reCAPTCHA is needed.  Why should Lands End need reCAPTCHA?

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 12-16-2018, 05:45 AM
#14
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(12-16-2018, 05:32 AM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(12-15-2018, 09:09 AM)MHBru Wrote: I find that the ones requiring me to retype letters and numbers are far more clear the "photos that contain....".  Frankly both a pain in the butt altho i get why its needed

Oh, good.  You, then, are the person who can explain to me why it is needed.  

I have been logging onto Amazon.com for two decades or so using just a user ID and password.  Amazon sells a lot of high price-tag items, occasionally to me.  
Sometimes — as I have done this week when ordering last-minute gifts — I order items to be shipped to addresses other than my credit card billing address.
Amazon apparently does not think reCAPTCHA is needed.  Why should Lands End need reCAPTCHA?

Amazon do their own in-house security and payment systems, and by the sound of it Lands Ends either bought a pre-made commercial package or contract out security and/or handling of payments. Third party often uses reCAPTCHA as it's free to use, easy to integrate, and quite secure.

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 12-16-2018, 07:57 AM
#15
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A balanced view:

https://www.maketecheasier.com/captchas-...need-them/

This one says that Google reCaptcha in particular is not necessary, acknowledging the original poster's point -- that they can be a pain.
But it's from a competing solution.

https://ninjaforms.com/google-recaptcha/

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