When I was around 11 years old my English teach at the time, the indomitable Mrs Jeyes, struck the fear into me. I can only try to imagine her amusement to find that I write as a pastime I find not only fulfilling, but potentially one in-which I get the most enjoyment from. Jeyes was a classic teacher – a lover of the craft of English and language, she not only wielded a certain level of anger at the students she was having to teach, but also a confusion as to why she couldn't instil the love and lust for language she had into her hordes of teenage students.
I can only imagine how that feels… I mean, I don’t struggle to get Scouts to get enjoyment out of ropework… ahem.
At my first parents evening Jeyes confronted my parents over two things that she’d noticed; the first being that I probably didn’t read enough. She suggested a few authors to start me on, with a selection of novels designed to put me on the right track when it came to reading, comprehension, and maybe what she expected or thought I might enjoy. One, Robert Westall’s The Scarecrows, is still the most terrifying thing I’ve ever read, watched, played or listened to, and I’ve played Doom 3 at night with headphones on. The second was that my spelling was fucking dreadful.
Attributed to just laziness rather than something dyslexic, I was told to work on it. Now a days, you don’t really have to worry about it – my phone auto-corrects, Word underlines each word, and if I want to check the spelling of a word, all I have to do is ALT-TAB to Google and search for it. I used to literally carry a dictionary around in my School bag to make sure I spelled words correctly. That will seem so antiquated to kids today. It sounds archaic to me now.
Of course, what this really means is that my spelling and grammar have actually worsened. I barely know the rules of English (in my defence they were never taught to me correctly). I can imagine someone who reads these posts who knows how to construct sentences correctly and the actual rules of the language must revile at it – I have no idea how to build a sentence correctly (or should that be “I have no idea how to correctly build a sentence”?).
That is not the point of this post (though, it seems like it might be). The point of this post is to complain about bloody fucking Captchas. Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart is that stupid scrambled letter thing that stops people from posting comments and shite on blogs. I have it enabled here on this blog, but that’s because the amount of shitty Spam I get on here without it is insane. The other option is that you need a Google+ account, but No. I hate Google+.
The Turing Test is the thing that is designed to make sure that someone is a person. It is meant to not only be a benchmark for computers to check we are real people, but a goal for AI to be able to convince a human that the computer is a person. That is still on going.
It is a solution that is not effective and actually exclusive. And it is getting worse. Recently I’ve noticed Captchas that are too difficult to solve, which surely is beside the whole point! I don't think I have dyslexia, but I really struggle beyond the normal with the style of these checks, and I don't think I am alone in this. I will actually avoid doing them now, and send an email complaining to the site that is using them (I know, hypocrictical maybe, seeing as I use them... but who even comments on this blog any more? Jonathan? Maybe. Almost no one, bar the odd spammer that makes it through the test).
The reason is I liken it to placing a load of stairs on the entrance to a shop. Or a place you can only drive to. It blocks those who are partially sighted from interacting in the same way with sites that able-sighted people.
Just look at these fucking ones! There are 100% real ones that I came across on an unnamed site. Seriosuly. W.T.F.
Let me know if you can work out what they say in the comments...