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Fed up with Distorted Texts for Verification? Google Is Offering New CAPTCHA!

Fed up with Distorted Texts for Verification? Google Is Offering New CAPTCHA!

Do you know what a “CAPTCHA” is? Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term, you’re still likely familiar with them. They’re those annoying little word boxes you have to fill out on nearly every website out there to verify that you are, indeed, human (an example can be seen below).

The_Captcha_original12323

    If you are in fact aware of these little boxes, then you know how awful they are. How many times have you come across a CAPTCHA and not been able to discern the archaic hieroglyphics before you? Probably more times than you can count. Some of them are so ridiculously formatted that they look more like a blob than an assortment of letters.

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    Worst of all, if you get the aforementioned blob CAPTCHA incorrect, the system thinks you’re a robot! And you’ll have to go through the process ALL over again, until you finally (usually randomly) input the right string of letters and numbers.

    Well, it turns out that the fine folks at Google have finally decided to respond to the public’s distaste for inscrutable (and for the most part, useless) CAPTCHAs. Don’t think that they did this out of the kindness of their hearts though; the main reason they’re changing it is because CAPTCHAs are able to be bypassed by “99.8%” of computers. So much for all those wasted hours squinting at a few pixels!

    With CAPTCHAs gone, what will take its place? Google has the answer. They’ve been developing a CAPTCHA replacement that’s far more user friendly, and requires far less eye-strain on your end. What is it? Basically, it’s a box. A box that you check with the click of your mouse.

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    Yes, you read that right. Google’s solution is to ask you a simple question: are you a robot? If you’re not, you check their little box.

    Recaptcha_ver3

      Though the new CAPTCHA pictured above looks simple, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Apparently, for this to work, Google has to track your online habits (those worried about privacy may be concerned about this, but I’m sure they’ll allow you to opt-out).

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      Eventually, once Google has a somewhat accurate picture of who you are and what you do, its algorithm can piece together all of the evidence and officially declare that you are, indeed, a human. Thus, when the box pops up asking if you’re a robot, you can check it with confidence, knowing that unless you have what Google deems to be robotic habits online, you’ll pass the test.

      If the algorithm hasn’t yet determined whether you’re a robot or not yet, you’ll have to complete a more streamlined version of the CAPTCHA, which, luckily for us, is far easier to complete than the old ones (while being more difficult for computers to crack).

      Recaptcha_ver4
        An example of the more streamlined CAPTCHA. You pick a color instead of trying to decipher mangled text.

        Obviously, the benefits of this are enormous. No longer will you have to stop and wait to fill out pointless gibberish in your quest to traverse the internet. Just a check will do, and you’ll be on your merry way.

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        This system isn’t quite ready to be implemented fully yet, but when it is, you probably won’t notice too much of a difference at first. Over time though, you’ll see standard CAPTCHA boxes be replaced by the more modern version, and from then on you’ll no longer have to feel like clawing your eyes out when you’re asked to verify your humanity.

        To be honest, I feel like something like this should have implemented years ago. I mean, we all found CAPTCHAs annoying, and we also all knew they basically did nothing when it came to stopping computers from pretending they are people.

        At least Google is finally doing something about this now. If you’re a user of WordPress, Snapchat, or Humble Bundle, you may have already seen this new CAPTCHA in use. What do you think? Is it better than the old one?

        Featured photo credit: CAPTCHA Painting/ Becky Stern via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on February 15, 2019

        7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

        7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

        Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

        Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

        Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

        So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

        Joe’s Goals

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          Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

          Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

          Daytum

            Daytum

            is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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            Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

            Excel or Numbers

              If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

              What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

              Evernote

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                I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                Access or Bento

                  If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                  Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                  You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                  Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                  All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                  Conclusion

                  I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                  What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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