Online Challenges

Click to see where you can file an online NZ Tax ReturnMany times recently I’ve been met with the challenge of completing forms on line. This can sometimes be an absolute nightmare particularly when you’re completing them on behalf of someone else who isn’t “fond” of computers.

I’d tried hard to be patient and muddle my way through, as each website invariably asks for the same information, but unfortunately sometimes not in the same format. Government department forms are so long you almost give up completing them.

As they say “practice makes perfect”… I continued on. However, I encountered another small challenge as I have in the past on some websites – a test to complete. I’ve often wondered what this test is and what it’s for. Seen something similar yourself?

This is a CAPTCHA program that protects websites or other applications against computer bots (short for “robot”, it’s an automated program that runs over the internet) by generating and grading tests that humans can pass, but current computer programs cannot. While most computer bots are used for productive purposes, some are considered malware, since they perform undesirable functions. For example, spambots capture email addresses from website contact forms, address books, and email programs, then add them to a spam mailing list.

In other words, the reason some websites have CAPTCHA is spam!

Humans can read distorted text as it’s shown on the image (mmm.. with my eyes that’s debatable) but current computer programs can’t. If you do encounter this test while online and interpret the words wrong, another set of different distorted words appear. Acknowledgement by the people who developed this test I suspect, that humans aren’t perfect and deserve another chance. Whew, I live to fill in yet another on-line form.

Golden Ager

Editor’s Note: If you are struggling to understand or work out the letters and numbers in the CAPTCHA screen, you can ask for them to be read out by clicking the small speaker or you can ask for a new set by clicking the small recycle button (near the speaker). 

An alternative Captcha screen you might encounter – Just click in the box!

An alternative Captcha used by Link Market Service