Archive for August, 2008

human deCAPTCHA service

About 10 years ago, when .NET was put out as a strategy for providing software services over the internet, I jokingly quipped that across the API interface, it’s just a black box, you’ll never know if you have actual humans answering your queries and passing the data back, as long as it’s in the right format! Imagine if “Jeeves” were an actual person answering what you “Ask”ed. Or if some translation tool were actually human-powered. It’d be pretty cool in a horrible way, like a reverse Turing-test. Students of the Humanities may even call it “dehumanizing” but we’re all evil engineers so who cares… hohoho

But guess what, this is an actual industry. Here is an article that shows, to my great amazement, that people have not only taken this concept to heart to solve the real problem (for spammers and hackers) of automated CAPTCHA decoding by low-wage humans, but they’ve even managed to load-balance the whole thing to reduce latency! What … the hell!
(Read the article)

CBUT Vancouver saves the day


Edit: All right, the author deleted the page, but Google says it started out like this:

Screw NBC Watch CBC/CBUT for 2008 Olympic Coverage28 Jun 2008 by teamstrannon

For Americans the road to our 2008 Beijing Olympics will be on a 12-15 hour delay. That is NBC’s best attempt to give us timely Olympics coverage in our high-end technology era. You’d think it was still 1950. Yep folks, that’s all we’re …

Basically the Canadian network CBC (and local affiliate CBUT Vancouver) had Olympics on live coverage, so people in select markets in the US served by cable that picks up that Canadian channel could bypass NBC completely. It was better editorial coverage anyway.