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==Captcha Thoughts==
I rather like the use of captcha's for user validation. What I don't like about them, though, is that those little images that seem to make up most of them are damned difficult to read. And my eyes are very good at discerning color and contrast.

From my perspective, the point of a captcha is to create a situation that has a challenge where a human must answer the question. Usually, "What letter/numbers are contained in that freaking .gif?!" The data field, one may say, is very complex while the question is simple. This seems to be the method of every captcha authorization I've seen. But what about the other way around? Make the data field simple but the //question// complex. Let's say there's the following "data" block given for authorization:

~sdahjksd ahkjhjksdah ahjkhsjkah 8y789hajsh ajhhja g a789789 sa hgjhjkhas aghjkghjkh asajk ahjkh sajkhk

And then the user is presented with two questions:

Please enter the first block of letters where the first letter is repeated in another block.
Please enter the first block with less than four characters.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of such questions can be generated. Just reversing a few terms can grow the questions as well. (The last block, the second block, the block with more than four characters, etc).

The point of the questions is to keep the logic simple, but to also keep the questions from directly referring to something in the data to be parsed. Thus maximizing the human interaction. Further, it should be possible to localize the questions to other languages. The blocks to be parsed can remain text, thus keeping the server resources low. To make things even more cryptic, the blocks can be displayed in different fonts (which gives the option of asking questions about the fonts being displayed...). Of course, that requires a browser that can display the fonts.



Many years ago (around year 2000), I first encountered wiki and decided it wasn't for me. The effort involved in setting up a wiki was simply more than it was worth. Add to that the page formatting was esoteric, difficult to remember, and almost as much of a pain to use as html... needless to say, I got really turned off of the whole concept. Sure, I'd read them a lot, but set up my own and use it? Not for me.

Recently, I needed to do some documentation, which I wanted to make it easy for others to collaborate on, and decided to try and give wiki a try again. Steeling my resolve, I did some googling and ended up with Wikka. Installation was a breeze, just an upload and a table away. Literally, within minutes, I was playing around with the thing. A few minutes later, I was experimenting with the code repository. Those were pretty easy too (though why no one uses the file-name option for the code block I don't understand).

I experimented with a few other wikis, but I kept coming back to wikka. It may not have the maturity of, say, mediawiki. But wikka has some serious strengths. Easy to install. A small core (which makes for a quick upload). It's small and user-friendly enough to easily plunk on a webhost.

And that documentation project exploded to six wikkas installed on my webhost, hundreds of pages, including a trunk install, in less than a week.

I'd say it's good stuff.


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