Have you ever had one of those weekends where you’re diligently working at your computer to accomplish several tasks–with varying degrees of failure and success? I have had just such a weekend and thought it might be worth sharing as I considered it an enlightening and educational experience.
Are you familiar with the horrendous entity known as a “captcha”? Wavy letters and numbers that no screen reader can decipher, they are the bane of my existence. Also known as visual verifications, solving them is supposed to prove that you are a human. Their worth has been debated for years, but website developers continue to use them. Confident that I needed only to sign up for a Google Groups email list with my Gmail username and password, I was thoroughly aggravated when my JAWS screen reader announced that I should listen to the numbers and type them in the edit box. Entering on the link I waited to hear the familiar mechanical voice read the numbers buried amongst background noise. Even my Winamp media player refused to play it. I promptly tweeted my dilemma and had a solution in minutes–use the Mozilla FireFox web browser and Web Visum captcha-solving service. If you’re using Internet Explorer 9 to download Firefox, you’ll need to access the notification area by pressing Alt-N and tabbing to the Run or Save button and pressing Enter. Web Visum (www.webvisum.com) also requires that you enter an invitation code. Having acquired several, I was prepared. Your Web Visum account will need to be activated so check your email for that message. I next returned to the Google Groups page where the captcha edit field waited and pressed Control-Alt-6 to send the captcha to Web Visum. Minutes later I heard the confirmatory prompt. Next, I pressed the Shortcut key; entered on the Paste option and–Voila! I had my group. After all that, thanks to another glitch, I actually wound up using www.emissives.com for our email list and that was another challenge but perseverance really does pay off.
Our beleaguered information email list has been pressed into service for seven years and is now, sadly, corrupt. Being the leader of the group, it fell to me to find a suitable alternative. I knew next to nothing about list management before this weekend. Our former list just worked and I had very little control over its actions. I am pleased to say that with help from the amiable owner of the Emissives service, I can subscribe members and manipulate the list to a basic degree. My last triumph was finally configuring Microsoft Outlook 2010 to work on my laptop. I’ll never know why it decided to work now, but I’m very grateful.
Do any of you have captcha nightmares to tell? Share them with us in the Reader’s Forum.