Tag: humans

Captcha This

Know how you have to type those alphanumeric characters online to prevent spam?

Now those measures seem to be getting scarier by the day.

It started with a string of arbit letters, graduated to CAPTCHAs, deformed sets of characters that you’d have to really strain your eyes or make a face, to be able to read; and went on to three characters which sway about (that’s my favourite one by the way). Then came image identification. And there are also those simple math questions, say a “1+2=?” and so on.
But now, those q’s seem to have gotten tougher. I was faced with a “7*9=?” yesterday. Sure took me a while and a few fingers on that one.

It was fine till the simple additions, and might still be ok as long as you got enough fingers to calculate on.
But as hackers and spamming gets a step further, I shiver to think of the kind of questions we’d be faced with in the years to come, just to prove we’re “still” human.
Imagine having to solve a complex mathematical derivative problem to create an email account. Or worse still, having to read a 10 line story and answer questions on it; a “How could Priscilla have handled the situation differently?”

Don’t be too surprised.
After all, the times, they are a changin’…

(Images have been randomly taken off the net, and they probably don’t reflect my personal views)



You know the whole “effect” thing. It is all about how things are put, less about what things really are. Its more about the gift wrap than about the gift. More to do with the fanfare, and less about the intention; all about quantity, not much about quality,  and all that.

For the past few months, one of my responsibilities at work includes contacting the Management folk at Colleges and B-Schools and introducing them to the SAP uAcademy courses, which are an innovative way of enabling students to gain working knowledge of SAP by way of a Learning Management System, an online Audio-Visual module, whereby students can take the course at their own pace, re-work topics, and they can have queries immediately answered by SAP’s support team by way of call, email, chat or video chat. And all this at a heavy discount to the SAP courses available at Training Centres.

Anyway, a part of this task involves me looking up college websites, identifying the right person to contact. A Vice Chancellor (VC) or Chairman, and in many cases, the Director or Dean.

I had a list of colleges that I started tackling one by one. The first few calls felt like I was speaking to the gatekeeper to heaven. Whose only job was to make it nearly impossible to reach the VC or President. I heard every reason from ‘he is traveling’, ‘not in town’, ‘not at his desk’ to more direct ‘no one can speak directly with him’ and so on. Schools, and I thought these folks were supposed to be a little more approachable. I have not had even half the trouble speaking and meeting General Managers and Directors at companies. And here I was, struggling to meet people at colleges.

Then, one Saturday, a few days and many calls later, I called a college on the number given on their ‘Contact Us’ page. And to my surprise, the Director answered! (‘Wha.!’, I’d say to myself, just praying it wasn’t a prank by a bored peon looking for a kick out of his otherwise mundane routine).

As I kept working on my list, I got to some colleges which had mobile numbers listed under ‘Contact Us’, which belonged to Directors or Dean’s. A refreshing change from the otherwise fortress some institutes had around their heads.

And today, when I was almost at the end of my list, I call a college and asked only for the Director’s email id (no, couldn’t find any direct lines, and I was way too bored to request a direct word with the Director), saying I will first email him and then call to speak with him, and the generous person at the other end says ‘Hold on, I’ll connect you to him, you could speak to him directly’.

The more you want something done, people seem to make it that much tougher. When you don’t care, they’ll give you that extra push up the hill. Humans, never cease to amaze.


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