After a lengthy hiatus, Nxtbot.com will soon be updated with a new look, much more content, and lots of other long-overdue improvements. Before all that can happen, however, some sorely needed maintenance is in order.
If any of you reading this happen to have a blog, you’ll understand what an evil scourge spam comments are. I typically see hundreds of them every day, and they quickly clog up the the admin side of things. Who wants to spend 30 minutes a day searching through piles of spam to find a handful of legitimate comments? Not me, so I decided to install a comment spam filter.
There are a bunch of spam filters out there, but I decided on reCAPTCHA, a nifty blog spam blocker developed by some big-brained folks at Carnegie Mellon University. You’ve undoubtedly seen these before: now that reCAPTCHA is installed, you’ll need to decipher two blurry text strings (see static image above for an example) before you can post comments on the site. It’s a small inconvenience, but it saves us all from the scourge of blog spam.
What really impressed me about reCAPTCHA is that is actually does something with all of our fuzzy-word deciphering efforts. All of those words we decipher are actually being spit out by an OCR program that is having trouble deciphering them. In essence, we ‘re all helping digitize literary works for a good cause, and reCAPTCHA makes that possible.
Here’s a blurb from the reCAPTCHA side that explains things better than I can:
About 60 million CAPTCHAs are solved by humans around the world every day. In each case, roughly ten seconds of human time are being spent. Individually, that’s not a lot of time, but in aggregate these little puzzles consume more than 150,000 hours of work each day. What if we could make positive use of this human effort? reCAPTCHA does exactly that by channeling the effort spent solving CAPTCHAs online into “reading” books.
So there you have it. Now that I’ve sorted my spam problems, it’s time to get working on that new site logo…. [- Jeff James]