Most of us hate them, especially hackers and script kiddies. Captchas are used to thwart automatic form submissions to websites by bots and scripts. Security is important but the captchas have gone way too far. It’s one thing to distort the letters and use non-words but to use letters and characters not available on the standard keyboard just isn’t right. Almost all computer users have absolutely no idea how to access characters beyond what is on the keyboard. It requires holding down the Alt key and then pressing the number sequence on the number pad. For example, to type in the Spanish enya, ñ, you have to hold Alt then type 1-6-4 then let go of Alt. I agree that internet security is import for webmasters, developers and admins but we can’t make it locked down so tight that even common folks can’t get in.
Here is an example of a captcha on site I was on the other day:
The second “word” – if you want to call it that – has two extended characters. The first is Sigma, Σ, Alt + 228. The third letter is the Euro, €, Alt + 0128. At the time I had to enter this on the page I just used a capital E which still seemed to work and maybe that is the point. But it threw me for a loop for a minute and I was a bit taken by it.
For a nice list of Alt codes. Check out this site: http://www.alt-codes.net/. There are more codes you can access on the right navigation of this site which lets you see language and currency alt codes.