Hacker News had me laughing today as a company called HeavyGifts took a joke and turned it into a real and free product by using metal band logos as CAPTCHAs. Unless there is another computer virus based on weaponizing heavy metal, such as the malware reported to F-Secure’s Mikko Hypponen by an Iranian nuclear scientist after AC/DC’s Thunderstruck was allegedly blasting from workstations in the middle of the night, when else can I write about metal music?
MetalCaptcha asks, "Are you a metal head or a bot?"
Everyone has encountered captchas. They are ugly and unreadable. You spend 2-3 minutes trying to figure out the overly distorted characters. But here is a long awaited solution!
The examples captured below are easy, but not all of them are…and that’s coming from someone who really likes and is familiar with many flavors of metal music.
The goal of MetalCaptcha is to "banish the evil bots from the website forms." There's code that can be embedded to use the free service and supposedly a WordPress plugin in the works.
You can try MetalCaptcha out, but the site is struggling under the surge of traffic coming from Hacker News and possibly other sites as well. How well would you do if you were presented with these metal band logos as CAPTCHAs?
If that seemed tough, then you might like commenter ajanuary’s suggestion, "In Chrome right click the CAPTCHA image, click 'Search Google for this image,' copy and paste the resulting text search back as the results." In other words, the CAPTCHA can be defeated by an image search algorithm; metal logo CAPTCHAs might be easier for a bot than a person.
If you get the metal logo right, then you are "rewarded" with "smart boy" or "very good." If you mess up, there are a variety of messages, such as "lame."
Whether using metal band logos as CAPTCHAs is meant purely for fun or as a genuine replacement of unreadable and aggravating CAPTCHAs, the company said it is taking comments on how to develop the service.
If you can't make out the logos or hate metal music, then you might enjoy another Hacker News suggestion to visit Metal Sucks, where figuring out the "completely unreadable band logo" of the week can win you some swag or other prizes.
Is anybody ready to deploy MetalCaptcha and see if people or bots do best at figuring out metal band logos? Maybe Ticketmaster could at least give it a try?