Solona

God I hate not being able to sleep. I’ve been awake since about quarter to four this morning, and I eventually got up at about 4:15 and tried to burn myself out. didn’t work. You’d think this was Steve writing this post, but nope, it’s me. And I’m not even preparing for a life-changing event like guide dog school like last time this happened to me. But I did manage to solve a mystery that’s been bugging me, so I figured I’d post about it. Yeah, you can tell I’ve been up for a while. Even writing this, I sound like I have the writing skills of a zombie.

So…the mystery. Back a while ago, I found out about a new captcha-solving tool for us blinks. this was in addition to WebVisum. This one is called Solona. The two big advantages to Solona are that it does not require the installation of a plugin, or the use of a specific browser, and your captchas are solved by a human operator. The one disadvantage is that the process for obtaining the captcha is, well, slightly ugly. It’s not horrible, but it’s a bit clumsy. But it’s true that with practice you can get it really fast.

But I didn’t care about the ugly process. My mind was frozen on one word. Human! A human? I got very excited. A human solves the captcha. Do you know what this could mean? It could mean the possibility to solve this type of captcha, or this one, or maybe even this one. But I was too busy to look into it just yet. so I put it off.

Then this stupid insomnia happened, and I thought what the hell? I’m not sleeping, I might as well try this out. So I hopped on over to Solona, read their instructions, and made myself a hot little Solona account.

Here’s how the beast works. First, you make an account. That’s pretty simple. Then you go to the Solona main page and check if an operator is standing by. right now, it appears to be a one-man band, *thank you Bernard Maldonado*. so anyway, you check if he’s online. If he is, get ready to submit the captcha. You hit submit captcha, and here’s how you get the picture to Solona…at least for windows-users. There are a million and six different versions of the instructions, so I’ll just explain how I could do it. In another window or tab, you get to the page where the accursed word verf is, you point at the field where you’re supposed to submit it, and you hit alt print screen. Note’ don’t be a dope like me. Always maximize the window first. *slaps self*.

So anyway. You’ve print screened. Now, open paint, or better yet, have paint already open and ready to receive your picture. Hit control v. Now save it as a 256-colour bitmap. It will whinge about the loss of colour. We don’t care about colour. We just want the damn captcha.

Now pop over to the solona submit captcha area and upload the paint bmp file, and wait. Hit the refresh button on the page, not the one in your browser…this is important. Hit it every few seconds, and soon, you will get a very human response!

the first time, the response was,”maximize the window. I can’t see the captcha.” Woops. Carin is a dork.

but the next time, when I submitted one of these new fangled captchas, I got the response. It was…

solona can’t do this type of captcha.

*sob*.

Oh well, I tried. I have emailed the poor fellow. We’ll see what he says. I gave him links to all those captchas, so he knows what I’m talking about. I’m not holding out a lot of hope, but hey, if you don’t ask, you’ll never receive.

But I do think Solona is a cool idea for anyone who doesn’t have an up to date version of JAWS to do WebVisum, or anyone who just doesn’t want to install Firefox and WebVisum. More tools and more options are always better.

So to anyone who’s interested, give Solona a try for solving those captchas with the distorted text. But read their instructions first. It will make the process less painful for sure.

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