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Don't you hate those CAPTCHAs that leave you squinting at the screen in irritated bewilderment? Here are some systems that are a little more user friendly.

CAPTCHA — or Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart — is that test that you'll find on some websites to verify that you're not a spam bot. Most of the time, you'll be typing a sequence of letters into a box. This is not a hard thing to do, you would think, until you get something that looks like this.

There are a few other systems out there that are much more friendly to the average user — some creative, some bare bones, but all minus that irritation of having to constantly click the refresh button. Here are some of our favourites.

We like playing games. It would be awesome if CAPTCHAs could be games. PlayThru presents the user with a simple game, wherein you click on gently moving items and place them in the appropriate place or group them according to type. It only takes a few seconds, and is dead easy for a human. Bots might have a slightly harder time.

Caption:Photo:Michelle Starr/CNET Australia
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Why would you want to look at boring old incomprehensible letters when you could be looking at baby animals? In KittenAuth, all you have to do is click on all instances of the specified type of baby animal in a grid — it could be kittens, or hedgehogs, or lambs — but they're all cute, so everyone wins. The test page can be found here.

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In MotionCAPTCHA, a simple shape is displayed in the box. All you have to do is trace it with your mouse. Easy as. Unfortunately, it's only a proof of concept at this point, but you can play with it here.

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Everyone in the world knows noughts and crosses (otherwise known by the more boring name of Tic-Tac-Toe). Fun CAPTCHA uses the game in place of letters; you don't have to play, just fill in the blanks to create a winning grid.

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This one's a little less friendly if you suck at arithmetic, but it comes in two versions. Each one shows a series of dice — in the first, you have to add up the numbers on the dice to get a final figure, while in the easier version, you have to just enter the numbers displayed, with no adding required.

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CAPTCHA for WordPress

This one is likewise not for anyone who hates sums. You're presented with a simple equation with a blank; the aim is to fill in that blank. Before you get too worried, though, they really are very simple sums.

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Similar to PlayThru, you have to drag an image across and drop it in the specified spot in Sweet CAPTCHA. It tells you what image to drag, though, so it's less like a tiny game and more like ... well, dragging a picture.

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Adafruit Industries

If you want to comment on the Adafruit blog, you have to perform a simple test: you're shown an image of a resistor, and using the sliders beneath it, you have to match the colour bands. It's easy, cute and perfectly suited to the website.

Have you seen a fabulous implementation of CAPTCHA? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Updated:Caption:Photo:Michelle Starr/CNET Australia
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