How to avoid captchas, cookies, 404s and other computer nightmares | Your technology | The country

Who doesn’t remember this famous video: an office worker frustrated by the apparent inefficiency of his computer and fights with it… More than 30 million visits They attest that managing a computer can sometimes irritate anyone. A pop-up in the middle of a restaurant reservation or bank transfer can ruin the whole process. A conflict that ruins the user experience and can be frustrating. Why should I validate the hated cookies every time I access a new web page? Why do I have to solve complicated captcha puzzles to prove I’m human?

Managing interactions with the world from a computer can be extremely frustrating, especially in times of rush or need. To avoid these interruptions that can disrupt all plans, we review the most desperate moments in front of the screen with tips to try to avoid them, even if it is not always possible.

Cookie harassment

It’s an all-too-common nightmare: accessing a web page and a notification occupying the screen inviting us to accept the already hated ones. cookies. This disruption, while regulated and necessary by privacy laws such as GDPR, disrupts the flow of our business and can be infuriating. However, we are ignoring a necessary part: “They maintain the security and privacy of users at a positive level,” defends Fernando Suárez, president of the General Council of Schools of Computer Engineering.

Suárez refers to the cause that caused this embarrassing interruption. What exactly are they? A small data file saved in your browser when you visit a web page. This file makes it easier to track and remember information about user activity. Although the cookies They help optimize the browsing experience by adapting content and preserving your preferences, raising serious privacy concerns. This is because they collect personal information and behavior patterns on the network, often without the clear and explicit consent of the user.

“Users almost indiscriminately accept whatever terms of use are imposed on them,” warns Suárez. And does anyone actually read the terms of the cookies? Ultimately, they are managed as a small letter which is accepted to avoid the embarrassment of the message. “I think users are looking for agility and speed much more than security,” he concludes.

There are browser extensions specialized in managing user consent. cookies automatically and save you the hassle of accepting (or rejecting) that annoying message. These tools allow the user to enjoy smoother and uninterrupted navigation, even if they are not always effective. The most popular are: I don’t care about cookies And Consent-O-Matic.

The captcha maze

If the cookies They constitute quite a challenge for the patience of the Internet user, captchas set the bar even higher. The name itself comes from the acronym for the fully automated public Turing test intended to differentiate computers from humans. These verification tests can be tedious and confusing. However, their function is necessary: ​​they are the only barrier that keeps robots away. What does this consist of? These are tests for which human intervention is supposed to be essential. These are the classic puzzles you see on the screen that you have to solve or messages like “check all the boxes that contain traffic lights”. When it comes to image recognition or text distortion tests, they are not always clear and easy to pass, leading the user to waste time in multiple attempts.

“They are annoying, but necessary,” says Suárez, “so as a user I am in favor of these types of tools, but above all I think that we should influence the collective awareness of their importance, of their necessity.” Can they be avoided? The bad news is that at the user level, there is no choice but to pass these tests to achieve secure browsing and ensure that the Internet is not overrun by bots.

Regardless, biometrics is gaining ground as an attractive alternative: facial recognition or fingerprint technologies could replace both passwords and captcha, streamlining the verification process.

The invasion of pop-ups

Pop-ups that ask for our email address or ask us to turn on notifications interrupt our concentration and add extra steps to get to the content we want. Sometimes their presence is necessary, but in most cases they are alerts which, paradoxically, seek to know the user’s satisfaction. Can they be reduced? The good news is yes, and in a very simple way: browsers like Chrome and Safari offer pop-up blocking features.

In Chrome, this option is located in Settings > Privacy & Security > Site Settings > Pop-ups and redirects, where you need to make sure it is configured to block pop-ups. In Safari it is available in Preferences > Websites > Pop-ups and select the option to block.

The whirlwind of automatic updates

Just when we are in the middle of an important task, the system decides to install updates, which can cause the computer to slow down or even restart. How to avoid it? The user can schedule updates at times when the computer is not in use, to avoid unwanted interruptions. In any case, it can be configured so that the system does not update without user permission.

To prevent automatic updates in Windows, the user must access SettingSO Update And Security to pause or modify updates. On macOS, the user can turn off automatic updates from System Preferences/Software Update and uncheck the box Keep your Mac up to date.

Videos that won’t finish loading

Nothing is more annoying than a YouTube video that constantly pauses when the connection is bad and seeing the charging clock ticking. Worse still, the system offers as an alternative to lower the playback quality to an insulting 480p. In reality, the system offers the user the data stream they are enjoying at that moment, but despite this, you can try to trick the platform into continuing to offer content in HD (at least 720p ).

As? The simplest solution is to go to the checkout and pay at premium service of the platform, which allows you to download the content in the browser and thus avoid connection problems. For those who don’t want to spend, the cheapest solution is to pause the video and wait for the buffering Store the content and click “play” again. If the problem is temporary and due to a spike in devices connected to the network, it is advisable to disconnect these devices to give priority to the one playing the videos.

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