Styling ReCaptcha in WordPress

reCAPTCHA is an effective service for eliminating spam on your site. It is based on Captcha, “a type of challenge-response test used in computing to ensure that the response is not generated by a computer” acting as a spambot.

reCAPTCHA can be used to protect any web-based form spam. This post explains how to customize the appearance of the ReCaptch section. Instructions for installing reCAPTCHA on a WordPress blog are available on reCAPTCHA’s site.

Once the plugin is installed and activated, the appearance can easily be styled. reCAPTCHA offers four predefined styles called “themes”:

reCAPTCHA-red.pngred (default theme)




reCAPTCHA also offers a fourth option allowing complete custom styling of the reCAPTCHA form. This post doesn’t cover complete custom styling but detailed API Documentation is available directly from reCAPTCHA.

The theme is set in the reCAPTCHA plugin code. The code can be edited by clicking the Edit link next to the plugin in WordPress. See illustration.


In the Plugin Editor look for the following code block:

/* Embeds the reCAPTCHA widget into the comment form.
function recaptcha_comment_form() {
//modify the comment form for the reCAPTCHA widget
$recaptcha_js_opts = <<<OPTS
<script type='text/javascript'>
var RecaptchaOptions = { theme : 'red', tabindex : 5 };

The code that reads theme : 'red' is the code that controls the theme of the ReCapthcha. The possible values are: ‘red’ , ‘white’ , ‘blackglass’ , ‘clean’, or ‘custom’.

Set the theme to ‘red’ , ‘white’ , ‘blackglass’ or ‘clean’ and save click Update File. The new style will now appear on instead of the default ‘red’ theme.

If the theme is set to ‘custom’ no reCAPTCHA will appear on the comment form until certain HTML elements are added to display the CAPTCHA to the user. Custom theming is beyond the scope of this post.

Good luck.

Reality Distortion Field in Effect

Most laptop and notebook computers on the market are black or charcoal. Lately more and more have a metallic finish. For a premium price you can get a fancy color like blue or red. It isn’t as bad as Ford’s offer of any color Model T, as long it is black but odd are high that any given laptop is black. And the cheaper the laptop the more likely the laptop is black

That is unless you are looking at an Apple laptop. Apple’s are white or metal, not metallic but actual aluminum. You can get a black MacBook for an extra $150. Yes you can get a less distinct more common colored laptop from Apple for $150 more than the same laptop in white.

This is the notorious Steve Job’s Reality Distortion Field. This distortion field has been spoken of for decades. At first one might dismiss the folklore and accept that Jobs is more persuasive than others; that he can convince consumers to pay more for a better product. But this underestimates his powers of persuasion and denies his ability to distort reality. Steve can make a common black laptop more desirable and more expensive than distinct white.

This is an amazing distortion of reality.

Amy Africa’s Blog is Live

Amy Africa has started her Qlog blog. Amy covers all things e-commerce and internet marketing.

Her blog can be found at

TalkCrunch Covers Amazon’s Grid Storage- Plus a Suggestion

I just listened to very lively and well produced TalkCrunch podcast from Tech crunch about Amazon’s S3 service and online storage in general.

I am very excited to see some great S3 applications, but the pricing is still way too high. All the online storage solutions seem out of touch with other bandwidth/storage pricing.

For example, Dreamhost offers 20gb of storage and a terabyte of bandwidth per month for $9.95. $7.95 if you commit to two years. In addition your alloted storage and bandwidth increase every week.

Assuming you used the full capacity, the same service through S3 would cost:

20 * .15 = $5.00

1000 * .20 = $200

Total $205

About $195 a month more that a basic hosting account. Even if you only use a tenth of the bandwidth S3 is still off by a factor of 3. What is more, as mentioned in the podcast, S3 appears to the be the low cost online storage provider. The other providers are off by even more.

A real opportunity exists in building an ftp/http/webdav backup utility. Something like Apple’s .mac Backup application.

Or maybe an open source online storage front end that can run on any ISP’s Apache server. Host your own OmniDrive.

Easy Quimble Poll

I saw this new site for creating ajaxy polls so I thought I would give it a try.

Grand Funk Railroad Featured in BusinessWeek

Great, short article discussing the declining market for Rock & Roll and especially second- and third-tier rock bands. John Fine reminds how much the music industry has changed in thirty years:

  • Average Rolling Stone’s concert ticket in 2005 – $134
  • Buyers don’t listen to albums they prefere singles
  • New York and Philadelphia dont’ have any radio stations devoted to “modern Rock”

The article is free to read but you must register:

Rockers Keep Your Day Jobs