Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CFATS Knowledge Center Update 08-24-11

Today the folks at ISCD provided a notice in the ‘Latest News’ section of the CFATS Knowledge Center web site that they had revised the response to FAQ # 1557. That Frequently Asked Question reads:

“What should I do if I think my facility was incorrectly determined to be high-risk or received an incorrect preliminary risk-based tier determination?”

Typing '1557' into the search box at the top of the page will take you to the FAQ with the link to the complete answer. There is no real change in the meat of the discussion, but there have been some changes made to the procedural details.

New ISCD Director

As I noted in a blog post earlier this month, there is a new ISCD Directory, Penny J. Anderson. Since the Director is the point of contact for initiating Requests for Redetermination or Requests for Consultation, her appointment necessitated changing the POC information in the response to this FAQ.

In addition, ISCD has provided two additional methods for contacting Ms. Anderson. Where the previous Director had only accepted requests via mail, Ms. Anderson is accepting them by email (through the CSAT Help Desk email address, and by FAX (866-731-2728). Presumably both of these new communications methods will get to her more quickly than via the US Mail.

It is interesting to note, however, that the same multiple communications methods are not mentioned in connection with requesting an extension of a CFATS deadline. The next to last paragraph of this FAQ response still notes that such requests should be mailed to Ms. Anderson; no alternatives (email or FAX) are mentioned. I think that it was an odd oversight, particularly since a request for deadline extension is more time sensitive.

CAPTCHA Replacement

I noticed another interesting change when I was reviewing this FAQ. Down at the bottom of the page is the ‘User Feedback’ section; it was added to the FAQ when ISCD adopted the new CFATS Knowledge Center format. Below the text entry block where we have become used to seeing the CAPTCHA box (you know the twisted letters that you are asked to read and type in to verify that it is a person not a computer program responding) there is a new variation. Instead of reading the scrambled letters you are now asked to enter the ‘opposite’ of the word listed; they are calling this a ‘text challenge’. The one I’m looking at now is the word ‘IN’ and the appropriate response (presumably) would be ‘OUT’.

I had heard that someone had figured out how to get a computer to read the CAPTCHA letters (that was inevitable), but this is the first truly new person response checker that I have seen. This won’t take too long to get around; there is a relatively short list of terms that have unambiguous opposites. If they start using more ambiguous terms to get around the ‘read – lookup – respond’ capabilities of computers, they are going to start eliminating some literacy challenged individuals.

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