Archive for May, 2006

The Da Vinci Code Quest Winner NOT Announced

May 31, 2006

Apparently the person at Google Blogoscoped that goes by the nickname FoneJone was talking about something else when he/she said that the winner of the Da Vinci Code quest on Google was announced. The winner is still unannounced as far as I can tell.

I’m starting to wonder if there is something crazy going on behind the scenes there at Google. I have the feeling that they made a mistake in the delivery of the final round, and here’s why. The puzzles in the final round were supposed to be random so people would have a difficult time benefiting from those who shared their solutions. But when people started sharing their solutions online, it quickly became apparent that each person received the same puzzle.

Why weren’t the puzzles random?

This was the url Google gave the finalists:

Why would Google append the puzzle=100 parameter? Maybe the above URL was used for testing and they forgot to remove that parameter before sending the email. Their solution was to just ignore the parameter and give everyone the same puzzles.

It’s hard to believe that Google would make a mistake like this. It’s more likely that Google wanted the puzzles to be the same for everyone so that no one could complain that his/her puzzle set was significantly more difficult than someone else’s.

Regardless of the randomlessness (:-D) . . .

The contest ended May 21st and the date of this post is May 31st. To me, it seems like ten days should be plenty of time to figure out who won. Then again, this was a 10,000-person race on the Internet. I don’t know if any Internet race of this magnitude has ever been conducted. Maybe Google was just using this contest as an experiment for something bigger and better. I have an idea of what this kind of data could be used for, and I’ll post about that later. Anyone else have any thoughts about this?

I guess we’ll find out who the winner was soon enough. I’ll post details of the winner here when I find out from Google or Sony.

Da Vinci Code Quest Winner Announced

May 26, 2006

According to FoneJone at a Google Blogoscoped thread, Jacob Millston of Georgetown, VA won the Da Vinci Code quest. I’ve been unable to find any other sources for this, but I don’t see why FoneJone would have have any incentive to mislead anyone.

Looking back on the final challenge, I really wish Google would have made the puzzle generation random. Oh well. Congratulations to the winner, and better luck to everybody next time Google decides to put on an Internet quest!

Da Vinci Code Quest on Google Is Over

May 22, 2006

The contest is over, and the winner will be notified this Friday.

The first twenty-four challenges were fun, but I’m a little disappointed in how the final challenge was given. The final challenge consisted of 5 puzzles. Before the final challenge started, I was certain that people would post screenshots of their puzzles after they were done, but I was under the impression that each person would receive a random puzzle. I thought that Google wanted to see what kinds of programs would be written to solve the puzzles algorithmically. But instead, the only randomness was in the fifth puzzle. The first four puzzles were the same for each person. I was right in assuming that people would post their solutions online, but since everyone received the same first four puzzles, the contest went from “Who can write the program that will solve the puzzles the fastest and who can enter the solutions fastest?” to “Who can use a program to pre-record themselves solving the problem and play back that recording the fastest?” After using the macro recording program, the rest of the challenge was solely in solving the fifth puzzles the fastest.

This guy did that and solved it in around 5 minutes. Without using macro software, I think I solved it in about that time. I guess we’ll see on Friday. I hope Google releases a list of people and their times. I would LOVE to see how I stacked up against the other 9,999 finalists.

Google Da Vinci Code Quest Begins!

May 19, 2006

It has begun! The Da Vinci Code Quest on Google is now underway. Good luck to all finalists! If you have any suggestions or tips, please don’t hesitate to post them here! 🙂

GWT Examples

May 17, 2006

I found an example that Google says displays every widget that the GWT has to offer. You can see it here. You can see a gallery of all of the widgets here.

I have the feeling that more and more pages are going to start looking Googly. 🙂

Java to AJAX Conversion with Google Web Toolkit

May 16, 2006

Google Blog just announced their release of Google Web Toolkit. This is incredible! 🙂 I have yet to try it out, but I will ASAP and post my findings here. Stay tuned for more. For now, let me just tell you that this is HUGE. (Sorry to say this, but it’s way bigger than Google Notebook!)

Google Da Vinci Code Quest Finalist

May 16, 2006

I’m one of the 10,000 finalists in the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google! I received my cryptex replica in the mail yesterday. It’s pretty heavy for being so small! To open it, you need to spell the word GRAIL. Apparently though, you can modify it somehow to customize the passcode. Several cryptexen (:-D) are being sold on eBay right now, and the going rate is right around $100. Being the Google fan that I am, I would never sell mine! Although that would help bring me closer to saving enough money to buy a new computer. 129 are currently being auctioned at eBay. One has a starting bid of $10,000. Craziness I tell ya!

Google Notebook is Live

May 16, 2006

Google Notebook is live, and kickin’. The interface is really sweet. More on this later. 🙂

Update To Fuzzy Clock Google Module

May 12, 2006

For those of you who like “quarter to six” or “ten ’til eight” or “twenty before one”, you can now customize that middle word. 🙂 If you don’t already have the module, you can get it here: Add to Google

As always, if you have any suggestions, send ’em my way! Just post a comment to any blog post.

Google Da Vinci Code Quest

May 11, 2006

I just received the following email from Google regarding the Da Vinci Code Contest:

Thank you for participating in “The Da Vinci Code” Quest on Google.

This email is to confirm that you have completed all 24 puzzles within the quest and
successfully registered for a chance to participate in the final challenge. Well

We will be contacting the 10,000 finalists on Monday 5/15 via
email regarding their cryptex shipment. Within that email the 10,000 finalists
will also receive instructions on how to participate in the final challenge.

All remaining players who finished the quest will also receive a
surprise message via email. Thank you all for participating in “The Da Vinci
Code” Quest on Google and making it such a success. We hope you enjoyed playing.

I dont’ think this means that I’m definitely one of the 10,000 finalists. I think I’ll find out on Monday. Has anyone else received any kind of confirmation beyond this email?