Friday, June 30, 2006

Wei-Hwa's Puzzle Challenge Number 6 by Google

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Puzzle June 30th, 2006:

Confounded Compounds: Each of these words is the synonym of a 4-letter word. Pair them up to create 8-letter words. For instance, if you saw "quotation" and "treatise", you could come up with textbook. Warning: These "compound" words are anything but textbook!
  • antiquated
  • genuine
  • blemish
  • harvest
  • chessman
  • inlet
  • chimney
  • innate
  • circlet
  • maiden
  • classify
  • municipality
  • completed
  • obligation
  • comprehend
  • oppugn
  • constraint
  • pinnacle
  • discomfort
  • placed
  • enthusiasm
  • platter
  • equitable
  • pome
  • fashion
  • remnant
  • fellow
  • spoken
  • forfeit
  • supplication
  • fulminate
  • unrestrained
When you think you have an 8-letter word, enter it here. If you're right, it will appear next to the appropriate pair.

Need help? Try dragging the words around to swap their positions. A correct pair will turn green, while a correctly-paired set in the wrong order will turn yellow.

Hints:
Use a Thesaurus or Dictionary.

Answers / Solutions:
Answers are usually (and will be) posted in the comments section.


Test your friends! Go to: http://solvepuzzles.googlepages.com
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Friday, June 23, 2006

Wei-Hwa's Puzzle Challenge Number 5 by Google

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Puzzle:
June 23rd, 2006: Three weeks ago I was playing in The Game. One particular challenge was a timed maze (written by Stanford students Rachel Weinstein and Frank Losasso) that we had to play on a dance pad. It took my team surprisingly long, probably because we hadn't slept for 20 hours and we had failed to notice an important rule...

Now, you can share a little bit of that experience. Start clicking and see if you can figure out the rules and solve the maze. When you win, you won't be able to reset the puzzle any more -- that's deliberate.

Hints:
Instructions are a little vague. Here are 3 to clarify the puzzle.

1. Only ten steps allowed to complete puzzle (11 is not accepted).
2. Map is an 8x8 grid. Plotting the map using hints below makes solving easier.
3. You start at (1, 1) or (1, A) with the end coordinate of (5, 5) or (5, E)
(See maze map below. I would have used coordinate (0, 0) but this is also for all non math people.)

Biggest hint to solve this puzzle (if you dont look at the code) is to plot the map based on your movements. Here is an example. x = confused person who needs to exit the maze, 1= valid movement, 0 = invalid movement, d = down, u = up, l = left, r = right, dl = down left, etc.

fig1: Start screen (left is game-pad, right is map plot)

We all start (1, 1) with the option of going 'down' or 'down-left' (game-pad). Plot the current possibilities on a map (map plot). We will move 'down' for this example.


fig2: 2nd Move (left is game-pad, right is map plot)

Relocate the 'person' to the new coordinate. Mark the old position as 1 (blue). Now that we have moved down, we are presented with three new options 'down', 'right', or 'up' on the game-pad. We know from fig 1 that there is a movable space on the left of the 'person' (yellow one). Since the current right (yellow zero) of the person was an invalid move in fig 1, there is only one way to draw the new map. New map is drawn using the green 1's/0's with 3 new possible movements (1's adjacent to the 'x'.

Update: Based on your selected movement, 'x' will face towards that direction. In the example above, since 'x' moved down, 'x' is now facing green 1. On the game pad, up = move forward to green 1 with options of moving right to yellow 1 and down to blue 1 (back to (1, 1))

Continue to build the map this way and rotate the map to let (1, 1) be the top left hand corner.

Colors do not get any more Google than that. :)

The Great Map of the Maze:


Answers / Solutions:
There are 2 solutions (10 moves).


Test your friends! Go to: http://solvepuzzles.googlepages.com
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hints for Wei-Hwa's Puzzle Challenge Puzzle 4 - Minesweeper

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I received a few emails for puzzle 4. Some are disappointed, some love it, and some are confused.

For all you confused people, especially 'symbol' and 'knight' variations, here is a link to help you sweep all those mines away.

http://solvepuzzles.googlepages.com/answers4

Love the minesweeper challenge? What to test your friends on 'symbol' and 'knight' variations?

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Google Minesweeper? Minesweeper and the "P=NP?".

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Have you heard of Google Minesweeper (The web app)?


Take note of the ads beside the screenshot. Mine sweeping by un.org. Ooooo. Of course this is not real (or is it, no its not, yes is it, no its not....)

Good at minesweeper?
World's First Global Minesweeper Competition. The Fastest, Best and Record Minesweeper Times.

Good at REAL mine sweeping?
A charity specializing in the removal of the debris of war.

Minesweeper and mathematics:
I have been reading a few interesting topics on minesweeper, here are links that focus on minesweeper and the "P=NP?".

Clay Mathematics Institute: Ian Stewart on Minesweeper
Richard Kaye's Minesweeper Pages
Richard Kaye's Minesweeper Pages FAQ

To think that minesweeper was just a bundled windows game that reduced office productivity. They even have a webring (Ah, the 90's).

Ok, what is next on Wei-Hwa's puzzle challenge?
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Friday, June 16, 2006

Wei-Hwa's Puzzle Challenge Number 4 by Google

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Puzzle 4 is the classic mineswee... WHAT?! ... Ok, the twist is to find out the rules to the variants. Anybody? This is beyond me so never let me lead you through a minefield.

Solve Current Puzzle at: http://solvepuzzles.googlepages.com

Updates:
If you want to solve Old puzzles, visit:

If you want answers to All puzzles (New/Old), visit:
Puzzle:
June 15th, 2006: It's hard not to be tempted by parody. It will probably be a while until we can actually get online collaboration, but I was able to come up with some interesting variants of Minesweeper. You can try them out (as well as the standard game) this week:

Your puzzle, of course, is to figure out what the rules to the variants are. Shouldn't be too hard, although there are quite a few secrets to discover! If you'd like to have my Minesweeper game for longer than one week, please add my Minesweeper Gadget by clicking on this link -- I'll be adding new enhancements and variants as time allows.

Hints:
Read about Minesweeper (invented by Robert Donner in 1989) at: Wikipedia

If you are new to minesweeper: Google for "minesweeper tips"
If you are an advance player and need a new challenge, try 3D minesweeper:

Answers / Solutions:
Answers are usually (and will be) posted in the comments section. If you want to share your answers, you can send me a screenshot by email/url of your proud achievement. I have a new link that will archive all the puzzles and answers at this link.

Test your friends! Go to: http://solvepuzzles.googlepages.com
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Thursday, June 15, 2006

JavaScript Solver for Puzzle 3

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I received an email from George at justwidgets.com who features a web page that solves Wei-Hwa’s puzzle 3 using JavaScript. It would be great if someone creates a ‘Distance’ puzzle solver that allows users to enter his or her own matrix and numbers. Do I hear summer (winter for you people south of the equator) time project?

Visit the solver here: http://www.justwidgets.com/puz03_release01.html

Looks like I have inspired my readers to solve Wei-Hwa’s puzzles using code. :-) Puzzle 4 should be out tomorrow. (Unless he is busy preparing for the Google US Puzzle Championship)
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Problems with Wei-Hwa's Puzzle Challenges

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Update: It was fixed yesterday afternoon (2006-06-13). Back to puzzle solving.

The puzzle is down. You can see the puzzle but the images will not render (except that photo of Wei-Hwa himself). If you view an image from the puzzle, you will get this error.

It is hosted on Google Pages and looks like the bandwidth exceeded. I did make a comment on the size of pictures for puzzle 1.
Note to Wei-Hwa, friends/colleagues of his if you are reading this:

The 4 numbers and 3 symbols are represented by 7 different image files with a total 250 Kb (it could have been done with 2 image files). This makes loading the page really slow!
And yes everybody, I am not Wei-Hwa. So stop sending his love letters/marriage proposals to me. Send them to weihwa.feedback@gmail dot com.

You will have to solve the puzzle manually or use code. Here is the link to the puzzle picture.
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Answer to Wei-Hwa's Puzzle Challenge 3 using PERL Code

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I received two sets of PERL code for puzzle 3. I am putting one on hold because he used a 4x4 matrix instead of a 5x5. I think it is a great way for all you computer science students/professionals to build up on those coding skills. As long as the puzzles can be logically solved / decoded / decrypted / calculated / mathematically represented (Don’t expect a computer to watch a video and count the amount of books in one segment of the video. At least not yet), you should be able to solve these puzzles using code.

Code by Adam B: p3-adamb.pl
Gives you a nice matrix. If you want to contact the author, you can get his email address from me.

Code in C by DavidB: PuzzlingAddiction

Keep up the good work! Love all that code. Puzzles 101 Part 3 will be up before the next puzzle.
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Monday, June 12, 2006

Google US Puzzle Championship - June 17, 2006

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Wei-Hwa’s Puzzle Challenges easy? Have a talent for solving puzzles? You (or a person you know) should enter the Google US Puzzle Championship. Closing date for registration is June 15, 2006. So hurry!


For more information, go to:

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Wei-Hwa's Puzzle Challenge Number 3 by Google

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As a reminder, if you want your friends who do not have Google accounts to play (or want a faster loading page) , go to:


Puzzle:
June 9th, 2006: The Google US Puzzle Championship is next Saturday, June 16th. It's used to select the US Puzzle Team, but puzzle-lovers of all sorts should find something interesting in the puzzles. Let's have a big "G" (for Google):

Here's a puzzle based on Erich Friedman's "Distance," from the 2003 Google U.S. Puzzle Championship. Label 14 of the circles above with different numbers from 1 to 14, such that the distance between 1 and 2 is less than the distance between 2 and 3, and so on. Four circles should remain empty.

If the "±" sign is selected, you can click on the top part of a circle to increase it and click on the bottom to decrease it. Or, select a number in the palette and click on a circle to fill that number into the circle. Deselect the active selection to create a blank. You win if all the "distances" to the right turn green.

Hints:
Answers / Solutions:
Answers are usually (and will be) posted in the comments section. If you want to share your answers, you can send me a screenshot by email/url of your proud achievement. Last one is a rotten egg.

Here are solutions by two smart puzzle sovlers (same answers)
Test your friends! Go to:

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World Cup 2006 Hack: Live Streaming Audio outside the UK

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For all you world cup fans with no access to the TV (or at work) and want live streaming audio, here is a simple hack. BBC is providing live streaming audio for UK only IP Addresses. Here are steps to get around that restriction.

How To Get Live Streaming World Cup 2006 Audio:
Set your browser to browse using a proxy server located in the UK (Get your own. Don't take down my server.) :-)

Firefox: (Download using the link at puzzle page)
  • Menu > Tools > Options
  • Under the General Tab > Connection > "Connection Settings..."
  • Under the "Configure Proxies to Access the Internet" container > Select "Manual proxy configuration" (Red)
  • Enter a HTTP Proxy Server and Port
  • Verify that you have a network connection using the proxy server.
  • Connect to BBC radio Five Live
  • Select a game and you should get live streaming audio
Request => Internet Explorer: (43% of visitors, Firefox = 41%)
  • Menu > Tools > Internet Options
  • Select the "Connections" Tab on the top tab bar
  • Under the "Local Area Network (LAN) settings" container > Click on "LAN Settings"
  • Under the "Proxy Server" container > Check "Use a proxy server for you..." (Red)
  • Enter a HTTP Proxy Server and Port
  • Verify that you have a network connection using the proxy server.
  • Connect to BBC radio Five Live
  • Select a game and you should get live streaming audio
Enjoy!

To all you international visitors (about 7%), I understand if you did not participate in the last puzzle. It requires you to be somewhat fluent in English. Lets hope the puzzles are more generic and everyone can participate. :-).

Goooaalll. Germany! 2-1. Das ist gut.
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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Puzzles 101 Part 2: Anagram

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Topic: Anagram [Definition]

"An anagram (Greek ana- = "back" or "again", and graphein = "to write") is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce other words, using all the original letters exactly once... "
Excerpt from Wikipedia. Read the full article at wikipedia1.

Examples:
- Eleven plus two = Twelve plus one
- Dormitory = Dirty room
- Debit card = Bad credit

More great anagrams at:
Get a list of anagrams at wikipedia1

Homework:
Can anyone come up with a good anagram that involves the word google?

Extra:
I stumbled upon GoogleFact, another great Blog that is covering Wei-Hwa's puzzle challenges and more. GoogleFact also pointed me to MSN's puzzle challenge called the "The Conspiracy Game". Read about it at GoogleFact.

Next puzzle should be this Friday.

vjbaqrevsjrvujnernqfguvfoybt. qbrfnalbarjnaggbuverncebqhpgznantre
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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Answers to Wei-Hwa's Puzzle Challenge 2 using PERL Code

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There was a cryptography documentary on breaking the WW2 Enigma Code and I joked about solving puzzle 2 with code. I went snooping into the puzzle code only to find out that the answers were embedded into the code (I did some AJAX projects mid last year and realized that the answers were not pulled from a remote server). AHA! I turned puzzle 2 into a puzzle and set out solving this simple encryption using PERL. In about 2 minutes, I figured out how to answer puzzle 2 using PERL code (Using my knowledge of T9 text prediction). :)

Decryption How-To:
After looking at the code, here is the ALL IMPORTANT! Decryption key map (Sorry, do not know the correct definition - pair wise?):

Decryption Key Map (DKM):
Decrypted: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
Encrypted: nopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklm
Note: a is n - n is a, b is o - o is b, c is p - p is c, etc.

Wei-Hwa's Code (Find under following comments in his code:
Clean other symbols: // We filter out any input that isn't a letter.
Decryption map: // build a map. (Not very efficient to do this every time, but what the heck.)
Answers: // should probably be a map, but I'm lazy.
Answer List:
  • qnhtugreynhtugre
  • srpnyqrpny
  • sernxoernx
  • travnyqravny
  • trahfzrahf
  • tebffpebff
  • yntrejntre
  • arhgreferhgref
  • cbfgntrubfgntr
  • ubfgntrcbfgntr
  • gbhpurfqbhpurf
  • ivfpbhagqvfpbhag
  • lbhatreybhatre

PERL CODE (Only 3 lines! Actually 2 lines if I did not care about lower case.): (Download code: puzzle2decrypt.pl)

my ( $encryptedWord ) = lc( $decryptedAnswer );
$encryptedWord =~ tr/a-z/nopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklm/;
print "Decrypted Answer: $encryptedWord\n\n";
#Anyone want to fix this regex for me? How do you represent n-z and a-m in one line?


Execute Code: (Separate encrypted answers with space)
$ perl puzzle2decrypt.pl qnhtugreynhtugre srpnyqrpny sernxoernx travnyqravny trahfzrahf tebffpebff yntrejntre arhgreferhgref cbfgntrubfgntr ubfgntrcbfgntr gbhpurfqbhpurf ivfpbhagqvfpbhag lbhatreybhatre

Output:
You entered 13 encrypted answer(s) to decrypt.

Encrypted Answer: qnhtugreynhtugre
Decrypted Answer: daughterlaughter

Encrypted Answer: srpnyqrpny
Decrypted Answer: fecaldecal

Encrypted Answer: sernxoernx
Decrypted Answer: freakbreak

Encrypted Answer: travnyqravny
Decrypted Answer: genialdenial

Encrypted Answer: trahfzrahf
Decrypted Answer: genusmenus

Encrypted Answer: tebffpebff
Decrypted Answer: grosscross

Encrypted Answer: yntrejntre
Decrypted Answer: lagerwager

Encrypted Answer: arhgreferhgref
Decrypted Answer: neutersreuters

Encrypted Answer: cbfgntrubfgntr
Decrypted Answer: postagehostage

Encrypted Answer: ubfgntrcbfgntr
Decrypted Answer: hostagepostage

Encrypted Answer: gbhpurfqbhpurf
Decrypted Answer: touchesdouches

Encrypted Answer: ivfpbhagqvfpbhag
Decrypted Answer: viscountdiscount

Encrypted Answer: lbhatreybhatre
Decrypted Answer: youngerlounger

Cool! Must be the Mountain View air. Contact me if you have any questions.

vjbaqrevsjrvujnernqfguvfoybt. qbrfnalbarjnaggbuverncebqhpgznantre

Come back for my puzzles 101 series tomorrow. :)
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Monday, June 05, 2006

Out of Topic Post - Google Spreadsheets

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For those of you who crunch numbers everyday and would like to look into internet spreadsheet collaboration.






Sign up here (Quick! Before they run out):

Sign Up for Limited Test

More Info at:
Inside Google Blog
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Tab your Google Personalize Homepage - Beta

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Last week, I posted "Improving your Personalized Homepage" with a request to have a tabbed page module. Presto! After a discussion in the Google forums with the module creator, we have a beta tab module (Within 5 days!). Since this is in beta, use at own risk.

Theory Behind Module:
All modules are loaded and managed within columns. Based on this fact, you can manipulate the modules to be visible/hidden within each column (display:none; for all you CSS gurus). Since there is no access to the backend of Google Personalized Homepages, the loading time will increase if you have lots of modules because all modules are loaded regardless of tabs.

Note: The module is undergoing lots of changes based on feedback. Screenshots might not reflect the current version of the module.

Adding the Module:
Fig 1. Tab Module/Tab Bar

When you add the tab module, a tab bar will appear between your search buttons and modules. (Fig. 1 - Circled in Red).

Add to Google
(Tab Module)

Adding a Tab:
Click “New Tab”. I added a tab called Knowledge (Fig. 1) and the first tab is All (Default: All Modules <= Must have at all times).

Moving modules between tabs:

Fig 2. Moving modules between tabs.

This is a little tricky because there is no feedback when moving modules.
Click “Show Setup” > Click “T” on the title bar to select the module (Fig. 2 - Circled in Red) > Click the desired Tab name (Fig. 2 - Circled in Blue). Module should disappear. Done!

Fig 3. Clicking the "Knowledge" Tab

To verify, click on the tab name and the module(s) should be there (Fig. 3).

Deleting/Renaming a tab:
Click “Show Setup” and options will appear below the tab.

Remember, this is still in beta and I have found a few bugs (nothing major yet) when deleting tabs. To send feedback, go to this forum post or email me (I will email Matt, module creator).

Stay tuned for 'Puzzles 101' part 2!

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Wei-Hwa's Puzzle Challenge Number 2 by Google

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We have puzzle 2! (Warning! Comments have answers.) I changed the puzzle group to a more popular group. For all of you who want to participate but do not have (or do not want) a Google account (Common people, Infinity plus one storage space!), go to:

http://solvepuzzles.googlepages.com/

Have fun solving the Why Me Rhymes.

Puzzle:

June 2nd, 2006: If a tree falls in the woods because of a wound, then what little object will not hear the sound?

A Why Me Rhyme is a pair of words that look like they should rhyme (after all, only their first letter is different), but don't really. For example, depending on the colorist, Etrigan could be considered a lemon demon. See if you can figure out these twelve Why Me Rhymes from their descriptions:

  • What is heard when your little girl is having fun - D L

  • A disgustingly dirty sticker - F D

  • A siesta for weirdos - F B

  • A friendly rejection - G D

  • Lists of all sorts of animals to be eaten - G M

  • An unrefined crucifix - G C

  • A type of bar bet, maybe? - L W

  • Makes a news agency irrelevant - N R

  • Stamps that someone refuses to return - H P

  • Makes contact with feminine hygiene products - T D

  • A price reduction given only to certain noblemen - V D

  • Newer style of patio furniture - Y L

Hints: All answers have 2 words. Hints are shown above (red) as the first character of each word

Answers: I have the answers (Email me if you want the answers). Since users are posting the answers in the comment page, I will leave it there instead of posting it on a seperate website.

Thanks to Joanna (Solved the puzzle in record time!), littlepigletta, Josh, and other anonymous puzzle solvers.

Hidden Answer:
The answer is hidden after the first question. Highlight the question and you will see the answer.

If a tree falls in the woods because of a wound, then what little object will not hear the sound?

Answer: a deaf leaf


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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Learning Puzzles Part 1

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While we wait for Wei-Hwa’s next puzzle, I decided to run a series on Puzzles using Wikipedia as a guide. This is targeted at puzzle newbies and will cover topics on puzzles (including famous people).

Topic: Acrostic [Definition]


"An acrostic is a poem or other text written in an alphabetic script, in which the first letter, syllable or word of each verse, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out another message…"
Excerpt from Wikipedia. Read the full article at wikipedia1.

Example: (Improvised!)
COMA
- Click on my Links, do not delay
- On this great and wonderful day
- My puzzle blog will show you the way
- Ads by AdSense, I added in May

Note: Had to take the sentence out. :-). There is a hidden sentence in this acrostic.

Disclaimer: I AM not allowed (decided to obey the law) to use the acrostic before this because it violated AdSense Policies (under incentives). Having said that, this is still an EXAMPLE. :-)

Homework:
Can anyone come up with a good acrostic for the word google?
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