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Countdown to PDC2008: Rick Rashid, a Researcher’s Researcher

9 minutes, 51 seconds


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17 years in the same job?  Yep, Senior Vice President of Microsoft Research, Rick Rashid has been doing the same thing since the first day he joined the firm, and he’s still loving it.  Listen to Rick talk about all of the cool innovation coming out of MSR, and he foreshadows his PDC keynote warning audience members to be thoughtful about where they sit during his speech. Hmmm.  Whatever in the world could that possibly mean?  Who cares!  Mike’s got apple pie in this, his final PDC Hard Hat Challenge.  Bonne chance!


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  • For those who'd prefer to download the Hard Hat Challenge image, here you go.
  • Dale RossDaleRoss recursion
    I'm seeing some symmetry, but it could be all for "nought".  Just need that revelation now that will take me across the line.
  • Roger WilsonCaptain JiNX J i N X
    Hmm.. I just can't let this out of my mind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-shift_keying#.CF.80.2F4.E2.80.93QPSK
    Just let me know... Am I on the wrong track?
    This challenge was not easy! The winner should receive two shirts. Wink

    /JiNX - See you at PDC...

  • Dale RossDaleRoss recursion
    If you're on the right track then I should probably give up. I've generated images, stared at the output for a few hours in total,  NOTTED the output since he said all the clues we've given or NOT given you and I'm still yet to see anything.  Why did I not do a degree in Math Sad.

    One more night....It shall be revealed!  The positions of those zeros must mean something, it must!!!

    Quite a bit of the numbers are divisible by 3 as well. What does that mean to me? NOTHING Smiley

    If all goes well I'll be seeing you all too. I'm so excited.
  • Captain JiNX...sounds like you know exactly what you're doing. Smiley DaleRoss...JiNX won our sixth Hard Hat Challenge, and unfortunately, he can't win a second time, so you still have time. I'll hold off on the hints unless others would like a couple.

  • Hint, pleeeeease! I'm thinking about this so much it is starting to adversely affect my relationship! But not too many or too easy hints at once - just one small clue at a time!
  • Okay...here are two hints that should help:
    • The food we were served
    • And what we did
  • Dale RossDaleRoss recursion
    Ok I already applied what you did after performing a bitwise operation based on where I saw that | .  what you did was applied to each 8bit sequence.
    Based on Jinx's analysis I'm assuming what you ate "Pie" referred to the type of PSK Modulation that was Wiki'd.  I here trying to see if the type of "Pie" (apple) could be of any significance.  After trying to use a variation of the method wiki'd I came up with a new sequence of numbers that are ALL divisible by three.  Could just be a mathematical co-incidence that resulted from the operations performed but could it mean something? Anyhow I've divided by 3 and still nothing of significance.


    Good thing I'm single Smiley.
  • Dale RossDaleRoss recursion

    You choose a bit from here, you choose a bit from there,you choose a bit from here and you write code for hours. You do this hokey- pokey after you've turned the bits around. That's what it's all about!!!

    Off to bed! All the best to all those who are still on the quest.

  • "Good thing I'm single."

    DaleRoss...you have me laughing out loud at that comment. Smiley

    The other tip I'll give is that you don't have to be very good at math (at all) to figure this one out. You don't even need to own a computer. I'll be quiet now and let the brains work on it.
  • What's really throwing me at the moment is the idea that phase-shift keying is on the right track, but the puzzle does not require being good at math or having a computer.

    Representing digital information using sinusoidal waveforms seems to beg for math skills or a computer. Then again, we appear to have binary, so unless the answer is a waveform...

    Or, what we have is a digital sampling of a waveform...but that's still math.

    Clearly I've derailed somewhere.

  • Well... thanks Mike, but those two hints were fairly obvious in the video. Wink

    I'd already done all kinds of bit-shifting and bit-rotating operations I can think of (shift vs rotate, per octate vs. per the whole stream, right vs. left, 1-7 positions, etc), but nothing comprehensible comes out. However, the meaning of the pie I have not been able to figure out...

    Next clue please. Wink

    @DaleRoss - you won't be single for long - I hear that hard hat t-shirt is a real chick magnet... (maybe not).
  • Oh... you posted while I was typing. I'll contemplate...
  • Here's my next set of tips:

    • I said that Captain JiNX seemed to know what he's doing. But, you can easily solve this challenge without knowing anything mentioned in the article he linked to.
    • My wife Elizabeth, who is a computer user, but certainly not a developer, could probably solve this on paper, if she only looked up a single item.

    Hope tht helps!

  • Dale RossDaleRoss recursion
    "@DaleRoss - you won't be single for long - I hear that hard hat t-shirt is a real chick magnet... (maybe not)"


    That's assuming I'm able to crack the code and win the chick magnet. I got a chance to practise my newly obtained perl skills. I even generated a 20 X 6  bitmap in C# using the decimal values of each octet as the red component for each pixel. It was fun and who knows. Maybe on that long flight to LA tomorrow the answer will just pop into my head.

    Rotate one with an apple pie
    You don't need a PC, Just use your eye.
    If the bits are aligned, the answer you'll see.
    Somebody's gonna get it. I hope it's me.

  • Dale RossDaleRoss recursion
    For a challenge that appears to be so simple a Vice President could do it Smiley, I'm amazed it's still unsolved. I saw some braille symbols on an elevator that resembled some of what I saw when messing around but right now my brain needs rest.
  • AuxonRichard.Hein Read it: ​http://bitc​oin.​org/bitcoin.​pdf
    I think it's time for another clue!

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