The Secret of the Cryptex


Finally my cryptex arrived today. It's a nice gift from Google and Sony Pictures. Do you notice that mine is slightly different from yours? Mine is fully functional because it uses five dials. Why? Because I "fireworked" the photo :-) Sorry for kidding you but the photo shows a way to make the cryptex fully functional. It only needs some metal work. Furthermore, you can reset the code that opens the cryptex. Steven has a good tutorial about it. So if you add three additional teeth and reset the code, you will have a real cryptex.


The Fallacy of the Da Vinci Code Quest Game (or Why did You Fail?)

I commented on Google's Da Vinci Code Quest game the other day and said that the design of the game was flawed.I still think so although now I am among the finalists. Since we're free before the final phrase starts, let's talk more about the first phrase of the game.

Axiom 1: A good game tests players' ability and singles out finalists accordingly.

Proposition 1: Google's Da Vinci Code Quest game is not a good game because at most it only tests the ability of players from a subset of the whole population.

Proof: Suppose players have two types, either high ability (H), or low ability (L) (Alternatively one may assume the ability of players has certain distribution over the whole population but here I just want to keep it simple so I use binomial dist.). H players can solve the puzzles quickly while L slowly. Moreover, since most of players are not totally free everyday, let's suppose that the number of players starting to solve the puzzles over time follows a certain distribution F (Normally it could be a Poisson one but generally there is no need to specify it). Or in simple words, some players will start playing the game earlier than the others. Then H players have a dominant strategy that is to solve the puzzle quickly and then reveal the solutions publicly via INTERNET. In this way, they can "kick out" other H players who have to start playing later by bringing in enough L players who just got the solutions via INTERNET. As a result, the small portion of H players can increase the possibility of winning finally because those L finalists are less competitive. Since all H players have such incentives and it's very easy to disseminate information quickly and effectively via Internet, the game can only tests the ability of players from a small subset of the whole population. Therefore, it is not a good game. □

Empirical Evidence: Everyday the solutions of the puzzle are revealed in the Internet 3-5 minutes after the game started. This is also true for the last and most important puzzle. The solution was revealed 4 minutes after the game started. That's why even one submitted his/her answers at 10:07 but still wasn't a finalist.

Comments: Who should be blamed for the stupid game? Not those H players but the designers of the game. The worst and most stupid thing they did is to choose an observation puzzle as the final one because it has a unique solution!

However, we know that Google and Sony Pictures are not stupid but fairly smart. Therefore, they may just have a different axiom for a good game. For them, a good game may be the one that __________________. You can fill it :-)


Google 推出Notebook:非常方便的研究工具!

今天Google又新出了不少有趣的小东西,譬如Ajax Tool Kit更多语言支持的Gtalk(包括简体中文)等,但是最有用的还是这个Google的Notebook,它是一个非常方便的辅助工具,我在Firefox下试用了Notebook,挺好用的,安装Firefox的Notebook插件后,可以方便用右键将网页上有用的东西直接拷贝储存到Google提供的 Notebook上去,方便以后集中查阅。记得以前Maxthon上好像也提供了一个类似的插件,但是是需要收费的,并且clip的内容是存在本地而不是网络上的,远远不如Google的Notebook方便。在Notebook界面下,Google也提供了类似于Gmail的管理方式,可以方便的新建Notebook以及整理Notebook,并添加评注,绝对是我等 Poor,Hysteric and Desperate Student的好帮手。呵呵,其实现在Google的产品已经是一套的完整的网络办公软件了。在USB闪盘中装一个Portable Firefox ,相当于随时把自己的科研装备带在身边:)



I didn't get the cryptex today though many players have reported that they got one mailed from California. However, I just got an email from Sony Pictures saying that I am among the 10,000 finalists of the Da Vinci Code Quest game. Many other players also got this email. So finally we know the results. I am very happy that I can enjoy the next round of the quest :-) The following is a screen shot of the email:


By the way, the email says:"As for your previous accomplishments, your skill and perseverance will be rewarded with a limited edition replica cryptex arriving in your mailbox in the coming days." It seems that I am still very likely to get the cryptex. Maybe it is just on the way and the USPS guys in Illinois are rather slow. At least, no one from Illinois reported that they got the cryptex. Hope I can get it tomorrow :-)


All the confirmation emails were sent out. If one completed all the 24 puzzles but were not among the 10,000 finalists, an email titled NOT A FINALIST - The Da Vinci Code Quest on Google will be received.


The Cryptex SENT OUT!

Up to now, for the Da Vinci Code Quest game, no confirmation email of the finalist was sent out by Google or Sony Pictures. However, to everyone's surprise, the CRYPTEX is being sent out. Several players have already got it, ranging from Florida to Ohio to Montana. The package was mailed via USPS mail from Burbank, California. Since there are 10,000 finalists, some of them may get the cryptex a bit later. So just be patient and wait for the good news!

jayshree's photo

states where players reported that they got the cryptex:

  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • Montana
  • Virginia
  • New York
  • California
  • Michigan
  • Connecticut
  • Pennsylvania
  • Alabama
  • New York
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • Washington

Here are more views of the cryptex and the message inside: cryptex,cryptex,message,box, cryptex and message.

And the message inside says:


you have proven worth of the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google, visit to see if your journey continues.

A debate is going on regarding what this cryptex means. One side believes that this cryptex indicates the status as a finalist. Google just changed the rule of the game without notifying the community of players. The other side believes that the cryptex is the "surprise" mentioned in the email sent out by Sony Pictures last Friday. That is to say, those who received the cryptex are not finalists but guys who completed the quest and thus are rewarded a gift.

Nobody knows which side is right. But it seems that the cryptex is not like the one mentioned in the Official Rules. Moreover, Google haven't sent out any email yet.


The Finalist Confirmation Email was sent out!


Updated Information about the Da Vinci Code Quest of Google



First of all, although the rules state that it officially ended today at 1 pm EST, the game actually ended much earlier. Some friends of mine got the following screen after they completed the game before 1 pm EST today. Maybe there are just too many players.


Second, if you successfuly registered after you completed the game, now in your Google personalized home page, you will get the following message:


Furthermore, if you successfully registed, please check this page. You will get the following message: ( Please look at the url, it says: final_puzzle_too_early.html )


If you didn't register successfully, you will only get a message saying:

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

We're sorry, but in order to compete in the Final Challenge you must have completed the previous 24 puzzles correctly and registered prior to 1pm (EST) on May 11th.

The Da Vinci Code is in theaters worldwide May 19th.

Let's continue to wait and see what will happen :-)


Update1: Google sent out the following email around 8:40 pm (central time) today:

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 done!

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.

The Da Vinci Code In Theaters 5/19


You are receiving this email as part of your participation in THE DA VINCI CODE QUEST ON GOOGLE.

This newsletter may contain links to, or advertisements concerning, various Web sites. Other sites may also reference, advertise, or link to Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) Web sites. SPE is not responsible for the privacy practices or content of other sites and encourages you to read the privacy policy statement and terms of service of any site that you visit. To learn how we handle your personal information, read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service statements.

Privacy Policy:

Terms of Service:

Copyright 2006 Sony Pictures Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.
Sony Pictures Webmaster C/O Sony Pictures Digital
9050 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232-2518



Google的《达芬奇密码》游戏 : What to Do after the 24-day Quest?

So all of us finished the 24 puzzles. By and large, the puzzles didn't test your knowledge or intelligence but your time and patience. For today's puzzle, you have to get up before 12 pm if you're at Midwest. It's really painful for me because I usually go to bed very late. ( I guess all the doctoral students throughout the country have to stay up late. At least all my classmates do so.) Anyway, I managed to get up at 11:00 am thanking for a FedEx guy who delivered a parcel for me. Then I sat before the computer and waited for today's puzzle. It was boring to wait so I finished reading two papers on Cheap-Talk games. And then the quest started and was solved. So what to do next?

First, if you answered the last puzzle, you will be directed to page where you need to enter your Google ID. And then you need to submit your information such as email address, name, mailing address and so on. After submitting the information, you will see the screen below:


If you see the above screen, that means you're done for today. Then the next thing is to wait.

According to the rule of the game, the quest will end tomorrow at 1:00 pm EST. After that, they will find the first 10,000 people who completed the quest. Email notification for the finalist will be sent out by May 15, 2006. And then, "Finalists will be mailed via U.S. postal service, for scheduled delivery by May 18, 2006, a limited edition Cryptex replica and a screen shot of 4 codes (the "Finalist Prize"). One of the included codes will open the Cryptex. Inside will be a scroll with instructions on how to access the Final Puzzle Challenge online. Prior to May 18, 2006, Finalists will also be e-mailed instructions at the email address provided by each Finalist on his/her Official Contest Entry on how to access the Final Puzzle Challenge."

Let's wait and see :-)


Google的《达芬奇密码》游戏 (24之24): The Final One


  1. 2
  2. so dark the con of man
  3. madonna of the rocks

最后两道题在书上反复出现过,第一道题出得有些傻。呵呵,我用了一分半钟解答了这些问题,并在游戏开始的前3分钟内提交了最后的注册表格,不知道能不能拿到那个可爱的密码罐子,期待ing。好了,24天的游戏结束了,希望有个happy end:)


Google的《达芬奇密码》游戏 (24之23)

今天的游戏是地理,看来Google 真的把观察游戏放在最后压轴(呵呵,其实今天的才是压轴戏),因为观察游戏相比而言是最难的。今天的拼图,其实根据以前出现的拼图很容易就可以猜出来是那里,我们已经做过纽约、罗马和伦敦,那么这个肯定是Paris了,事实上也是。然后需要找出九个Cinquefoil,这个也挺明显,然后连接这个九个Cinquefoil就会出现一个Chalice,问题是问的是 0,1,4,9... ...这个数列的名称是什么,呵呵,不知道为什么会问这么个问题,这就是一个平方数列,所以今天的很容易就可以通过了。只有明天最后一天的题目了,拭目以待:)


Drupal 的 Adsense 模块

Google Adsense呵呵,很早以前因为觉得Google Adsense无用,所以移除了Blog里的Google Adsense。但是前阵子大家一起在Drupal China讨论搞个Theme设计竞赛,提到经费的问题,所以今天又把以前的Google Adsense翻了出来。因为忘记了当时申请Adsense 时的Email地址,所以费了些功夫才重新在这里以及Drupla China设置好Adsense,总的来说只是想做一个测试,看看现在Adsense的效果究竟如何,如果还不错的话,等大米从国内回来以后,专门为Drupal China申请一个Adsense,可以抵消一部分网站的开支。我这儿的刚刚安装好,已经有了一个click,回报居然是 $1.44,有些ft,难道几日不见,Google的Adsense变得这么的慷慨了?或者只是一个例外,呵呵。

闲话少说,主要在这里介绍一下Drupal的Adsense模块。这个模块刚刚推出了4.7的版本,有不少比较实用的功能。上穿并启动这个模块,然后在管理->设置->adsense中可以配置这个模块。Required Parameter只有一项,是Google Adsense的Client ID,注意这个模块目前只支持 Adsense for Content,所以这里填入你的Adsense for Content即可;然后General Parameter中填入Adsense的显示控制,这个与Drupal block的显示控制一样,可以定义在那些页面上显示Adsense;再然后是Ad Type and Colors,你可以设置一组的Adsense的显示颜色以及类型(譬如文字或是图片);接下来是Custom Channels,可以定义Adsense的Channel;再下来是一个Revenue Sharing Option,如果是Group blog,可以方便的share revenue,只需在这里设置Percentage of node views going to author 以及 Percentage of node views going to user who referred the author 就可以自动在用户中分配Adsense的展示次数;最后是Advanced Options,选项包括停止Adsense,如果不显示Adsense时是否摆放Place Holder,一个页面上最多可以显示几个Adsense广告,以及是否启动Adsense的tag (这个下面会讲到)。

使用这个模块非常方便,只需要在想插入adsense广告的地方使用adsense_display()函数即可。这个函数有三个参数,第一个参数定义adsense的format(譬如120x600),如果不定义,默认值是 160x160,第二参数定义adsense的group,就是我们上面设置过的Ad Type and Color;第三个参数设置Channle,所以只要使用类似下列的语法就可以方便的插入Adsense:

你可以在新建block插入这个函数,也可以修改你的PHPTemplate,直接包括这个函数。除此以外,你还可以在写blog的时候利用便捷的tag直接插入Adsense,语法是这样的:[adsense:format:group:channel] 。譬如 [adsense:160x160:1:1],下面是一个实际的例子:


另外也可以使用flexiblock控制Adsense。除此以外,按照Adsense模块的默认设置,以网站的管理员身份login 浏览网站时Adsense是不会显示的(Adsense的位置会出现一个place holder,当然可以控制不显示这个holder),这主要是为了避免无意中违反Google的Adsense 政策(譬如无效展示与无效点击)等。