Sunday, May 21, 2006

100,000 Hits Plus More

This blog has received 106,283 visits as of yesterday. Congratulations to all of the GF readers who regularly visited, commented on the posts, and developed a community around the game. Here is a summary of the Da Vinci Code Quest aftermath.

From H-sizzle: A video of the moving puzzle can be found here. Thanks for all of your contributions throughout the game.

From Michael: An animated version of the splotches solution can be found here. And, a link to all of the images of the Jigsaw challenge here and the chess challenge here.

From David: The restoration puzzle solver I mentioned earlier on my blog can be found at his blog House of Yang. David, your blog is great, if you want to work on a web 2.0 application with me, I have a few ideas, let me know.

From Jennifer, Audrea, and Others: Thanks so much for helping spread the word to vote 10 for Rex through myspace and email. Because of your help, rex now has over 1,000 votes just a couple thousand shy of becoming a cutest pet finalist. With only 10 days left he has a good chance of winning because of your willingness to help.

Update From Dan: Here is a video of Dan solving the final challenge in ~5 minutes, using macro recording and accelerated playback. You can find the video on his blog. And now you understand why posting the solutions to the final challenge on this blog gave all those who didn't have two accounts to use an honest shot at winning. Impressive work Dan!!

From the Rules: The quest officially ended, "The Final Puzzle Challenge must be completed by 1:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 21, 2006". For those of you with very quick times (sub 7 minutes) get ready to wait by the phone on Friday. From the official rules, "Final Phase: Grand Prize winner will be notified by phone between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. EDT on May 26, 2006, at the telephone number provided on his/her Official Contest Entry. "

Also From the Rules: "If the potential Grand Prize winner cannot be reached after a reasonable effort has been exerted (within three (3) phone call attempts for the Grand Prize winner), if he/she is found to be ineligible, and/or does not comply with these Official Rules, potential Grand Prize winner will be disqualified, and the participant with the next earliest time-stamp may be declared the potential Grand Prize winner."

Get all of the MSN Conspiracy Game Answers here


At 5/21/2006 2:44 PM, Blogger Dan Dascalescu said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5/21/2006 2:54 PM, Blogger Dan Dascalescu said...

I have also posted a video of solving the final challenge in ~5 minutes, using macro recording and accelerated playback. You can find the video on my blog,, along with some commentary about how I developed the 5-minute solution.

At 5/21/2006 9:54 PM, Blogger Rick Brown said...

Here are some facts you should all be aware of.

1. Google will detect mouse clicking macros. So anyone using one to cheat will be disqualified.

2. It will be a curse in disguise to win the final prize and here is why.

If you actually win, you have to pay taxes on the value of the prize. Which is valued at around 140K USD. At a tax rate of 40% that would mean you would owe 56K for the prizes. Now let's say you realized this and decide to sell the winnings. Orbitz, which provides the main prize valued at 97K is owned by the airlines, the prize is for 4 first class round trip tickets from a point in the US to points in Europe, however, the true value of the tickets is not 97K, its more like 12K for the US to London portion and another 10K for the rest of the legs. Bringing this total to 20K (approx). If you sold the tickets, no one in their right mind would pay you more than 20K in fact they would want to pay you less.

So now you are stuck with tickets worth about 20K that must be used within a years time that really have a value 1/5 of what they claim. Even more so, since the airlines own Orbitz, and Orbitz gets comped many free tickets, the airlines are not really losing out, they got lots of free publicity for this and you end up with tickets worth 20K that you had to pay 56K for.

Its bascially the same for the train tickets and hotel stay.

The laptop and other electronics you could sell, but again with the high rate of taxes, you are really forking over a lot to receive these prizes. It's the tickets that really bite you in the bum.

In short, the winner of this contest becomes a loser and a sucker and maybe gets a trip to Europe that in reality cost 56K. Enjoy the laptop and GPS because when you get home and find your bank account drained of your life savings, you will be really pissed off that you won in the first place.

At 5/21/2006 11:10 PM, Blogger RoninBlackmoore said...

That is hardcore...
yeah I couldn't afford any of that, maybe it's better I didnt win eh?


At 5/22/2006 6:05 AM, Blogger legaleagll said...

We've had this discussion elsewhere, but first you don't have to accept the tickets and as a result you would not be liable for any of the taxes on their value. You can decline all or any portion of a prize and thereby avoid all or a portion of the taxes that would otherwise be due. Second, just because an Estimated Retail Value of $140k is reported on a prize package, it doesn't mean you actually have to claim that amount. In accordance with IRS regulations the actual Fair Market Value of a prize always trumps an estimated value. The way you establish this is to find out what a first class trip to the particular location for four would cost someone in an arms length transaction on the open market. Save the records of what those tickets would cost and you only claim the actual FMV not the estimated value. Estimated values are typically grossly overinflated, mostly because the prize giver desires to hype the high value of their prize package. In any event, you will still be out quite a chunk of change for the taxes. I think the total prize package is closer to $40k in value, but that still hits you with $15k or so in taxes.

At 5/22/2006 8:23 AM, Blogger MidWestEnergyGuy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5/22/2006 9:55 AM, Blogger Michael Schnuerle said...

Does anyone have a link to the rules or the entire text of the rules? It seems like the link has been pulled. Wasn't is something like ?

At 5/22/2006 9:56 AM, Blogger Michael Schnuerle said...

Nevermind, I just found them. Duh.



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