The making of Treasure Hunt


20 Teams register. Some calculations showed we’ll be able to manage 15 of them. Elimination Round was all we needed to filter the teams out. First Day of Treasure Hunt and huge response! People were really excited about the first of it’s kind activity being held at the college. On stake were one thousand bucks.

What kind of questions for the Elimination Round of a ‘Treasure Hunt’ thats supposed to be a ‘IT (Information Technology) Event’? Some of my previous experience, got me to put anagrams on the quiz sheet. The dictionary defines the anagrams as a word or phrase formed by reordering the letters of another word or phrase, such as satin to stain. That’s got something to do with cryptography. One reason the event was being organized by the IT Cell and was deemed a “Technical Treasure Hunt”.

Looking for more information on cryptography? Here wikipedia has lot’s of it.

Everything goes fine. People just love solving the anagrams, and the list cuts to just 15 teams.

But here we have the Challenge # 1. Finalizing a date for the finals. No classes can be cancelled, and people won’t like to stay for too long after 4. What do we do? More over there are Lab Viva’s and tests in between. Then there is the Second Test that’s coming up. But finally we get a date. One day 2 hours. Shouldn’t that be enough. Wait I didn’t tell you what  exactly had to be done?

The contestants have to decode clues. Clues that point to a location in the campus. Reach that location and answer another question and also complete a task. An IT Task. Yes, something like programming.

That brings me to Challenge #2. Since this event was being organized by the IT Cell, it had to be related to IT. Rs. 1000 won’t come easy.  Preparing the C questions was actually not a challenge. But  convincing people was. But thanks to the co-operative friends, there were no revolts on the inclusion of the easy programs.

Seemed all set. The clues were ready a month before. The treasure hunt team held several meetings and brainstorming sessions of how we could prevent people using unfair means. How could the system be fool-proof. But how were we going to communicate the clues? We thought that we’d SMS the clues. SMS the clues through mobile phones? No. Through the internet ( Sounded cool.  Messages being sent through internet, and received on the phone. People had to communicate with us, through the mobile phone.  All ready for the final day…

Managing the Teams. Challenge #3. As I just mentioned, all just “seemed” perfect. Did you think 15 teams was too much for a small campus? If yes, you were right. These 15 teams weren’t the school teams I had seen and organized events with at computer symposiums. These were a team of first year college students. Let me tell you these were actually 15*2 = 30 people in all. Okay now picture this. 30 people , right before me, “excited and enthusiastic”. An un-explainable situation.  The Treasure hunt was being organized really professionally. We had the control room. The computer room actually, which was locked for the participants.

System Failure. Challenge #4. Cool ideas are cool enough only when they work. The much talked about messaging system failed just at the right time. How do we send the messages now? No problems, we had people with message packs on some qwerty keyboard phones. So now the mobiles took over. By the time we couldn’t even message everybody,  we started getting replies. Replies giving answers, asking for hints. And there were people constantly banging at the door who hadn’t yet received the message! We had the message packs and so did the participants. So these were not single messages from a team, it was multiple messages.

Tension Inside. Fun Outside. Challenge #5. As all this happened, we were falling short of time. As things were going out of control inside the control room, everybody started to panic. So we decided to call the teams one by one inside our secretive room  to give clues and “settle scores”! Meanwhile, people were having enormous fun outside. There was full on cheating (though it drowned some teams), the clues were a fun to solve , there was running around, all for the first time ever on a usually boring college day. So it was indirectly a successful day for us. Though now we needed another day to continue, with the treasure hunt.  And luckily we managed to get this quickly. We now had just 10 teams competing for the final spot.

Success Finally. We learned from our mistakes. We abolished the messaging system. Every round now became an elimination round. After the first round we eliminated 2 teams and thereafter eliminated half of the total teams every round.  From 8 to 4, 4 to2 and finally the winners. How did we do that?  The order of the events changed to:

1. Find a output to a C program.

2. Whoever finishes first gets a location clue, and runs to the location and take the picture.

3. Teams that return back first, get selected. For rounds where half of the teams were eliminated, we introduced competition between 2  teams by giving the same clues.

Here’s what the winners Tarun and Anuraag had to say (text in pic below):

Winners Word Winner's Word

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Annexure A. The treasure hunt clues and solutions.

Annexure B. The Elimination Round

P.S. You may use the clues and questions for your own treasure hunt. Don’t forget to see the licence details on your right though!

Special Thanks to the Treasure Hunt Team. Puneet, Abhikul, Vaibhav, Ashutosh, Nikhil and Tushar. (Random Order)
And to my friend from the times of school, Mridul for troubleshooting and new ideas.


Previous Year DS Questions and Physics Practice Test


Apologies to the subscribers. The information in the post is meant for specific audience. 😦

Copy and paste the following links into the address bar of your internet browser to view the files.  (Data Structures T2) (Physics Practice Test and DS T3 last year questions)

*Physics Practice Test is the one conducted on Tuesday(11/5).  You’ll need to invert the page to view the paper.

Share/download/use at your own risk. The paper format may change this year. I shall not be responsible for any damage caused by viewing and using the paper. Intended to share only.

This is the best quality of the document available.
Solutions might be available in a day or two.

iPhone: Myths and Facts


Myth: You can not forward messages on an iPhone.
Fact: With the launch of iPhone OS 3.0 (free update for all iPhone users), you can forward messages on an iPhone. All new iPhones come pre installed with the OS 3.0 or above.

Myth: No Cut, Copy Paste on iPhone.
Fact: You can cut, copy and paste text and pictures on iPhone.

Myth: You can not share photos through Bluetooth.
Fact: The receiving device must be compatible to do that, iPhone can transfer photos through Bluetooth.

Myth: Updating iPhone is a tedious task.
Fact: Updating iPhone is very easy. Just connect your iPhone to iTunes and the rest is done. Updating iPhone your not only adds new features but also improves battery life.

Myth: iPhone battery don’t last even a day on standby.
Fact: Tested. iPhone batteries last at least 2 days on stand by. (Push Notifications disabled).

Myth: You can not listen to music, while working on the other apps.
Fact: Absolutely wrong. You can minimize the iPod app and work on the other apps. Double tapping the Home button even shows the control buttons, without disturbing the current application.

Myth: iPhone touch screens are too clumsy to type.
Fact: Thanks to the great touch screen interface of iPhone, it ignores unwanted touch gestures and the typing experience is at par with the other touch phones.

Myth:You have to get one of the speakers of iPhone unlocked.
Fact: This is the weirdest rumor I have heard. The other speaker looking inlet on the bottom right of the iPhone is actually the microphone.

Myth: You cannot transfer files from your  PC to an iPhone.
Fact: There are several free applications on the Apple App Store that allow you to transfer files on your iPhone wirelessly.

Myth: There is no POP3 support for Windows LIVE accounts/hotmail  email accounts.
Fact: False. There is support for all popular e-mail service providers including Windows LIVE accounts. In fact there are no constraints on configuring POP3 accounts on iPhone.

Based on my experience with people talking about the iPhone. Would love if  you could add more to the list!

P.S. I am a big Apple Fan. 😛

Google. Entry by Invitation Only.


They did it for Gmail. They did it for Google Wave and they have also tried it for the new Orkut (whatever you call the new version of Orkut). Any other service too that I have missed out?

Of course the ‘invite’ system has more of technical reasons for it’s being than Google’s marketing strategies. All these products were primarily opened for the developers to test and report issues pertaining to them. Hence an invitation based account sign up seems to be a fairly good idea.  After all, Google really wants it users to use  almost bug free online applications.

But who want’s to be at the other side of  action? Google knows that. And the invites become a very good marketing tool, even if  they didn’t intended it to be.  It worked really well for Gmail. It was like getting an invitation for a very coveted party. Anyone who got a Gmail id in the early days of it’s launch felt privileged and sending an invite to a friend on his repeated requests was a matter of pride. I don’t mean to undermine the GMail’s technology,which un-doubetdly plays an important role in it’s popularity today but you have to agree that the ‘invites’ did create the needed hype.

GMail is definetly an older issue for now. But the ‘invites’ are back. This time for Google Wave. Google Wave is a great collaboration tool. For those of you who have a little knowledge of Google Wave or it’s working, I’d like to put down a more simpler and a rather non-technical definition. Google Wave is like a message board where a group of people who you allow can post new messages or edit the previous ones as per their convenience from anywhere around the world. With this being a special message board you can always go back in time, to see how did the current state shape up. It’s really like an  Real Time Conference. The simple looking idea has a broad spectrum of  applications. You could plan your next outing with your friends, draft an office presentation with your group members, connect with old friends, the list is in fact endless.

What happens here is that the invites do not serve as a very good marketing tool. That’s mainly because Google Wave doesn’t make sense unless you have a bulk of your contacts using it. Now what the situation has been in most cases that the invites were distributed in very small number. So even the lucky one’s who got the early invites quickly lost interest in because they had nobody to wave with. The second bunch of invites which came for the excited bunch of people who hadn’t received the invites on the first time. But again that was on an average only 10-15 contacts of your contacts using it. With all the fully functional things like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc. online, who do you expect to maintain yet another account for 10-15 people.  All this finally led to a  bunch of in-active people having Google Wave accounts. I might not be entirely right on my judgement but the current state is that the ‘invites’ which are a common entity now, don’t have any takers.

What does that imply? People have lost interest in Google Wave? Or are they patiently waiting for the final release ? Any conclusions at this moment would be unfair. But what seems clear is that the invites are not attracting a lot of users now. It’s not working the way it did for Gmail.

Agreed, that Google Wave was just a preview and was not intended for the public and an invitation based entry is justified to a large extent. But what it has got to do with New Orkut. In fact there has nothing been very special and innovative about the new edition of orkut, that people would die to get an invitation for.  It’s just like having a restricted entry to an event that barely has any audience!

Invitation based sign ups don’t seem to be the best idea to me for seriously testing products online. What’s more they have also started loosing promotional value. What’s your say? Is the invite system best of way testing products? Or it’s more of promotion gimmick than actual development of the software. I would love to hear from you.

The Deemed University Menace. JIIT, Noida not yet de-recognized.


You realize the fact of how media un-proportionally blows up on a certain issue only when you are directly connected to it. What makes me get to this is that recently my college Jaypee Institute of Information Technology (JIIT), Noida was unfortunately black listed in the universities to be de-recognized by the Union Grants Commission (UGC), Government of India.

Speaking about the current status of my college, it has got the ‘Status Quo’ by the Honbl’ Supreme Court of India. That’s a different part of the story though. The more important point is how the information presented to the people by the media has not only dented the reputation of the black listed colleges but also of the students studying there. Most of the news channels and the newspapers quoted comments from the Government representatives or education experts but there was no feedback from the university authorities. Shouldn’t the news we read in the newspapers give us a more complete picture.
What this has led to is that most people know JIIT Noida or any of the listed college for that matter  is being de-recognized. They have no idea of the previous reputations of the colleges or their education facilities. Simply because they didn’t read about that in the newspaper or heard about that in the news!
The more direct impact on the students has been that whenever there is a discussion about the college they are studying in there is always that unsaid negative image that is formed about the institute. So travelling in the metro or going to college fests I have heard people saying “See these guys are from JIIT. The college that has been recently de-recognized”.
I am not getting into the defense for my college, but trying to bring forward to you a more broader outlook of what actually the situation is. What most newspaper reports read was that the colleges lacked infrastructure. I can’t be commenting about the other colleges, but anybody who has visited JIIT Noida Sec-62 campus could tell you if at all the campus lacks infrastructure. As for the misconception that the university lacks courses in Mechanical or Civil Engineering etc. , the university has been declared as an IT University. An institute that can be called a university even if it doesn’t have these courses. And all the courses are accredited by the apex authority All India Council for Technical Council (AICTE). The education quality is also at par with the most private institutions of the country.

What’s has happened is that despite proper education environment (according to the previous reports by the same authority about 6 months back) the institute has been black listed. There has been no elaborate report in the limelight on what it is actually wrong. Is it fair enough, to eliminate deemed universities just because their number abruptly grown in the country?

Again, not questioning the credibility of the decision made by the Government Authorities but just putting forward a simple logic point, shouldn’t the decision that involves the future of over 2 Lac students be dealt more delicately?

If there is any truth to the reports against the colleges, it is yet to be brought out.

I don’t intend to advertise or speak highly about my institute, but to put the message that let’s stop making judgments and form opinions be it on any issue with just bits and pieces of information we have.

Take a break. Listen to some ‘LIVE MUSIC’


If you haven’t yet attended any LIVE Music Show, I recommend you must. Real stress buster. Doing that is quite simple and also quite cheap. Keep a check on websites like ‘’ or simply keep a track of college fests going around in your city. If you wish I can inform you about that.
I had always wanted to listen Live music. I had previews of some of it school, with some societies doing live shows at school. But the real opportunity came in when I joined college. I realized the reason why most college students (including me) were excited about their college fest was the Star Nights or Pro Nights or whatever specific names are given to these ‘special’ night events. What happens at these ‘special night’ events is renowned singers and bands perform especially for the college students. Just as they would do on for any concerts they may have organised in your city previously.
The first Live music I attended was at IIT Delhi by Mohit Chauhan and Faridkot*. What was more fascinating was that I gained entry even with out a pass. Thanks to my friends Arjun and Arpit. Since then I have been a Mohit Chauhan Fan. So why a live music show? You could always listen to some good music at your really capable music system. But apart from the great music, it’s the atmosphere. The ambiance , the enthusiasm of the people present there and the fun being with your friends leaves you thrilled. There seems to be a seamless connection between you and the singer. The performances are such crafted that you feel the singers are exclusively performing for you!
The performances refresh you to the core. Hearing it LIVE is nothing like it.
So getting back to the point of where and how do you get the info about the concerts. If you are a college student, this is simple as I mentioned earlier. Just flash your college ID card at a college fest and get a pass which would either be free or cost at most around 300 bucks. Many would include that in the Registration Fees which you paid for participation (if you did) in the events. Another way could be to find friends like mine who could get you entry through “other” means.

If you are not a college student, simply keep a check on websites like or Many concerts that are held in your city provide tickets through these websites. Doesn’t mean you could not attend the performances at college fest which are definitely cheaper. All you have to do, is arrange for passes through a college student or get VIP passes through the organizers considering the fact that many ‘grown ups’ wouldn’t like to be in the hustle bustle of college students.

Believe me the experience is truly refreshing. But make sure that you have somebody to accompany you to the show, going alone could be quite be boring. I have tried that. Share your experiences with me, write back to me at or just a drop your comments here.
*Faridkot are the runners up of Channel [V] Launch Pad. You can check /

A not so good quality video of the IIT Delhi event. You can find more of them at You Tube.