Competition Success Review #1 : Force Fest Day 2

After day 1 we all were excited to return to Sheikh Sarai. Uhm, maybe not everyone, considering the return journey is so horrible.

As usual, I turned up at school punctually – fifteen minutes late, which is natural. Saw this kid named Shubham, who went with us for VB programming, going again just for the heck of it. His classmates scared him that they’d tear his certificates and break his award. So he’s like 1955’s original George McFly. I wonder how long it’ll take Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan to meet him.

Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan. Also, Van Halen ftw

Now that we knew that majority of the quiz questions were taken from already-existing archives, we wanted to study. Unfortunately, I was too busy proving f(x)=|sin x| + |cos x| is periodic with π last night, and Saumey was reading from Vidit’s archive (which Arnav later informed me, had been pulled from But I was more interested in reading from my TCS archives over the past three years. Surprisingly, they were no longer available on MediaFire! Strange.

So anyway, we were just talking about a lot of other stuff (other than the quiz, that is) on the way to Apeejay. As usual, the kids were making a ruckus in the car making the journey even more tedious. Somehow I can’t recall some of the finer details about the journey probably because it was uneventful this time with Jyot Singh having no problem in finding the school today.

We reached at exactly 9.04 AM and the quiz was scheduled to start at 9. Auditorium was really quiet and the first person I saw as soon as I entered was Arnav, listening to his iPod. There really was no Prempal today, so we had a reasonable shot. But we did know, however, that Arnav was a pretty damn good quizzer on any given day, considering that he qualified for TCS once and won the Japan Quiz this time.

The quiz began about ten minutes after we finished with registration. We could choose our places randomly and judging by the huge screen, I chose to sit at the seat farthest from it – team 6.

The quiz began with a dry round with infinite bounce system. Apparently, the quizmaster was dreaming about going back to bed, by forgetting the most basic rule of infinite bounce – the team next to the tem which correctly answered the question gets it.

Round one was pathetic was me and Saumey. We were stuck at zero while others had some points. Arnav was at his usual flamboyant self, of course.

Next round featured negative marking, and we got -10 for getting Camel Case wrong (I confused it with tOGGLE cASE).

It was like that for a while, when the connect round came around. There were five points for identifying each picture and ten for the connect with the scoring being same for all. We managed to scrape together some measly five points in some questions, and boy did it go a long way.

The quizmaster was definitely not paying attention this time as when we answered “This is the first player YouTube used to stream videos” it was not accepted, but when the next team said “This is the first player YouTube used to stream videos online using Flash”, they got it. Another instance was Arnav saying essentially the same thing about some “tables” (something to do with guessing hash keys while guessing) and it was not accepted, while the next team’s answer was, even though it was essentially the same.  Arnav almost looked like he’d found out that Vader was his father.

I think I exaggerated that one a bit. NOT.

Then came the big mega connect for us. We had to connect Nupedia, Jimmy Wales (photo), “quick” and Julian Assange. Of course the connect was Wikipedia and we garnered a lump sum of thirty points. This was crucial to the quiz at it changed everything.

Or so I though. Until the buzzer round spread its wings to cover us all in its mighty wingspan.

Or more appropriately, cover us in its poop.

The main idea of the round was flawed. In buzzer rounds, you’re supposed to see the question and immediately strike the buzzer to answer it. It’s not the vastness of the knowledge that’s being tested here, it’s how quick you can recall it. They didn’t have “quizzing-grade” buzzers installed here; they wouldn’t break circuits. Nor did they use Exun’s strategy of recording it and playing in slow motion. They did have spotters, but that path is never devoid of controversy, you know.

Arnav went totally bonkers here, hitting the buzzer before the question was completed, getting -20, hitting it again for another -20. Even we got a -20, but we covered up with some great answering.

Suddenly at the end of the round, we were with our noses ahead at 80 and others in mid seventies.

My knees started shaking at the prospect of actually winning the first quiz of the season, when the next round showed up. I’d like to call this little tyke “Deux Ex Machina”. Here are the rules

  • Plus fifty for the correct answer.
  • Minus twenty for the wrong answer.
  • Plus thirty for a passed question

See what just happened there? That’s like giving Stoke City a fifty point boost if they score a goal in their last game. This is madness.

So the round started with a tough one (in my opinion) and it got easier later on. Almost all the questions here took up entire slides. Suddenly, we were fourth. The last question of the quiz went to us and it was like requiring four runs of one ball with one wicket remaining.

It was a huge quote about a person “responsible for getting the computer to the masses” speaking about his life-changing experiences with the Homebrew Computer Club.

And guess what. I forgot. I panicked there and knew we had lost it. But Saumey stood there like a white knight in shining armor braces.

“Bhaiya Steve Wozniak bol do. “

“I don’t think that’s right.”

“Arre maine iWoz mein yeh padh rakha hai.”

It was difficult to trust him as he was responsible for that -20 in the buzzer round and another question to which I knew the right answer.

But then, quizzing is all about trusting your partner and we went ahead.

It was right and we WON. Boy was the adrenaline rush massive. Went down the stage feeling like a boss. From -10 to 130 is no mean feat, guys. The win was slightly unconvincing, because of that stupid buzzer round (although it was responsible for saving our skins).

Lots of questions were from Vidit’s book, Saumey and Arnav told me. This was funny as Vidit himself didn’t qualify. BTW, there was one question he could definitely have answered as it was in German and Vidit knows German.

More results started pouring in, and we were quite sure of winning the overall trophy with the first position in the PowerPoint presentation on corruption the kids made, second in LOGO Programming and some other event, and third in some robotics event and VB programming.

When we went on the stage to collect the overall trophy, what we didn’t know was that we had also won a printer! And when we opened it in the Qualis it turned out to be an HP All-in-One which we decided to put in the secondary lab. Now two labs have photocopy machines.

Meena Ma’am didn’t accompany us today and was absolutely astounded at the news about the overall trophy and the printer. We all were.

So a good day for ze Converge Clan. Not a waste of time at all (hope you’re reading this, Dad).

P.S: Anyone has those TCS archives? Please mail:

Download The TCS IT Wiz 2009 Quiz Finals

I’ve given you the prelims, Now eat the finals. The prelims were compiled by Shikhar, and hosted by me. The finals are compiled and written by Shreyans, and hosted by me. You can now see how I love to take credit for others’ work and boost my blog views.

Download The TCS IT Wiz 2009 Quiz Finals

A small note here. This quiz archive is EPIC. It’s simply awesome! Download it for sure. At. Any. Cost. Shreyans has compiled a truly magnificent archive. Never before have a seen something like this. If possible, print it on photo paper and frame it.

Download The TCS IT Wiz 2009 Quiz Prelims

TCS IT Wiz 2009 was held on 31st October 2009, and 909 teams turned up. I managed to finish tenth out of them (along with Saumey). DPS Noida won this year’s edition of TCS IT Wiz. You can download the quiz prelims here. Quiz finals are being prepared. More later.

Please give Shikhar complete credit for this work. It may have been hosted at my blog and typed by me, he made it a point to write them all down during the quiz (you can improve your handwriting, Shikhar).

Download the TCS IT Wiz 2009 Prelims

Fix Your Hung iPod

Many times, your iPod may hang, depriving you of musical bliss. You may knew how to fix it; but you might forget that manner at home. Heres what you do in such cases.

Presenting the iPod Five Minute Fix. Scroll to the bottom for supported models.

Works only with an iPod having a click wheel. Will not work with your iPod Touch or iPod Shuffle.

1] There should be a Hold button on the top of your iPod. Set it to ON. A fluorescent orange thingy must be visible. This means that the iPod is on hold.

The Hold Button Location On The Top Of Your iPod

The Hold Button Location On The Top Of Your iPod

The iPod In Hold Mode. Notice the Fluoroscent Orange Thingy.

The iPod In Hold Mode. Notice the Fluoroscent Orange Thingy.

2] Now, return the Hold button to its original position. The orange thingy should not be visible now. If it is, start all over again. Try working you iPod now.

3] If it still doesn’t work, try this. Press and hold the Menu and the Center button for five seconds. Take somebody’s help if you wish. Make sure the Hold button is in its original position.

Click Wheel

Click Wheel

4] The Apple logo must now be visible on the screen, which usually occurs against a black background. The iPod should now be reset to the settings in which is last functioned perfectly.

Apple Logo

Apple Logo

List Of Supported iPod Models

An iPhone Crime

[via Onion]

Excerpts from an excellent article from Onion, which is supposed to be “America’s finest news source”.

WINNETKA, IL—This normally peaceful suburban town is still reeling following the news Monday that a local resident, whose name is being withheld by police pending a full investigation, left an iPhone unattended for more than three hours in a car parked in the hot sun.

“Responding to calls from concerned passersby, who observed the iPhone sitting in a vehicle … police arrived on the scene at approximately 4 p.m. and immediately intervened to save the device,” said Winnetka police chief … Security cameras have shown that the iPhone had been in the car … since 1 p.m.

… two officers … found the iPhone lying face down on the dashboard. The iPhone at first showed no signs of life, but after a tense few seconds, officers were able to wake it and get it to respond to a series of simple touch commands. Police said that if the iPhone were left in the extreme heat for any longer, it could have died.

The iPhone was rushed by ambulance to a nearby Apple facility for careful examination. Miraculously, no damage to its memory, screen, or wireless capabilities was reported.

… Hundreds of cards and letters have come streaming in, and local talk radio shows have been flooded with calls demanding that the iPhone’s owner be prosecuted. Many have come forward offering to take the iPhone into their custody, and still more have donated free downloads, ringtones, and MP3s to the victimized object.

“What kind of a human being is capable of such callous disregard for a precious, precious thing?” said one … “an iPhone is a 24-hour-a-day responsibility.”

“This iPhone was less than a year old,” said Janelle Mankewiecz, another outraged citizen. “If someone is blessed with an iPhone … they should never take their eyes off it”

“On a hot day, the temperatures inside a parked car can reach 150 degrees in just 40 minutes,” she added, looking up the information on her own iPhone.

The Battle of the Music Players





It’s been a long time since the Apple iPod Nano 4G and Microsoft Zune were out. The iPod Nano has been revamped for the fourth time in four years, but it does look damn cool. It sweet and light and sleek. I simply hated the fatty Nano which released previous year. The new Zune doesn’t look too bad. But which one to choose? Lets see the specs first:

iPod vs Zune

iPod vs Zune

Well, that should be handy! Click for a bigger and clearer picture.

As far as the comparison is concerned, both of ’em have equally great features. The Zune has Wireless Connectivity, which allows you to download stuff over a Wi-Fi hot-spot, and this the iPod lacks. This enables a Zune owner to transfer stuff wirelessly to other Zunes, and sync wirelessly to computers.  Apple has included this only in the iPod Touch.

Zune also allows you to download DRM free MP3s, which Apple doesn’t – limiting it’s playing to only five PCs or MACs

On the other hand, Zune misses cover-flow, an awesome feature to scroll through albums. Even the picture formats are more in the iPod. Zune also lacks the looks – it appears to be a big chunky brick. The iPod has nice tapering edges which make it look attractive. Apple offers free custom engraving, which is pretty cool.

Both have equal amounts of storage and battery life. Even the sound quality is flawless in both.

So in the battle, both have won. If you want to go for reliability, then go for the iPod, as Apple has dominated the music player market for years, and has a lot of experience to make these. However, if you want to feel different, go for the Zune. Its obviously rarer than the iPod, and will attract attention.

Strange, isn’t it, the roles being reversed? In the computer market, you get a Microsoft PC for reliability but a Mac for being different.