Category Archives: off topic

Brain teaser

Amongst my Christmas presents was a book, “Einstein’s riddle, paradoxes, puzzles and conundrums” by Jeremy Stangroom. One of the first puzzles in the book is this logic problem, attributed (almost certainly incorrectly) to a young Einstein:

There are 5 houses painted in 5 different colours. A person with a different nationality lives in each house. The 5 owners each drink a certain type of beverage, play a certain sport and keep a certain pet. No owners have the same pet, play the same sport or drink the same beverage.

  1. The Briton lives in the red house.
  2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
  3. The Dane drinks tea.
  4. The green house is immediately[1] on the left of the white house.
  5. The owner of the green house drinks coffee.
  6. The person who plays football rears birds.
  7. The owner of the yellow house plays baseball.
  8. The man living in the centre house drinks milk.
  9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
  10. The man who plays volleyball lives next to the one who keeps cats.
  11. The man who keeps the horse lives next to the man who plays baseball.
  12. The owner who plays tennis drinks beer.
  13. The German plays hockey.
  14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
  15. The man who plays volleyball has a neighbour who drinks water.

Who owns the fish?

Whatever its origins, it is a cracking puzzle. It took me the best part of an hour to solve it. If your brain is under-stimulated from Christmas TV but you are forbidden from programming, I recommend you give it a go. The answer is here (no peeking!).

Normal service will be resumed on this blog soon.

[1] See Atul’s comment below.

Free computer wallpaper

I got bored of looking at the standard Windows and Mac desktop wallpaper, so I decided to re-purpose some of the photographs I have taken on my travels. I have created standard and widescreen versions. They should be high enough resolution even for most developers’ monitors. Happy Christmas.

Licensing

You can freely use these images as wallpaper on your computer. However they may not be modified, used for any other purpose or distributed (except via http://www.successfulsoftware.net) without my explicit written permission. I retain the copyright and all other rights to these images.

Instructions

Left click on a thumbnail of the appropriate size/aspect-ratio for your monitor.

Right click on the full-size image and select:

  • FireFox: Set as desktop background
  • Internet Explorer: Set as background
  • Safari: Use image as desktop picture

1920 x 1200 wallpaper

These images are suitable for wide screen monitors (aspect ratio 8:5) including:

  • 1920 x 1200
  • 1680 x 1050
  • 1440 x 900
  • 1280 x 800

Stirling Falls, New Zealand.

Window reflection.

Peak 43, Nepal.

Palm, Queensland, Australia.

Lenticular clouds near Mount Sefton, New Zealand.

Kalahari sand at sunset, Namibia.

Heron Island, Queensland, Australia.

Waves, Hawaii.

A MiG-29 Fulcrum performing the 'cobra' manoeuvre.

Dead Vlei, Namibia.

Dead Vlei, Namibia.

Boyd Falls, New Zealand.

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

Aquarium, Plymouth, UK.

1600 x 1200 wallpaper

These images are suitable for standard monitors (aspect ratio 4:3) including:

  • 1600 x 1200
  • 1152 x 864
  • 1024 x 768
  • 800 x 600

Stirling Falls, New Zealand.

Window reflection.

Peak 43, Nepal.

Palm, Queensland, Australia.

Lenticular clouds near Mount Sefton, New Zealand.

Kalahari sand at sunset, Namibia

An MiG-29 Fulcrum performing the 'cobra' manoeuvre.

Boyd Falls, New Zealand.

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

Aquarium, Plymouth, UK.

Notes

Creating wallpaper wasn’t as easy as I thought (nothing ever is). You need images that are in landscape format, are not too saturated, contrasty or busy and are cropped and resized to exactly the right width and height. Thankfully I had some tools to help – I used PicCrop to do the cropping, BatchPhoto for batch creation of the thumbnail images, Xplorer2 for batch file renaming and Photoshop Elements for everything else. Some of the images are only available in wide screen format as they didn’t work as well in a 4:3 format.

All the photographs were taken by me with a Minolta Dynax 7D digital camera or scanned from slides taken by me with a Minolta Dynax 700si. Goodbye Minolta cameras, I miss you.