Friday, April 1, 2016

April Fools!

Things are still out of control here. I've had no more time to work on that Science Frog game this week, and April Fools Day caught me off-guard. Making a comic for today proved more time-consuming that it should have been, and in the middle of it all I got sucked into a Google code challenge thing that ended up not even working! Google's fault, not mine (pretty sure).

What? Yeah, so it turns out that Google does some recruiting by looking at the kind of things for which you search. I don't claim to know their algorithm for identifying potential candidates, but if you are searching for computer science terms you might get an invitation to play a game in your search results. It happened to me Tuesday night, and despite the obvious parallels to War Games and the fact that I was really tired when it happened, I agreed to play the game.

I was given a programming challenge and a Unix-like terminal-in-a-web-page in which to write some code and test it before submission. I wrote up a solution within a few minutes, but got a very unhelpful error message when I attempted to verify it against the test cases. I was so certain that my solution was correct, but I was too tired to look at it any more. I left the window up and came back to it the next day after work.

When I sat down, the first thing I did was just try to verify again. This time, even though I hadn't changed anything, I got a valid response. I was surprised so I verified again. This time I got an error response: 400 bad request. I tried again. That time it worked. Obviously, something was going wrong intermittently on the Google side of the test. Knowing that my solution was most likely correct, I perhaps foolishly submitted it. Did the submit work? No, 400, bad request. I hit submit again. Same thing. I tried verify again. No. And again. No. It never worked again after that. Oh well, it might have been fun to continue with it...but I had to eventually close the window.

I'm not even kidding. This is no April Fool's joke. It really happened.

Know what else happened? I wrote this comic. No picture link today. It just wasn't working. Just like last year's April Fools comic, these "special" ones break my automated image capture.

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