(Reposted from our CTO Sylvain Zimmer's blog, which crashed under heavy traffic)
How crazy is this !! ;-)
By now if you’re as RSS-addicted as me you’ve probably seen the excellent “How to remain calm” Chrome OS video. Like the previous potato-powered Chrome ad, excellent job from the marketing guys at Google!
However this time with my fellow geeks at Jamendo we noticed an equation hidden at 2:23 in the video. We then proceeded to lose several hours of productivity running it through Wolfram Alpha...
All we got was X = 900.91/191605050401140404051920181525 ~= 4.7*10^-27 and we were not even sure of this one number because of barely readable numbers in the original video. At this point we were quite sure that there was something to find (and hopefully to win) but still had to find a way to give a meaning to this number.
The first path we explored was in Physics, 1.66*10^-27 being the atomic mass constant u. Having X=2.83u didn’t make much sense: too far from 2.0x or 3.0x where the closest elements I knew are. Then my friend Joachim Rambeau tipped me off with an idea on “Chrome UX” being the name of the team that released the video. There was an X in there! With the equation X=(U/Chrome), U being the mass of Uranium (~238u depending on isotopes) and “Chrome” the mass of Cr-48 or related isotopes, we found ourselves very close to the 4.7 ballpark. I posted this as a comment in the video, without much hope of it being the definite answer.
So we left this for a few hours and got back to work. Funny coincidence? The current work at Jamendo is actually building a Jamendo Pro player on cheap Android tablets ;-) So we didn’t quite leave the Google world...
Anyway, while having drinks at the office at the end of the day (Yes, Jamendo is almost as cool to work at as Google) , we realized “900.91″ did actually reference the goo.gl url shortener. The division obviously meant a slash in an URL, and then we had to make sense of the 191605050401140404051920181525 to find an URL. But the excitation was growing, we knew we were on the right path this time!
Unfortunately, at this point I had to leave and go catch a TGV back to Paris. I’m actually still on the TGV as I’m writing this, thanks to Android tethering ;-) Anyway, I tried to convert the 30 numbers into 4 characters, like all goo.gl URLs. Didn’t have much luck, I was trying to prepend “00″ at the beginning to have 32 characters, but couldn’t make sense of the resulting sequence “00191605 05040114 04040519 20181525″.
That was when I noticed there were far too many zeroes in that sequence, even without the ones I added... So I tried different splits, and ended up with “19 16 05 05 04 01 14 04 04 05 19 20 18 15 25″.
There, any geek would have known what to do! I translated it to letters and got “s p e e d a n d d e s t r o y”. Obviously, at this point my fingers were very shaky! But I managed to type goo.gl/speedanddestroy in my browser and got to a form telling me that I was the “first to figure out our MENSA-certified puzzle” and would receive a Cr-48. WIN ! ;-)
Here is a screenshot of that page:
I think I was indeed the first because now the goo.gl link just says “The form you are trying to access has either expired or reached its maximum registration limit.”. Well, that’s pretty cool if you ask me ;-) (Funny details, while submitting the form, I crossed the Luxembourg/France border, the tethering went off and I started sweating they were going to check the IP address but I was still able to submit the form from France)
Big credits must go to the to the tech team at Jamendo: our genius lead developer Vincent who showed us the video first, our incredible Android hacker Mauro who helped me a lot with the actual equation, my fellow Jamendo Co-Founder Laurent and my own personal Physics expert Joachim Rambeau.
Anyway, congrats to Google for being such nerds. The video itself is really funny, embedding an easter egg is even cooler, and, well, most people I know including myself couldn’t go back to anything else than Chromium/V8 anymore.
I’m obviously quite happy to have won the Cr-48 notebook, I also hope Google may start giving a little more attention to Jamendo! If you pardon the plug, we’re the biggest Creative Commons music repository, and we’ve never succeeded inking a deal with YouTube about these hundred of thousands of CC music tracks (be it AudioSwap integration, proper CC attribution, revenue sharing, …). Let’s hope that will happen in the future!
PS: Hey Google, could we also have one of the destroyed notebooks to include in our gallery ? ;-)
PS2: The form says that I should live in the U.S. to receive the notebook but sorry that's not the case obviously! I left the address of a U.S. relative but I can't imagine it being a real issue just for one laptop. I'll keep everybody updated as I get contacted by Google.
-- Jamendo's Founder & CTO Sylvain Zimmer, December 10th 2010