So, the first step was trying the provided code and fetching a puzzle. A JSON message like this was received:. At the beginning, I was thinking there was some basic cryptoanalisys to do, so I added code to write to disk the received messages, and then fetched some puzzles to have more samples to throw at some frequency analisys algorithm etc. Feeling I was now on the right track, I kept checking the saved samples and thinking about the peculiar shape of the grid.
Finally, it was time to write some code able to navigate the character grid as if it was walking on the cube. I would check if such extracted strings started with one of the words to search for, and save the matches. If any of the strings fetched as described started with one of the words in the list, I saved a match.
At this point, with the cube-navigating-string-fetching-and-matching code working, there were two open problems:. Swagger is an open source framework related to RESTful web services like the one used by the challenge code. With this information, crafting the solution message in the expected format was easy.
So, I focused on enlarging the list of words to search for. I tried different lists of words, even downloaded kitchen ingredient dictionaries being afraid of missing some ingredient by not being an English native speaker and not recognizing them while skimming through the extracted strings. Sorting the strings by number of occurrences led me to find some new ingredients, which made my feel very satisfied of what I did… until I tried sending solutions with the new list, and failed again.
After banging my head for a while, I went back to the first challenge hoping to find more clues about the ingredient list. This is when it became clear to my eyes that the three challenges were more connected than I expected. So, I did a simple, desperate attempt: used for the word search ONLY the ingredients you could find in the challenge 1 game. Here's my coupon code: xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx. Player, you are one of the chosen few. A lottery drawing will select to proceed to challenge 3. Standby for further instruction.
A little mistake when preparing challenge 2, I guess. Anyway, challenge 2 took me a lot of time, but only because I totally felt into the trap of the extra ingredients. Anything else worth noting about challenge 2? I will publish my fork of the project, including solver, soon — I just prefer cleaning it a bit first.
I also have a 3D front-end I quickly put together in Unity at some point, to visually check the correctness of my cube-walking code. I received the IoT Kit about a week before the challenge. A very appropriate packaging: someone at Microsoft definitely put some heart into all this. I merged the three available parts together and printed the result, expecting to quickly fill in the missing part when it will be made available at the beginning of challenge 3, maybe.
I was already somewhat familiar with the Raspberry Pi 1 , but this one looked pretty special:. I followed the provided instrucions and tested that everything was working properly. I considered the possibility of dumping the Pro Mini memory and doing some reverse engineering of the contents, but read online that the microcontroller featured some lock bits that prevented access to the memory unless you wiped it. I thought that who prepared the deviced would definitely have used such feature to prevent challengers to access the microcontroller memory before the challenge.
I then considered the idea of trying to fiddle with the GPIO pins, but I got afraid of messing up the device and becoming unable to partecipate to the final challenge. More fearless finalists acted differently and were rewarded by that. Anyway, I disconnected the IoT device and did another kind of preparation: refreshing some algorithms and techniques often used in coding challenges graph traversals, pathfinding, dynamic programming….
The race is on. By now you received your Internet of Things IoT Kit, followed the setup instructions inside and are ready to compete. Collect the correct pizza ingredients. Any submissions made prior to the delivery of this email do not qualify. This was easily found out by Googling. It made sense to use write values to such pins as if there was a gamepad connected to them, setting the pin values to 1 when the button was unpressed and 0 when pressed or the opposite. To write values to such pins you had to open them in output mode, and that left you with three remaining, unused pins: N , P , T.
So, I could easily try inputting the Konami Code on my keyboard with different speeds and try to figure out what the red flashes meant. And I started getting a null device when trying to open the interface. Only after some googling and going back to the documentation suggested in the instructions, I saw this and remembered that I had read it already a week earlier, and then forgot :.
Note that you must add the following capability to the Package. Visual Studio has a known bug in the Manifest Designer the visual editor for appxmanifest files that affects the serialcommunication capability. If your appxmanifest adds the serialcommunication capability, modifying your appxmanifest with the designer will corrupt your appxmanifest the Device xml child will be lost. You can workaround this problem by hand editting the appxmanifest by right-clicking your appxmanifest and selecting View Code from the context menu.
But I got nothing. At this point, around 4 A. Meanwhile, I checked Twitter, and I found out that the challenge was practically over: the first 5 places on the scoreboard had been taken, and two finalists had completed the challenge even before the mail arrived! I went back to the pin mapping and tried to look at it from a different angle. I quickly adapted my code to use two pins when needed, hoping for a breakthrough. After some time, in one of the many desperate attempts, I tought that maybe the unlocking had to be done right after turning on IoT device. Finally some success.
After that, more red flashes bad.
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And no way to get another green arrow repeating the sequence. After some timing adjustment I was sending the inputs too quickly , I finally managed to input the full Konami Code sequence and unlock the IoT device. There was no chance of not recognizing the unlock, as I was afraid earlier: the LED matrix showed some kind of little coloured map. The LED matrix cells could be in 4 different states:. If we walk on an orange cell, we get a red X, and we have to start over. But what about the other ingredients? Can we just walk around and find other green cells?
We have to blindly collect the other ingredients using the map, of course! But which ones? This time I had learnt the lesson: the three challenges are interconnected. But I tried, and it worked.
Did I miss that somewhere? I automated the player walk until the edge of the known zone, and then started walking on unknown territory using the keyboard. Here you are a video of the unlocking and ingredients pick-up, as performed by my code available on GitHub. Anyway, the blinking saves the day. And I got: You've found the correct ingredients. I felt succesful and tought I had finally completed the challenge, probably the Skype bot was just in charge of receiving the code and putting an entry for me in the leaderboard.
Greetings, challenger. Nice work solving the third Last Slice challenge. To get started, please reply with just your MSA email address. Proceed carefully—I will not try to verify your answers until the end. Here we go The first Last Slice challenge was all about delivering pizza to hungry customers.
Please reply with the street address for the final pizza delivery in the game. I hope you can remember them! Please reply with the first ingredient. What else? Enter 'done' when you are done AM done. That sounds delicious, I might even get one myself. Ha ha—who am I kidding? Please reply with the coupon code you received after solving challenge 2. Please reply with the order confirmation number you received after solving the third challenge. Please check over all of your answers. My primary doubts were about.
Additionally, I started having problems with Skype not detecting the new incoming messages from the bot, for minutes. As the fun was over, I tried asking on twitter hints about the bot interaction, and went to sleep. As I hoped, someone who already completed the challenge answered, suggesting to play the challenge 1 game again.
Anyway, hoping that the bot would accept the latest provided coupon, I tried to get a new one running again my challenge 2 solver. What happened? After fixing that, my code started working again, and I went back to the Skype bot using the new coupon code. On behalf of my colleagues here at Microsoft Windows a. Last Slice HQ , congratulations on beating all three challenges! And from the bottom of my Skype-bot heart, thank you for playing the Last Slice. Overall, I enjoyed partecipating and think a lot of effort went into preparing this challenge, so congrats to who worked on it at Microsoft.
My first complaint is about the start date of challenge three. So, am is not exactly a happy time to pick for something like this, because of ambiguity. From there, you can read:.
Challenge 1: TheLastSliceGame
Friday, not one minute before a. So, I was almost sure that the challenge was going to start at of August 18 right after midnight of August I checked for new mail from the phone, and as I expected there was no new mail related to the challenge. I was about to get back to sleep, when — at a. A lot. Anyway, kudos to winners, organizers and to all the fellow coders exchanging tips on Twitter in the night. See you at the next challenge!
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What does a videogame programmer on vacation? After excluding the chance of a hardware problem trying the joystick under Windows , I decided that it was a driver issue… probably a simple one: 8 buttons out of 10 were working already, after all. So, listing the loaded kernel modules and through quick Googling I found out that the code handling the joystick was in xpad.
The process was made harder by the lack of a proper Internet connection due to my vacation setting: I only had available an unrealiable 3G connection accessed through wi-fi tethering. So, after considering that if I was right I only had to change a byte in that struct array, I opted for the binary patching approach. The two bytes fields used for identification, 0x24c6 and 0x24c6 , are a perfect candidate to search into the binary, after remembering to fix the byte ordering field by field: 0x24c6 gets compiled to C6 04 and 0x to 00 After firing and hex-editor on my version of xpad.
I did the simple modification with an hex-editor, replaced the original xpad. I submitted the patch to the Linux kernel tree following the standard procedure. I have plenty of posts in draft status, about the work I did for my master thesis and for Zodiac. Pay for your order and get your discount! Ship From: CN. Shipping method. Earn BG points. Ships from Array. Total price: Earn BG points. Customer also viewed. Return Policy: day refund or replacement. You can return this product within 14 days after delivery to receive a replacement or a refund.
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