Who to contact

Reasons for correspondence

  • To discuss Nonograms (creating, solving, by computer, by hand, theoretical, legal issues (about which I know nothing, btw), resources)

  • To report typing errors and language mistakes on the website

  • To advise about my use of HTML, Java, etc on the website

  • To request, offer or check translations for the Java applet

I must apologise beforehand for my tendency not to reply quickly, but long-term ill health has sapped my enthusiasm to communicate.

Please read the FAQ, in case your question has already been answered.

Requests to covertly solve competition puzzles

I don't object to using a computer to solve a puzzle to enter a competition — I've done it myself when it's not been forbidden. However, when the bux.to Christmas puzzle came out in 2007, offering an apparently valuable prize, I received 13 emails in 4 days, all asking me to solve or help to solve that competition puzzle. That in itself didn't bother me, but most of the requests struck me as lazy and/or underhand:

  • Seven emails included only a screenshot of the competition page, without trace of its source. These people expected me to do their work to transcribe the image into a machine-readable format, and I doubt they have any interest in Nonograms.

  • One person had apparently failed to include any puzzle at all. In fact, he'd used an <img> linking to the original site in an HTML mail, which the mail client of any sensible user will ignore.

  • Four people (who only provided a screenshot) stressed the urgency or importance of receiving a solution, two of them giving a date — but still none of them said what the puzzle was for.

  • The competition only required a simple description of the solution, not the solution itself. Two people (who only provided a screenshot) stated that they only required a description. How about that?! They not only wanted me to tediously transcribe the puzzle from the image and send it through the solver, but they even wanted me to interpret the solution image for them! — to win them a prize! — which they don't even mention! — The cheek!

    They are lucky I didn't respond with ‘donkey’ or something…

  • Only 3 people had bothered (to try) to do the conversion from image to text themselves – congratulations to them! – and were having legitimate problems with the on-line solver. These people did not need to explain their request, and each merited a response, but I regret I was too tired to separate them out from the others (sorry), and settled for re-iterating the general instructions on the cover page. I hope that was enough for you!

Apart from those 3 exceptions, I'm not inclined to respond to such requests.

It doesn't bother me if you generate your own puzzle file from a competition puzzle and send it through my on-line solver. However, please don't try to get me to covertly win you competitions by asking me to solve for you a puzzle presented as an image, because:

  • You shouldn't think that you're the only person who has thought of it.

  • You shouldn't suppose that I won't find out what you're doing.

  • Why should I do all your work to win for you? What am I? Your biatch!?

If you have a problem understanding the solution process, and the explanation isn't already on the website or isn't clear, ask me about it, and I'll be happy to explain further (if I'm not too tired).

For the record, I also received 6 Google Alerts about the competition puzzle together with the emails during the same period:

As of 2009-07-24, none of those pages now works. For many, even the server has disappeared!

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