You are browsing the archive for 2013 June.

GeoGuessr: dropping you right in it

June 21, 2013 in Culture, Games

xkcd-geoguessrHave you tried out GeoGuessr yet?

It’s a brilliant web game built on Google’s Street View technology. Wikipedia tells me it was launched on May 9th this year by Swedish IT consultant Anton Wallén.

Here’s how Anton’s game works: you get dropped onto a random spot on Earth and you simply have to guess where you are (by clicking on the map on the right of the screen). You can’t leave Street View, so you can’t simply cheat and get the map view up! You must travel up and/or down the road, looking for clues which will lead you to an educated guess.

Rarely (very rarely) you will be able to say exactly where you are. For instance, I virtually arrived at Lenin’s Mausoleum at one point! For the rest of the time though, I trawled around, generally going through this thought process.

  • English language roadsigns!
  • They drive on the right…
  • Distances are in kilometers…
  • So it’s… Canada?

Thing is, even then you’re not done as Canada is a pretty big country and you score points in GeoGuessr based on how near or far away your guess is. Picking Vancouver, when the actual location is on Prince Edward Island, is almost as bad as picking Ireland!

Each game on GeoGuessr involves five locations and after you’ve given them your best shot you can send off that set via email to your friends to see how they compare.
Read the rest of this entry →

A mixed bag: WQC 2013 and me

June 3, 2013 in Quizzes

Last Saturday saw a selection of top quizzers from Ireland, the UK and even Germany converge on the Addison Lodge, Glasnevin, for the Irish heat of the 2013 World Quizzing Championships.  For yours truly it was a day of highs and lows.

Starting with the lows, I put in a very poor performance in the day’s main event.  At half-time, I wasn’t feeling too bad.  My scores in the morning’s four categories were: 9, 21, 14 and 17.  Indeed, I was quite proud of that 21 (in History) as it’s only the second time I’ve gotten over 20 in the three years I’ve been taking part in the WQC!  The 9 was a bit of a ‘mare but we do get to discard one score at the end of the day so I was hopeful that I’d be saying “bye bye” to the Culture round.

It wasn’t to be, I’m afraid.  After lunch I scored 11, 9, 8, 11.  Yeah an 8.  In Sport/Games! Terrible, just terrible.  I dunno what happened.  It may have been something to do with the frankly massive lunch I ate but my brain just wasn’t sparking.  For example, one of the questions asked about the Jamaican sprinter who finished second in both the 100m and 200m at the 2012 Olympic Games.  I knew who that was.  I knew what he looked like.  I couldn’t produce his name.  That’s just not normal for me.

So, obviously that first round 9 did have to count – and it had another for company.  In the end, I scored 92 points, a significant drop from the 114 I got last year.

I can’t claim the quiz was that much harder either.  This time last year, I was second at the Irish heat, six points behind Lorcan Duff.  This year, Lorcan improved his score by 11 points, finishing on a fantastic 131.  This saw him finish as the highest-ranked Irish competitor and second overall.  Our winner on the day though was Mark Grant, an Australian representing Wales, who finished on a frankly astonishing 156!  Yes, he is that good!  As of this morning, that score sees Mark ranked joint-sixth in the World overall which is a terrific achievement also.

At the very top, Irishman Pat Gibson (quizzing for England) scored 172 and looks set to regain the title he last held in 2011.  Way to go Pat!

Read the rest of this entry →