Someone asked me recently about managing outsourced piecework, where people outside your company are paid by the number of tasks performed. I did this on various projects for over a year with a previous employer. Our trial-and-error approach had quite a few errors, but we did eventually establish a stable system. This is an outline of that successful system, with a few notes about things we tried that didn’t work.

# Riddler, May 15 2020

Since I’m still learning my way through Jupyter, I tried the Classic as a notebook.

I’m also not sure what the best way to present a notebook is, if I have a WordPress site? The include I used last time wasn’t that great.

For the Express, the best score I can manage is 6. In this grid, there’s no legal place to put a 1 in the top row.

# Riddler Classic, February 28 2020

# Dividing the Right (into Interesting and Dull)

How do you resolve the tension between falling into a filter bubble on one hand, and having your media be an abyss of stupidity and hostility on the other?

# So you’re going to be a Penalty Box Timer?

# Riddler Classic, January 24 2020

EDIT: Nope! Not far wrong, but definitely wrong.

My strategy of starting with the easy cases and building out to more complex cases was used successfully by other solvers. My analysis of the easy cases was correct, but there was a mistake in the way I built out. My diagram probably didn’t help; the one drawn by the winner didn’t distinguish between the larger and smaller piles, and I think that’s where my error crept in.

For example, when I considered (9, 5), I thought it was a losing position because I didn’t see that taking six coins from the larger pile produced (5, 3), since the larger pile became the smaller pile in that move. So the “simplification” I introduced, of specifying one pile as larger, while not wrong, made it easier for me to make a mistake. It helped to break my mental model by suggesting an identity for the piles (“larger” or “smaller”) that isn’t persistent, but depends on the progress of the game. Will try not to do that again!

EDIT 2: Revised the original spread sheet showing the rows that I had calculated wrongly, and producing a correct game state table.

Another week of being *fairly* confident about this week’s Riddler Classic. (Bolstered by getting exactly the right answer for the last one I did, if by a slightly inefficient method.)

The puzzle is a coin-picking game, with the usual aim of taking the last coins, but the unusual condition of having two coin stacks:

# Moving the Electoral Needle

Labour took one hell of a beating, and they’re electing a new leader. Those in favour of continuity sometimes produce figures aiming to show that continuity is fine, and can bring victory.

So here are four graphs of things that might matter, versus the number of seats won. One of these is not like the other three.

# Understanding Cash-Settled Futures

## What is This?

This spread sheet is my own attempt to show how the collateral flow to or from a clearing house works. I created it about five years ago when I was working at a bank, and needed to explain the relationships between different quantities, and how they are calculated.

If you have a rough idea of how futures work, and want to see a detailed example, this post might help. If you don’t know what futures are, this won’t help, but Wikipedia’s intro might.

# Box Diets – the Good and the Bad

# Riddler Classic, January 3 2020

Initially I thought this week’s Classic puzzle might be too tough to solve without some serious insights, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like I might be able to break it down to manageable pieces.