Web Paint-by-Number Forum
Topic #1001: Reconstructing the lost puzzles
By Kristen Vognild (kristen)

#1: Kristen Vognild (kristen) on Aug 2, 2016

Here's the list of every puzzle on the site. http://webpbn.com/t/
The lost puzzles ran from 25206 to 28019.

A few of us have already started searching for our old puzzles, in order to recreate them. My question is: would it be difficult to create a writable spreadsheet, which would allow users to add the old names and titles, making it easier for folks to search for their puzzles? Plus a column to check off when a puzzle has been recreated on the site, with its new number?

Many hands make light work. :)
#2: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Aug 2, 2016
Excellent idea Kristen. The thought of opening up almost 3000 PDFs looking for my puzzles is a bit daunting. How would it work?
#3: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Aug 2, 2016
Those interested could start an excel spreadsheet with the affected numbers. We could each be assigned a block of say 100 puzzles, identify the authors, then email an attachment to an administrator who could post them. Shampoo, rinse, repeat.
#4: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Aug 2, 2016
I'll start us off with 25207-25299.
#5: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Aug 2, 2016
That didn't take too long. Excel auto completes duplicate entries. You only have to type the first few letters and hit enter once you have entered the name once. I'm using N/P for no puzzle.
#6: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Aug 2, 2016
I'll time my next 100.
I'll do 25300-25399
#7: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Aug 2, 2016
About 20 minutes.
#8: Carol Brand (KarylAnn) on Aug 2, 2016
It might be easier to upload them to the Files section of the Webpbn Facebook page.
#9: Jota (jota) on Aug 2, 2016
I'm doing 27920 to 28019
#10: Jota (jota) on Aug 2, 2016
The loading of the puzzles is Sooo sloow , I only did 12 but will continue tomorrow.
#11: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Aug 2, 2016
#12: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Aug 2, 2016
I've identified the authorship of almost 300 puzzles. Can someone walk me through a way of sharing it?
#13: Norma Dee (norm0908) on Aug 2, 2016
Would this work?
#14: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Aug 3, 2016
Where would we have to save it to so that everyone could have access?
#15: Carol Brand (KarylAnn) on Aug 3, 2016
As I mentioned before Brian, I think you can upload the files to the Webpbn Facebook page easily enough. Yes, everyone would have to be on Facebook and be a member of the Webpbn group but once there you can easily access the files.
#16: Jota (jota) on Aug 3, 2016
12 more very slow!
I do think the FB page for the group is a good vehicle!
I'll try putting my 24 and see.
#17: Al LaPointe (kancamagus) on Aug 3, 2016
I'll start 26501-26600 and see how it goes. I'll post result to fb and someone would have to integrate it into Brian's spreadsheet, I think... If there's a more direct way to integrate, let me know!
#18: Al LaPointe (kancamagus) on Aug 3, 2016
What are we trying to recover? It seems that the author, title, and date are all necessary to populate the database. I would just like to avoid going back in a second time for this info. Any thoughts?
#19: Jota (jota) on Aug 3, 2016
I did Title and Author from 27920-28917, the spreadsheet is now on FB.
If you guys want to email yours to me, I'll consolidate.
#20: Valerie Mates (valerie) on Aug 18, 2016
I just found this thread. There is also a discussion on Facebook about how to restore the lost puzzles. We have some volunteers who have written programs that can read the PDF files and get out the information about who created the puzzle and what its title is. The programs can read the clues, too. The hard part is solving them, which can sometimes be done by a solver program, but not always. In order to add a puzzle back into the database, we would need its solution.

So my thinking is to do it like this:
1) Have someone write and run a program to read the PDFs to get out this information.
2) Then I'd put that information into a database.
3) For any puzzles that can be solved by a solver program, we will have it do that, and I would restore those puzzles to the database.
4) For the remaining puzzles, volunteers would be able to claim them and solve them, then enter the solutions into the database. Then they would run a program that would identify the puzzle as one of the lost ones, and it would be marked as restored.

I think that would work.

The current bumps in the road are (1) I'm having trouble reaching the people who wrote programs that can read the PDFs, and (2) until my kids go back to school, I am extremely short on computer time. (They start school on September 6th.)
#21: Valerie Mates (valerie) on Aug 18, 2016
A couple of people were thinking about ways to share a spreadsheet between people who were entering puzzle info. I suggest using a Google Docs spreadsheet -- it works great for that type of thing.

However, if we can get a program to read the PDFs automatically, then I don't think we need to ask people to do it.
#22: Kristen Vognild (kristen) on Aug 18, 2016
I've been solving and resubmitting my own lost puzzles. It's a tedious process, but it's nice to see my old puzzles out there again. I was thinking of tackling Aldege's puzzles next, since he doesn't solve his own, but a SolveBot would be even better. :)
#23: Norma Dee (norm0908) on Aug 18, 2016
Wonderful news. I'll be watching for more info.
#24: Jota (jota) on Aug 20, 2016
And I'm available for anything needed!
#25: Janez (Janez) on Aug 21, 2016
Well, I love this site and I already solved a lot of puzzles.
If needed I'm available too.

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