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Newsletter Archive

RANDOM.ORG Newsletter #3
"Last Double iPod Giveaway (This Time Around)"

28 May 2009

Dear Newsletter Subscriber,

Welcome to the third issue of the new RANDOM.ORG newsletter!  In case
you are no longer interested in randomness or RANDOM.ORG, you will
find an unsubscribe link at the end of this email.  If you would like
to learn more (and get the chance to win an iPod), read on.


Giveaway #2 Complete! 

About two weeks ago, there was a double giveaway for a total of two
iPod Shuffles.  The drawing was completed on 17 May 2009 and two lucky
winners were picked.  The first was Max from New Jersey in the USA and
the second was Leonardus from Jakarta in Indonesia.  Congratulations!
Shiny new iPods are on their way to you.
Because the giveaway was held as an entrant-accessible drawing using
RANDOM.ORG's Third-Party Draw Service, you can go to the record and
use your email address to verify that you were really entered.  Here
is the record of the drawing:

It is very easy to hold your own drawings using RANDOM.ORG's
Third-Party Draw Service.  Here is how:


How to Use RANDOM.ORG: Random Allocation of Gliders - With Excitement!

Many groups of people are using RANDOM.ORG for randomly allocating
resources between them, but sometimes it is done in ways that you
might not expect.  This week I got an email from one of my former
computer science professors Eric Jul who is an avid glider pilot.
Eric explained that his gliding club uses RANDOM.ORG to draw lots
about who gets to fly which glider.  Being a fellow computer
scientist, Eric also pointed out that you might expect the club
members to use an efficient way of doing this, but in fact, they had
come up with a way that wasn't the fastest, but which they found was
much more exciting.

So, let's say you have N club members who need to allocate the club's
gliders between them.  There are different glider models, some of
which have one seat and others which have two seats.  Not every member
has the same preference, and some can only fly some types of gliders.
The fastest way of using RANDOM.ORG to decide who gets to pick first
would be to enter everybody's member numbers (or names) into
RANDOM.ORG's List Randomizer:

RANDOM.ORG would then give you a list with everyone's member numbers in
random order.  The person at the top of the list would get first pick,
number two would get second pick, etc.  Very easy, but also not a very
exciting way of drawing lots during a club meeting.

Instead, Eric's club has devised a way where everyone gets their own
random number.  During the morning briefing meeting, they project the
RANDOM.ORG web page on to a screen, and the duty instructor picks a
number between 1 and 100, using the random number widget on the main
RANDOM.ORG page -- a one click operation.  The random number is
written on the whiteboard next to the first member's number, and the
process is repeated for the next member.  The lower your random number
is, the sooner you get to pick your glider.  If you draw a 7 early on,
you may feel confident that you'll get first pick, but you won't know
for sure until everyone has picked their number...  Someone might pick
1-6 and grab the first spot from you!  In this way, there is suspense
till the very last person's number has been picked.

The RANDOM.ORG widget picks numbers with replacement (like the roll of
a die), so each random number can occur multiple times, and two club
members might get the same number.  When this happens, the duty
instructor resolves the tie between these two by rolling again.  The
one with the lower number becomes first of the two, but they both
retain their original place in the line.  Here is a photo of Chief
First Instructor Jens Hansen next to the data projector during a
meeting of the glider club:

The photo was taken by Eric in April 2009.  Thanks to Eric for the story
and best of luck with the gliding!


Another Double iPod Giveway This Week

This week will feature the last double iPod giveaway for now.  Two winners
will be picked, and each will receive an iPod Shuffle.  Each iPod will be
engraved with a unique true random bit pattern generated by RANDOM.ORG.
(Rather geeky, I know!)

To enter this week's giveaway, simply click on this link:

The drawing for the two iPods will be held on Wednesday, 3 June 2009.
The winners will be contacted by email, and a link to the record of
the drawing will appear here:
No purchase is necessary to enter into this drawing, and the iPods will
be shipped free of cost to the winners anywhere in the world.  (You may
have to pay import duty, if any.)


Future Giveaways

Only current subscribers to the RANDOM.ORG newsletter can enter this  
week's giveaway.  If you have friends who are interested, tell them to
sign up for the newsletter, and they will be invited to participate in
future giveaways:


Yours randomly,
Dr. Mads Haahr <>  |  Lecturer in Computer Science
Department of Computer Science         |  Phone: +353 1 896 1540
Trinity College Dublin                 |  Web:

This newsletter is copyright 2009 by Mads Haahr
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