It’s been happening for longer time. I’m getting stupid. As in “not clever”. I’m learning new ways to solve specific problems, but my general problem-solving skills are very bad nowadays (in the timeframe of several years, not specifically at the moment (actually work helps a bit, I guess)).
I used to be good at solving easy problems that many people get stuck at.
Let me give you an example… There are two ways of making a thumbnail from a picture:
In the first one, you get width and height of the original picture and the boundaries (width, height) into which the thumbnail must fit. You resize the picture so as to preserve the width/height ratio. What is the width and height of the thumbnail?
The second one is trickier, but still falls into “must be easy” category:
Again, you start with width and height of the original picture, and width and height into which the thumbnail must fit. The difference is that now you must fill the whole thumbnail and cut off the exceeding parts. Suppose you want to have the thumbnail in the center. What are the left x-coordinate/y-coordinate and width/height of the area to cut the thumbnail from the original picture?
In case you say that I’m so dumb I can’t even describe the task, here’s a picture that (hopefully) explains everything.
Ok, now go and solve it. Seriously, take a pencil and paper, or fire up your favourite text editor and solve it. In case you “know it’s trivial but can’t be bothered to solve it”, don’t even bother to read on.
This kind of problem that doesn’t require (almost) any prior knowledge and has simple input and simple output is the kind of problem which used to be much easier for me to solve than for most people. Well, not anymore. And I wonder — can I do anything about it?
I thought that various logical puzzles might be a good way to force my brain to learn to solve problems again. So I searched a bit and found some excellent puzzles: blue eyes, three hats, and prisoners with hats in a long row (of course the comments under the post are wrong). The puzzles do not require any kind of “trick” to solve.
PS: Please don’t post solutions to the thumbnail problem. If you solved it, you know you solved it. If you are not sure, you haven’t solved it.