One of the neighbor kids showed off a new web site called Peter Answers, which describes itself as a “Virtual Tarot.” Erin came home raving about it but I’ll be darned if it worked for us when we tried it. I assumed it was grabbing data from Google and making educated guesses about the answers, but I couldn’t get it to work at home.
Then the kid came over to our place tonight and I saw it in action. It was pretty obvious there was some trick because it was giving answers that were VERY specific, and nothing that would be on Google. So I did a quick Google search of my own and figured out the trick.
How does Peter Answers Work? Just like this:
There are two text entry boxes that you complete when you ask a question. The first is called the petition, and you are directed to type the phrase “Peter, please answer:” or “Peter, please answer the following question:”
Then in the second box you actually type your question, such as the question my son just asked which was “When was the last time I farted?”. After you hit the question mark it will spit out the answer, which should be spookily accurate.
The trick to Peter Answers is that the person typing the question, but most importantly the petition, knows how this works. What they do is when they are typing in the petition field they are actually typing in the answer they want Peter to give, but the text that it shows them typing will be “Peter, please answer:” or “Peter, please answer the following question:”. Since when other people type in the petition box it types what they actually type, how does the trickster actually type the answer? By starting by typing a period, then the answer, then another period then the rest of the petition as required. When you type the first period everything you type up until the next period is the answer that Peter will spill out, but the text that shows as typing on the screen will be the normal petition.
Peter Answer the fortune teller is really quite ingenious and the kids were totally freaked out. I was able to get back at the neighbor kid by using VNC to remotely ask a question while she was sitting at the keyboard, which totally blew her mind. Unfortunetly my son knows that trick and spilled the beans.
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