An RPG in Excel is Superior to a Boss Switch Every Time

Arena xlsm

In a move that shows exactly how an ingenious mind and ingenuity can stretch the limits of our mundane office applications, Cary Walkin, a Canadian accountant in Toronto, Canada has created a full-functioning role-playing game within Microsoft Excel. Just so the gravity of this accomplishment is clear, the game features:

  • Over 2000 possible random enemies with different AI abilities
  • An interesting story with 4 different endings, depending on how the player has played the game.
  • 8 boss encounters, each with their own tactics.
  • 31 spells
  • 15 Unique items – each having special properties – can only drop from specific enemies
  • 4 pre-programmed arenas followed by procedurally generated arenas, ensuring that each play-through has its own challenges.

It’s pretty impressive stuff and definitely deserves a play through. Kudos, Cary!

Oh, and for those of you unfamiliar with boss-switches, here is a good example.

iPhone 5 Coming to T-Mobile (Guess That AT&T Merger Wasn’t Necessary?)

iPhone 5After years on the market, T-Mobile will finally be getting the latest iteration of Cupertino’s little “engine that could”. The bigger surprise move is the shift away from a subsidized plan. However, all is not as it seems.

Typically with a carrier, the cost of these complex and costly smartphones is encumbered through the contractual agreement with the consumer. With T-Mobile’s plan, the device’s initial cost will be $99, which is essentially a down payment. The remaining cost of the phone is picked up through a contractual arrangement where the buyer pays $20 over a period of 24 months. The difference is that once that 24 months is up, the consumer’s monthly costs go down. With most other wireless carriers, the subsidy costs continue throughout the lifetime of service.

I know some folks are excited about the prospect of additional carrier options for a 4G LTE device that is near the cutting edge, so I will be curious to see how many adopters and carrier-switchers T-Mobile can pick up when the phone becomes available on April 12, 2013 (pre-orders will begin on April 4, 2013).

Researchers Get Data to Approach the Speed of Light, but that Constant May Be a Princess in Another Castle

Austin xmas tree at capitol
Ryan Gallagher

In a story that will probably get latency junkies hurriedly excited, it was announced through a research paper that a fiber network was created that allowed for the transmission of data that traveled at 99.7% of the speed of light. The team of researchers at the University of Southampton in England did so by creating air-filled fiber optic cables. The data they sent through these cables did so at a mind-blowing bandwidth of 10 terabytes per second.

That’s almost fast enough to stop my Hulu playback on my Playstation 3 to stop stuttering when I watch episodes of Family Guy or The Office

In the ExtremeTech article, they mention the fact that “the speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 meters per second, or 186,282 miles per second”. However, that may not be true.

In an unrelated article that was published today, universities in both Germany and France have begun to question whether the speed of light is as constant as Einstein and pioneers before him thought it was. In the research by the two universities, a better understanding of vacuums indicate that some of the long-standing beliefs about their characteristics may be disputable. This is due to the presence and absence of particles on a quantum level.

Of course, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the original mechanisms and methods used to measure the speed of light in the first place