Archive for January, 2008


Found in a book of baby names:

Zale – (Greek) Strength from the sea.


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… on the other hand, there was Mr Hand Solo, who singlehandedly debunked the idiom that it takes two hands to clap.

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winded by windmills

It’s been close to a month since my last post, and one of the major reasons is that my creative impetus was fixated on a rather consuming programming phase: trying to create a Sudoku solver in MS Excel (without using macros or VB).

I’m not a sudoku fan; I find that it doesn’t take much skill; effort yes, but not skill. It just involves some rather tedious elimination and a bit of logical thinking. Which is why I embarked on this Excel project in the first place: because I felt that such routine task should be easily handled by a simple computer program.

I chose Excel because I had zero programming experience and couldn’t be bothered to go learn a programming language. Also Excel’s functions seemed to be sufficient for the purpose. And I didn’t want it to be like other programs which solved the puzzles using search algorithms. I wanted to create a program that followed as closely as possible a human’s thought processes when solving the puzzle.

It seemed a rather quixotic task then, and it still does now, but for different reasons. When I first started, I thought the Excel part would be easy but coming up with the algorithms would be hard, since I had no prior programming experience but have worked with Excel worksheets for quite a while. Turns out, it’s the other way round. The algorithms are fairly easy, but implementing them in Excel is incredibly exhausting!

Spreadsheets are just NOT for programming… (ok, I guess you knew that already) (more…)

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