13 March 2008

Did you know?

Did you know that there are 65,536 rows available to use in an Excel spreadsheet? I didn't know, either, until I accidentally hit something on my keyboard, and the cursor jumped all the way to the very last row . . . and then there was just grey space. No additional rows would appear, no matter what I did to try and make them appear.

Who knew?

1 comment:

math jedi said...

65,536 = 2^16. In other words, that's the largest possible number that can be stored in 16 bits. So apparently Excel uses a 16-bit variable to keep track of the row number.

Similiarly, the maximum possible score on Contra for the original NES was 6,553,500. Apparently it used a 16-bit variable (actually most likely two 8-bit variables, since the NES was an 8-bit system) to keep track of your score, and then tacks on two zeroes to the display (and it's 6,553,500 instead of 6,553,600 because the 65536th possibility is a score of zero).

No, I was never good enough at Contra to get a score that high, even using up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-b-a. I remember reading in Nintendo Power magazine when they had a column where people would send in their best scores and get their names published in the magazine, and the top scores in Contra were always 6,553,500. Scary thing is (although it's not scary at all if you know me), this thought process of me seeing those high scores and logically deducing that they must be stored in 16 bits happened when I was about 13 years old.

It's Pi Day, and I haven't been spectacularly nerdy yet today. (Actually, yesterday was Pi Day because it's after midnight, but I haven't gone to bed yet so it doesn't count.)