My Dad went though a period where he played a lot of FreeCell, an interest which eventually gave way to Sudoku, and probably something else by now. Anyway, Dad, I thought this was a really neat article:
Dave Ring is a hard man to find. Given that he launched one of the earliest crowdsourced internet projects—if not the first—one would expect Ring to be something of an online superstar. He was using group power before Huffington had a Post, back when Amazon was just a river.
But when you Google his name—the smell test of millennial relevancy—our Dave is buried beneath Dave Ring the stand-up comedian, Dave Ring the editorial consultant, and Dave Ring the mentally disabled televangelist. Perhaps the web has obscured Dave Ring the internet revolutionary because his project was, from the most straightforward perspective, a bust. In the summer of ’94, Ring led 110 online comrades to beat a video game called FreeCell. They lost.
It kind of goes into the math of FreeCell, and how Dave Ring organized an effort to determine whether each and every hand of FreeCell was theoretically winnable.
So when that final push on No. 11,982—an effort aided by humans and even a handful of game-solving programs—met with failure, Ring celebrated. Is every hand in FreeCell winnable? No. Thirty-one thousand nine hundred ninety-nine hands are winnable. And one isn’t. He proved that. He had solved one mystery of the universe.
Just a fun little piece.