Herbie in Portugese

Came down this morning to find the kids watching Herbie-fully loaded in Portuguese. It was about halfway through, the kids were glued to the telly, our kids don’t speak Portuguese.

Of course if you ask them ‘do you know how to use the DVD player?’ they say yes.

A bit like those Excel users you find using a calculator to add the numbers up and typing the total in a cell.

Anyone got other classic spreadsheet (or DVD) misuse stories?




6 Responses to “Herbie in Portugese”

  1. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    Well, in the early of the 90’s I was in contact with a corporate where one co-worker had the status of “Excel guru”. His boss and himself showed me a workbook created by the “guru” to convince me that they didn’t need my services. I noted that he only used formulas like =A1+A2+A3+A4 etc. I asked them how he created SUM formulas for larger cell ranges. He admitted it was a little bit time consuming to add the cells up with “+” but he had made several templates enabling him to “cut & paste” between workbooks. When I showed them how to use the SUM function the meeting came to a quick end. They never called me again…

    Kind regards,

  2. Marcus Says:

    It’s not spreadsheets, but it’s in a similar vein…

    I spent 2 to 3 evenings a week over six months maintaining a series of Word templates for a Patent Attorney firm a few years back.

    The code would retrieve text from a central database, insert it where appropriate and format. Any time text was formatted, it was done with a large slab of VBA code. This was everywhere, so a simple request to change footnotes to Times New Roman, Size 11 Italic meant wholesale changes.

    When it came time for a hand-over back to the original coder I asked him about his approach. He cited that Word was a piece of S#!t, and there wasn’t any other way. His jaw literally dropped after I demonstrated paragraph styles.

    Cheers – Marcus

  3. Roger Says:

    The previous owner of the small company that I work for, had his so called IT/IS guy go around and uninstall any part of Office that people were not using. Eight out ten people had him take off Word. They use Excel as their word processor. PP was never installed because the owner saw no use for it. Now, we have a new owner and things have progressed forward somewhat, but some people still insist on using Excel as their word processor and as Simon mentioned, I still see many people here, while in the middle of a simple Excel session, grab their calculators and add numbers together and then enter them into their spreadsheet.

  4. Harlan Grove Says:

    The metaphor isn’t quite correct. You kids presumably have seen the movie repeatedly, so they know the lines. Hearing it in Portuguese might have been a refreshing change. IOW, it’s only a mistake if they were willing to admit they didn’t want to listen to it in Portuguese.

    Way, way back I had co-workers who’d staple calculator tapes to spreadsheet printouts confirming that the sums were correct. As I recall, they would have claimed that wasn’t unnecessarily redundant (and pointless) but that it was a necessary step to build confidence in the spreadsheet models.

    Roger: so what USEFUL purpose does PowerPoint serve?

  5. Roger Says:

    Harlan, for one we get PP from customers and we need to view them. The old owner designated one persons PC could have just the viewer. To me, since PP was paid for as part of the Office bundle, why not go ahead and install it on the PCs. Two, we were required by the customer to create PP presentations from time to time. The old owner finally relented and let me put PP on my PC since I knew how to create a simple presentation.

  6. Jon Peltier Says:

    I used to use PowerPoint as a read-only reporting tool. I’d fill it with charts and tables from Excel, pasted as pictures, and give it to my boss and his boss, secure in the knowledge that the data was not editable in that format. It was a good reporting tool for that audience too, lots of nice pictures, not too many words.

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