Archive for June, 2008

UK Excel User Conf

Saturday, 28th June, 2008

I’ve had a few enquiries about a possible event this year.

I have no current plans to organise an event, but would be happy to help anyone else who fancies it. I’m not sure if anyone else is currently working on an event?

If you are up for it give me a shout. Also if you work for a well financed corporation who might stand to gain by raising the profile of Excel and would be interested in underwriting/sponsoring/hosting the event then get in touch too.



Office News

Wednesday, 25th June, 2008

I often follow the Office News section on Office Zealot (is it just me or is that the slowest site on t’intarweb since they moved it to SP?).

They have lots of good content, but I have noticed actually very little of it really relates to Office. I don’t think that’s a failing on their behalf, I actually think there isn’t very much Office news.

What do you think?

Is there a torrent of fresh exciting Office news somewhere I’m missing. Or is it about as exciting as the pens and paper it replaced 20 odd years ago?




Tuesday, 24th June, 2008

Great post here especially for those of us concerned that SharePoint is stealing some of the limelight from the real office apps.

By real I mean the tools that people use to actually do their work, rather than talk about/ share work.

(Excel – yes, Access – yes, Word – spose so, Outlook – no not really, etc)

Are you using/installing sharepoint?



Campaign for XLM

Wednesday, 18th June, 2008

I have been doing a load of XLM work the last few days. Its brilliant!

So many of us have made the leap to VBA (and it is a leap from spreadsheet formula type stuff) that XLM is completely overlooked now.

Thats a shame because for real User Defined Functions, once you get over the =ARGUMENT/=RESULT hurdle XLM is way way more accessible to your average Excel user. And its a boatload faster than VBA too.

I do remember when I first looked at XLM many years ago and it made my head explode. A decent book would probably have fixed that though. Now when I use it it seems more intuitive than VBA, and much much less verbose. Ages ago I posted about having User Defined Functions sheets, I reckon XLM macro sheets answer most of my requests.

I have always avoided VBA UDFS because they kill performance when calculation is set to auto (and I’m not a manual calc fan). XLM UDFS on the other hand are fast. I have had thousands in a workbook on auto calc – you just can’t do that with VBA.

The only real downside is lack of folks with XLM skills, I’d feel bad about locking a client into something that so few people could maintain.

Anyone else still using XLM? Any one interested in a post about XLM UDFs? Got any simple VBA UDFs you want converting to XLM? (leave VBA as a comment)



Leave as is

Wednesday, 11th June, 2008

Eusprig season is upon us, its time to get on our high horses and poke fun at other peoples blunders. (2 things instantly spring to mind from that sentence:

  1. its always time to poke fun at other peoples blunders
  2. Out of my office window I see someone has put a horse in our nextdoor neighbours garden)

Anyway back on topic, I was sent this screenshot from a City financial institution:

Leave as is



Eusprig 2008

Monday, 9th June, 2008

Its coming soon – 10-12 July.

Biggus Dickus is one of the presenters, having seen him speak before I’m looking forward to his presentation. Nearly as much as I’m looking forward to the timekeeper trying to get him off after his allotted time! I’m thinking of starting an Encore, Encore! chant so we can hear his wrap up.

I think it will be another excellent event this year, having reviewed some of the papers. there still seems plenty of new interesting research and thinking around spreadsheet quality.

I think there will be some sort of pre conference event on the Wednesday with possibly some sort of spreadsheet safety test, or error hunt. Worst score buys the beers for the night! (expect a big night)

If you are planning on coming along leave a comment with time, so we can arrange to meet up for drinks. I’m planning on getting there Wednesday early/mid afternoon I reckon. I think this will be the third time in Greenwich so I’m hoping to get lost slightly less than previously.



Freee eee pcs

Sunday, 8th June, 2008

I had heard about broadband providers potentially offering Eee pcs free to subscribers, but this article looks a bit deeper.

What is frightening is that I was planning (in the loosest sense ;-)) to move more into Web development, and one of my big marketing ideas was to give away a (Eee) pc with each decent sized project. Looks like that wasn’t as original as I thought.

What do you think, will these sub notebooks become the freebie that gets dropped on you for every service you subscribe to? A bit like those crappy ISDN modems that I have stacked in my ‘should have been binned ages ago’ basket.

I suppose that exactly what happens with mobile phones, its a few hundred quid bit of kit that gets given away with a 12/18 month contract. The only issue is whether there are services as lucrative as mobiles that are applicable to sub notebooks (Rob objection to laptot noted and accepted). That are better than sitting in Starbucks drinking their coffee and using their broadband.

I’d be very interested in a dual sim service where I get one for a handset and one for a sub nb. All for a single sensible monthly fee.

I resent paying 2 monthly rents when we don’t even have mobile reception at my house. (I’d be very very interested in a sensibly priced mobile phone that can use my landline or internet connection when in range of my home router. BT claim to have one but it didn’t meet the sensible price requirement last time I looked.)

Would you be interested in combining your mobile phone and pc connections/contracts for mobile internet surfing?  and would you need a ‘free’ Eee class bung to make up your mind?



Excel jobs

Friday, 6th June, 2008

I tripped over a couple of open jobs in the Excel team the other day from here. You have to select Excel then search as its all session based so if I gave a direct link it would be expired. You did know Microsoft are not world leaders in search right?

Sadly the daily commute from Carlisle would make Redmond almost (!) unrealistic for me – I would have to set off before I got home… but I reckon working in that team would be great. All the folks I’ve met have been smart, enthusiastic and really switched on.

The VSTO team are also looking, that would be pretty interesting work too I reckon. I’ve met a few of them too and they seem to be going places.

I couldn’t find any effluent UI jobs – I reckon it would be easy to shine in that team -‘yes I have actually used MS Office in the real world…’. Or perhaps the jobs are there but hidden away using the same ‘logic’ they used in Excel. Self selecting?

I didn’t check for Access jobs, but that could be good too, it seems to have a (deserved) new lease of life recently.

Let us know if you get lucky




Thursday, 5th June, 2008

The new approved word for Asus Eee class machine, of which there is an explosion. Some of which look better than the new Eee900/901.

I’m already planning my exit strategy from this one in preparation for one of these. 200 quid is just over our weekly fuel bill, so park the car up for a week and win a laptot. can’t say fairer than that!

I can then use this Eee to bribe the kids to make up for the fact we never took them anywhere all week, everyones a winner!

Anyone else planning on picking up one? Which OS? Its Linux for me, although I’d quite like Ubuntu rather than these vendor specific versions.



Windows XP meow

Wednesday, 4th June, 2008

More lives than your average

a cat

Perhaps we should rename in Frankendows – the Windows they could not kill?

At this rate it will outlast Vista, its now going to be available for small cheap lappers and desktops till 2010 (XP that is not Vista!)

I find this whole thing fascinating. On the one hand MS have been yapping on for years about software as a service. They rebuilt their whole dev tool stack for the web world and prepared for browser based access to ‘the cloud’ (real name ‘the fog’ c JP).

On the other hand they have continued to increase the client hardware requirements to run their basic OS.

Its like they have 2 opposing factions the world-finally-going-thin-client gang and the eye-candy-squander-resources-gang (very very likely related to the effluent ui team ;-)).

I think the thin client gang are heading for major bragging rights, what do you think?

Mind you if the thin client folks have been predicting this since the 90’s (they have, if not earlier), you can understand some people losing patience. It’s like all those pundits forecasting a housing crash (/’price correction’) – they’re all saying ‘I told you so’ this last couple of months, but the reality is they have been whining on for the best part of 10 years, and have been consistently wrong until the last few months.