Posts for 02/2008

29 February 2008 - 12:02

Access goodies

It has been an in depth Access training time this week.  So all kinds of goodies came up of course.

Data validation for variable alphanumeric string

One participant had a alphanumeric field and wanted to ensure that data entry was between 10 and 18 characters - and as of course text characters could be added, some simple number validation wouldn’t work.
I haven’t actually come to terms with input masks, e.g. if it would be possible to determine a range of minimum and maximum characters with it, I’d suggest to solve this puzzle by using a Data Validation Rule in the fields’ properties and adding this:

Len([FieldName])<=10 And Len([FieldName])<=18

You can actually use functions against the same field you’re entering data in - it doesn’t work always, but this one does.  And of course as always, for data entry you’re better off with a form to start with anyway.

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24 February 2008 - 10:24

Table Captions and CSS

I was about to call this ‘CSS frustrations’ :-)
Because even for the greatest & most enthusiastic CSS loyalists amongst us, there are days where you just hear yourself saying: ‘my God, why does this need to be so complicated?’…
Too bad Internet Explorer so often has to take up the role of the devil :-)

Take table captions e.g. - there are some great things you can do with tables (yes they still do have a lot of ‘usefulness’ !) and of course adding a caption to your table not only provides accessible code, but also provides the ideal make-up for your CSS touches.

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22 February 2008 - 09:31

Working with Access in a multi user environment

Here are some links which I’ve found useful to better understand and implement the process of setting up an Access database in a multi-user environment:

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20 February 2008 - 10:07

Office 2007

Yes it’s a kind of earth quake in terms of user interface....
I’m referring here to Microsoft’s Office 2007 release and I see both experienced and basic users struggling with it - a bit proportionally I suppose with the number of years they’ve been using the previous releases.

I’ve recently found these helpful links to the Microsoft Office website, offering either a flash online and interactive presentation or some excel ribbon mapping workbooks -
a true help in making the bridge between the office 2003 and office 2007 commands !

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18 February 2008 - 06:33

HasLayout

Had to tackle a couple of weird issues related to the CSS coding for a design mockup I did recently.
It turned out to be a combination of a ‘Margin Collapsing’ issue with one of those famous hasLayout phenomenologies in IE.

So I bumped onto a nice explanation on this IE rendering logic, where I found something I’d never seen before: some small Javascript code with which to check whether your container is having layout or not. Quite useful indeed:

javascript:alert(id_of_element.currentStyle.hasLayout)

Some comments on the article are available here.

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13 February 2008 - 15:29

Are you amazed?

This is a question I love asking myself.
One of the biggest wonders to me seems our capacity to be amazed - at each moment actually there are occasions presenting themselves to us to practice this extra-ordinary state of mind.
Or should I say: ordinary state of mind?
Because isn’t this one of our original innate characteristics which we have lost so that we now classify it as extra-ordinary?

Just some thoughts which came up and which I can share through this wonderful medium of the internet, as I got one of these famous pps mails with a link to the work of a very young Belgian author, Kris Verburgh, writing about ‘Amazement’ - indeed truly amazing what the force of youth can do.
His work is in Dutch though, just as most of his blog about the wonder of science and philosophy, but the translation of Amazement is truly beautiful : ver-wondering - i.e. seeing the wonder in everything.

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08 February 2008 - 16:22

Summary task questions in MS Project

Two questions remained echoing in my mind after a MS Project course this week.

Sometimes, like when you export stuff to MS Excel which doesn’t have an outline system as MS Project, it’s handy if you could hide the summary tasks - how to do that?
Well I couldn’t come to terms with it immediately; there’s a possibility to add the field ‘Summary’ to a table; you can then filter on this field which has a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ - the ‘Yes’ works, but the ‘No’, yeekes no it won’t do the job :(-
Sometimes the answer is plain simple: after a short search I actually realised you can simply un-tick Summary Tasks from Tools/Options/View - and presto.

hiding Project summary tasks

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07 February 2008 - 16:41

Safari for windows

I had been very pleased to grab a copy of the Safari beta version from the very moment it was launched…
Finally ! There was a possibility to enhance my CSS development and check my work on a Windows platform against the most famous browser on the Mac system.

But ... the very first beta versions were horrible and didn’t render the fonts properly.... Luckily enough that was solved soon ...
Till somewhere by the end of last year an update to the latest version broke the festive mood again.... I got a systematic crash when launching the program ever since.

I tried all kind of things, searched the net, but had to give it up - it doesn’t happen so much, but I really had to give in on this one.
Till today, where I found my solution on an Apple discussion forum, via the Apple Development server.
Finally !

So when you have this as an error/problem:

AppName: safari.exe AppVer: 3.523.12.9 ModName: webkit.dll
ModVer: 3.523.12.9 Offset: 0008a039

the solution for me was hidden in this friendly message from China:

Re: Safari crashes on opening - Safari for windows - Posted: Dec 18, 2007 5:58 PM in response to: TabbRock
Hi, everyone! Yesterday I tried to delete some fonts in my windows XP, and Safari worked again. I don’t know why, those fonts were all Latin fonts, not Chinese fonts.

I went through my fonts, knew I had been installing Helvetica fonts, and removed them temporarily - there was one indeed corrupt or so triggering the whole saga…

“Gosh ! Why does this need to be so complex all the time” is a phrase I hear myself often thinking - even here the king of the usability doesn’t go out free…
But then again : what a wonder the internet is, each and every day, again and again…
Blessings to China and to TabbRock !

PS : if you are on a non English version of Windows, this web post might save your day too…

06 February 2008 - 15:33

Maharishi Yogi

Today I read the news of Maharishi Yogi’s passing away yesterday.
Doesn’t ring a bell to most people. But when you say : he was the Beatles’ guru teaching them meditation at the time, most people go like ‘ah...’.
I’ve never been a disciple of his teachings, but I am a meditator - a person integrating meditation in his daily life activities.
Maharishi Yogi
30 years ago it started - it was still a time where you were considered ‘weird’ if you told you were interested in meditation.  But that’s perhaps still a bit the case today, it depends - but times have changed on this matter for sure.
Maharishi definitely has contributed to that in the West.  But that’s not the point I want to make here.

No just a hearty thanks, as I remember so clearly that one of the very first books opening my mind on the topic of meditation was by the hand of a Dutch doctor and practitioner Drs. N.M. Wijngaards, ‘Wat is Transcendente Meditatie’? (What’s Transcendental Meditation ?).  The book describes the benefits of meditation, what it is, some techniques, but also how meditation actually contributes in world transformation. A daring concept developed by Maharishi.
And although my path took other directions, this concept has always kept on resonating within… so yes his passing away touched me and so just felt like putting the cover up here.
As a silent remembrance, honoring what greatness of a mind can achieve. 

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05 February 2008 - 11:42

CSS3 sample

CSS3 brings in many new features - like multiple background images and attribute selectors.
I hadn’t realised this one: Overriding The Default Text Selection Color With CSS.

Enough to mention it and someone - in this case Erik Kastner from Metaatem.net - is bound to make something nice out of it: Fun with highlights ; and why not upgrade it into a sample case of what PHP and CSS3 combined can do - really love the ‘statement’ : Highlight application.

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04 February 2008 - 10:58

Modern Web Design with CSS

Little by little I’ve seen an increase here (that’s Belgium at the moment :-) ) in the awareness that CSS is really the way forward for modern web design / development.
However many companies & organisations haven’t come to the point yet to fully embrace the CSS road - yes it may be taken on board, e.g. as some ‘quick styling method’ or so, but there’s still a long way to go.

Training is interesting field which give you some indications; for many companies e.g. ‘Training’ is still a kind of necessary ‘cost’ ; it’s not really seen as a necessary ‘investment’ - like computers of furniture, to just mention anything.
Likewise, not so many companies and organisations have come to the point to realise CSS to what point CSS is a science and philosophy where Training is an essential step to take.

Also web developers who did take the road may have to confront following chart which I come across here and there; haven’t come to terms who or where it was originally published:
modern web design

A bit exaggerated perhaps, but isn’t it a sign of good health when one can have laugh with the ‘state of affairs’? It definitely helps in keeping up with the ‘right’ track !

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03 February 2008 - 13:46

Available formatting and available styles in Word

word available formatting
Have you ever wondered what ‘Available Formatting’ was in Word, where it went if it wasn’t there when you had seen it already, how it’s actually working or why this was added to MS Word 2003 ‘Style Taskpane’ options?
Well if you’ll switch to the latest version of Word 2007, just forget about it I’d say, as the whole Office 2007 interface changed anyway, but otherwise, here’s some possible help.

word available formatting
Firstly if you don’t have it, make sure you have ‘Format tracking’ on in Tools/Options/Edit - as you can see on the sample screenshot provided in this post.  You’ll then have an entry on the Style Taskpane allowing you to see all ‘Available formatting’.
word available formatting
‘Available Formatting’ will not only show you the styles, but also all the samples of additional makeup you’ve added to your existing styles.

You might wonder here : what is that???
Well the normal procedure is that you create a style and then apply that style to a paragraph or a character set.
However many people are not aware that if you change some formatting on text which already has been formatted, that Words’ Style Taskpane Panel tracks those entries, and actually adds them as a kind of ‘secondary’ style formatting.... You won’t see that, unless you have the “Available Formatting” activated.  In this way, you can actually also re-use those recorded formatting entries from the Style Task Pane… even if they’re not really styles !

So indeed this acts a bit against the fundamental logic of using Styles, where you’re only applying ‘pure’ styles and not the ‘hybrid’ kind of styles, as this messes up things considerably.  Very much as styles used on the web with CSS, Cascading Style Sheets…
amazing to see how this works very so similarly…

If ever you’re looking for more in depth explanations on this, Shauna Kelly wrote a nice article on this. I recommend it !

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