Posts for 03/2008

30 March 2008 - 16:07

Link unbound tasks in MS Project to start or finish at a given time before an event or milestone

Well I needed a kind of 'complicated' description in the title to address this issue presented during one of my course. But I suppose I could have called it also something like - how to use an 'as late as possible' logic into a 'as soon as possible' driven schedule?-

ALAP and ASAP combined

Take a Communication Summary Task e.g. which has an essential task in it, the sending out of the paper invitations (5.4.2. Snail Mail). This phase of the project is not bound to anything else, but you'd like to plan that in such a way that you're done with the posting of those invitations about 1 month before your event. Or something simular - perhaps you'd like to start the sending out a certain time period before day D.
As you're working in a normal project with starting date, all tasks are having a default 'ASAP, As Soon As Possible' constraint, thus pulling the unbound 'Communication' phase to the very beginning of the project. So how to proceed?

There are a couple of scenario's you could try to achieve this, depending on how the schedule should behave, but here are two road maps.

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Choosing the right colours

Tools I have been using or came across to come to terms with 'color' :

color scheme Firenze
(1) Comments ·
27 March 2008 - 07:18

Custom grouping in MS Project

custom group

custom group

One of the powerful abitilies of the MS Project tool is to group data on the fly.

You can do so very simply by using the 'group by box' on the standard toolbar.

However, that's only providing a limited number of options... and there's no 'customize' feature apparently...
Well, apparently, because there is !

You have to go to the menu bar for that, choose 'Project', then 'Group by', then choose 'Customize group by' - you'll get a dialog box allowing you to choose any field to group by, including the custome text, number, currency, etc fields...

There are some extra features too, like 'including summary tasks or not' or the color of the background of the grouping outlines.


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26 March 2008 - 16:14


Spring one day

spring closeup

Spring the other day - same place, same space

spring closeup [Read more on Springwise...]
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23 March 2008 - 08:00


As the saying goes: a picture speaks a thousand words.
Take this picture published on the Utne blogs this week, in an article on "Religion Rising":


A noble concept, a rightful inspiration and serviceable creativity.
Happy and Rising Eastern time :-)

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22 March 2008 - 09:43

Health tips

Some time ago a friend who lives in Portugal send me some mail composition with all kind of Health Tips and insights.
Now I could just point you to the original source of the compilation, but that seems to be a mysterious 'Manikandan', somewhere in India I believe - so I couldn't pinpoint his whereabouts immediately. Plenty of people have referred to these tips, and as I especially liked the insights on the use of healthy juices, I'm publishing some of them here as well.

As after all, isn't there there the adagio: a healthy mind needs a healty body?

12 healthy juices

healthy juice
Carrot + Ginger + Apple - Boost and cleanse our system.

healthy juice
Apple + Cucumber + Celery - Prevent cancer, reduce cholesterol, and improve stomach upset and headache.

[Read more on Health tips...]
20 March 2008 - 16:45

Attribute selectors and CSS3

CSS3 is bringing all kinds of beauty to the web development environment - like the use of multiple backgrounds on the same selector e.g.
Although many of these features aren't really implemented properly by most of the browsers out there, one of the newnesses which stands out a bit is the implementation of Attribute Selectors. Ok perhaps not fully supported yet in its full scope, it's pretty much covered in its basics (only IE6 amongst the best penetrated browsers doesn't do so). Just an example - recently I was asked to come up with some CSS code for a form generated by a content management in combination with a PHP script... and rendered in an <iframe;> ... oeps, that wasn't too problematic. However for all kind of reasons the script generating the form's xhtml couldn't be changed and the design proposed a nicely layouted submit button...

You must have guessed it by now: no selectors were available or allocated through the script and as the <input> element is used for the submit button, but also for several other form fields... there was an issue of course.

So what to do? Well luckily enough therewere attribute selectors ! So this was the code extract I came up with :

body#mailinglistcontainer input[type="submit"] {background:#e24c46; border:1px solid #9c0300; color:#fff; padding:5px; margin: 10px 0 10px 45px; font-weight:bold; width:22em;}

body#mailinglistcontainer input[type="submit"]:hover {color:#d90501; font-weight:bold; background:#f0d742;}

As you can see attribute selectors use the square brackets [ ] and are quite flexible in use, i.e. you can refer to the overal use of an xhtml attribute, or be a bit more specific, as I've been doing here.
As the submit button uses the type="submit" attribute, it's quite easy with an attribute selector to target for just that type of <input> element.

If you want to see some other samples of the syntax to use, and some overall CSS3 introduction, perhaps start at Roger Johanssons' 456 Berea St.:

or for another nice overview go to Trevor Davis Blog


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14 March 2008 - 07:41

Specific CSS hacks

Today I was confronted with a very weird issue with png transparent images on Opera : they just disappeared !

As I couldn't figure out this brought be to the question - I want to avoid as much as possible btw -, is there a way to write CSS code only rendered by Opera?

I had seen some before, but on ESN Studio, I founded following beauties:

IE 6 and below* html {} IE 7 and below*:first-child+html {} * html {} IE 7 only*:first-child+html {} IE 7 and modern browsers onlyhtml>body {} Modern browsers only (not IE 7)html>/**/body {} Recent Opera versions 9 and belowhtml:first-child {}

And of course my issue was solved... first by implementing the hack for Opera, but finally by realizing that a png javascript for IE6 was the culprit at the first place !

PS. And around the same time good news concerning IE8 which now will not render as IE7 and force 'version targeting' - here's the list with all improvements IE8 is going to implement - leading of course to fewer hacks all together too...

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10 March 2008 - 07:51

Google - a leading web company?

Through its overall penetration and use as a search engine alone, you’d think Google would also be on the track and a good example of web coding…

But my astonishment accidently looking at the source code of the Google homepage today was ...well ... ‘overwhelming’ - I’m guessing here: Google must be wanting to give a course in “What are the top 10 guidelines to absolutely avoid in examplary web building"… by actually demonstrating it:

  • To not use a doctype declaration
  • Use deprecated tags, as <font>, <center>, <b>, ...
  • Use <u> tags, to simulate links
  • Only use embedded styles and/or perhaps also use an inline style when it’s not absolutely needed
  • Mix html attributes and styles to moreover, do the same thing
  • Use non-meaningful names for css selectors
  • Don’t use heading tags and/or think a bit more deeply on how to structure the (x)html
  • Don’t spend too much energy on accessibility, especially for forms
  • Use br and why not some tables to structure and layout - (well they forgot the use of nbsp probably)
  • Don’t bother about attributes for the scripting tags

Well and actually we could go on:

  • Don’t validate the page
  • Don’t bother about code formatting

And all that in less than half a page??? 
Wah ! I’m speechless here :-)

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08 March 2008 - 13:37

Time and Mind

Two mind challenging posts which fell into my mailbox this week - just wanted to share them here.

Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis

About 30 years ago my spiritual journey not only started off by some books on meditation (as recently elaborated in another post on Transcendental Meditation), I also devoured Carlos Castaneda’s four or five first books at the time.  As an anthropologist, he passionately researched on the nature of consciousness with the help of an Indian sorcerer and hallucinogens.
I immediately took up this link when I got this email presenting a research article of Benny Sharon in a new magazine ’Time and Mind‘ - the title is: Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis ; the full text can be downloaded.

time and mind

A speculative hypothesis is presented according to which the ancient Israelite religion was associated with the use of entheogens (mind-altering plants used in sacramental contexts). The hypothesis is based on a new look at texts of the Old Testament pertaining to the life of Moses, suggesting that Moses’ experiences and visions as described in the Bible were linked to the use of hallucinogens.  The article has all kind of interesting links and reflections.

Learn to Sit Still

Another short and playful article nicely illustrating how meditation is getting into mainstream publications these days.

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07 March 2008 - 13:00

Count Excel cells which DO NOT contain something

Every searched for a way in Excel to count the number of cells which DO NOT contain some text or some error message?
It’s quite easy really - suppose you had to count the number of downloads contained in cells, leaving aside all those cells which contain either some specific text or some error message:

or =COUNTIF(downloads;"<>*something*")

or this would do as well:

or =COUNTA(downloads)-COUNTIF(downloads;"*somthing*")

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06 March 2008 - 04:39

Rolling up tasks or milestones in MS Project

One of the most satisfying results when giving courses is “of course” when you notice your participants really grasp the virus to learn and experiment more, then come back to you after some time and trigger of all kinds of questions and observations after having experimented themselves.

So today, even before I actually got to actual the course, I got this on the plate: how to roll-up tasks onto the summary bar and moreover make sure the dates of the rolled up tasks are visible?

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05 March 2008 - 14:48

How to display HTML source code in your blog posts?

If you want to display HTML source code in your blog posts, you will have to ensure the html tags or ‘entities’ are being ‘encoded’.
Otherwise the code is just parsed by the browser. 
And depending on your blog system, you might also have to wrap the source code into <pre></pre> tags to avoid quotes being translated into curly quotes.

Practically this means that:

in stead of typing <pre></pre> in the line above -
i’d had to type &lt;pre&gt;&lt;/pre&gt;

That also means that to get the last line rendered properly I had to type in this in my blog post


[Read more on How to display HTML source code in your blog posts?...]
02 March 2008 - 15:16

Schuman Resonance

I recently read an article with which I 'resonated' very well - It explained about the link between the Schuman Resonance and the changes we're currently witnessing.

The Schuman resonance stands for the electromagnetic waves caused by the lightning bolts in the earth's atmosphere and oscillating at very low frequencies, thus creating a kind of 'pulse', or heart beat of the planet earth. There are all kind of Schuman oscillations, but the 'main' wave pulses somewhere at 7.8hz - However, that resonance has been slowly increasing since 1980 and more significantly since 1997 - we now seem to have attained 12Hz and it is expected to reach its peak at 13Hz, which some traditions and prophecies describe as the 'zero point'. At this point of quantum leap, all kind of changes are to be expected... and all kind of interpretations and prophecies exist on the matter, including a shift of the earth's poles.

Now hold on - we are of course witnessing massive ongoing changes on all levels, but one of the most common experienced feelings - even by people with no interest whatsoever in terms of spirituality or consciousness - seems to be the 'acceleration of time'. Don't you?
Sure a day is still a day, but it just makes lots of sense : the biorhythm of the earth must have an effect on us all of course - if earth's 'inner clocking' resonates faster, it seems logical this will affect our perception, but also our 'inner clocking' ...

After some small research on this other layer now surrounding the planet - the internet - I found this valuable resource of research by Jack Houck. This engineer and researcher of paranormal phenomena (like psychokinesis, his main interest) has published some very interesting articles on his website. One of these articles deals with his research on the Mental Access Window, the frequencies through which people have 'remote mental access' . He witnessed a correlation between the Schuman Resonance and EEG measurements, leading to the idea that our brains try to 'harmonize' with the earth's Schuman Resonance.

Amazing correlations. Amazing insights.
Something deep within me has always felt this way.

Something deep within me also feels that our conscious creative transformation of our mind energy, bringing it into high, pure and positive levels, not only has a huge impact on our immediate environment, but also on matter and earths' resonances - the Schuman Resonance seems to provide further explanation.

ps1 The same author also published an article on a Conceptual Model of Paranormal Phenomena, which is definitely worth having a look at.

ps 2 See also:

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