Posts for 02/2009

28 February 2009 - 16:36

Pearls before breakfast - or the “Joshua Bell Metro” experiment

What would happen if a famous violin player starts playing virtuously some morning at the entrance of a metro station at peek hour?

That's basically what Joshua Bell, in Washington, in early 2007 - a time back indeed, but the link describing the experience landed this week in my mailbox.
In case you're curious, just have a look at the Washington Post article, there's video material too and a link to the full 'concerto' in audio.

A good introduction on a reflection on perception, on discernment, the spirit of the time or ... my own capacity of realizing beauty and giving it its time and space.

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27 February 2009 - 16:26

Excel 2007: the xlsb format? And formats basically…

Have you heard already from the xlsb format?

In case I made you wonder: the 'b' stands for 'binary' and here are two links explaining a bit more about this new file format in Excel 2007:

And here is a very nice scheme and article explaining how to 'decode' the excel file formats:

file formats in Excel
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26 February 2009 - 15:56

CSS Grid Systems

Through an article in Sitepoint recently, I got into exploring some 'grid systems', which can come in handy when doing some new site layouts:

Some in and outs of these systems, so advantages and disadvantages are discussed in the annexing blog postings.

I've added these also to my overall CSS links page, which btw is regularly updated.

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20 February 2009 - 12:48

Multiple Substitute in Excel

During my excel courses I generally explain about the substitute() function.
But what if you wanted to change many characters, like e.g. many accented characters to their non-accented equivalents?

You could of course nest many substitute() functions and end up with something like this.

But here you'd probably best implement the use of a socalled user defined function, a 'udf'. Not sure where I found this one ...

Function BigSubstitute(CellToChange As Range, _
NameNumber As String) As String

  Dim X As Long
  Dim Data() As String
  Data = Split(NameNumber, ",")

  If (UBound(Data) + 1) Mod 2 Then
      BigSubstitute = "#MISMATCH!"
      Exit Function
      BigSubstitute = CellToChange.Value
      For X = 0 To UBound(Data) Step 2
      BigSubstitute = Replace(BigSubstitute, Data(X), _
      Data(X + 1), , , vbTextCompare)
   End If
End Function

So you'll end up with something like this:


P.S. The mismatch in the function is used to make sure you always have couples of data, in this case an accented and non-accented character

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17 February 2009 - 16:46

How to print a Gantt Chart view without table information?

To print a Gantt Chart view without table information, you first need to create a customized table and use that in an adapted Gantt Chart View.

  • 1. On the View menu, click Table, and then click More Tables.
  • 2. For Tables:, click Task.
  • 3. Click the New button
  • 4. In the Name box, enter "No Table Info".
  • 5. In the first row, under Field Name, enter ID, and in the first row under Width, enter a zero (0).
  • 6. Click to select Show In Menu.
  • 7. Click OK, and then click Close.

You can now use this table to print or preview a Gantt Chart view without table information as follows:

  • 1. On the View menu, click More Views.
  • 2. Select Gantt Chart, and click Apply.
  • 3. On the View menu, click Table, and then click No Table Info.
  • 4. On the File menu, click Print or Print Preview.


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12 February 2009 - 14:37

Hearts of Space

Slow music for fast times

Actually it has been a long time since I thought I should put up this suggestion.
And just when the thought came up again and I decided to start writing this entry, I got a mail from Hearts Of Space, announcing their new 'next generation' player and additional services....

Synchronicity indeed.

Hearts Of Space is an awesome service and site. It started in 1973 as an Californian radio program offering uninterrupted spacy and other music, craftily selected and prepared. During the 80's it spread throughout the US as a one hour radio program on many stations, and then of course also found it's way on the net from 2000 onwards.
It now offers an online music experience, with free and very cheap subscription plans, offering some of the best available music out there in genres such as Electronic Space, Orchestral/Chamber, Ambient/Downtempo, Ethno/Ambient, Piano, Space Jazz, Cinematic/Soundtrack, World Fusion, all kind of world music and many more.

Stephen Hill, who runs the program, is definitely a pioneer in his field - with vision, clarity, and fine taste he and his team have composed almost a thousand one-hour quality programs allowing all kind of audiences to get to know music which actually also bring an 'inner experience of slowing down in these fast times' .

hearts of space

Music and consciousness just match at HOS.
The openness to all kind of instruments and waves inspires tolerance.
An oasis in hectic times spreading tranquility and self-reflection. Without a word.
Heart touching and definitely worth a journey.

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07 February 2009 - 03:49

direction:rtl breaks CSS layouts in IE

Gosh, having to do a some Hebrew web sites, I was quite happy to find out that working with the {direction:rtl} actually works quite nicely. Even IE seemed to behave rather well, till of course I had to tackle some more complicated design with floats - there IE6 broke the whole design. I used every possible tool to hack IE6 I know about - there's a whole list by now - but nothing seemed to work.... Despair !! :-)

Luckily enough there's some wonderful developers out there, publishing wonderful articles and even though this one is years old, it did provide the solution: the workaround is to override direction for floats and re-apply it to elements that contain actual text. Go to Aleksandar Vaci? 's article for a full explanation.

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04 February 2009 - 14:49

Align numbers in tables with CSS

How to align numbers in tables with CSS, without having to apply a class selector on each and every td-cell?

Well luckily enough HTML provides the col- and colgroup-elements which can be used to address tables.
Suppose you have a table with 4 columns and you'd like to align the three last columns with figures to the right (leaving decimal aligning aside here as this is not really possible yet with CSS)...
You could start with following HTML coding.

<table width="90%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">
<col class="tableFigures">
<col class="tableFigures">
<col class="tableFigures">
<td colspan="4" class="tableTitle"><h3>Population en Europe</h3></td>
</tr> .../...
[Read more on Align numbers in tables with CSS...]
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03 February 2009 - 07:36

Good old DOS

One of the nice things of the Windows platform is that it still runs under DOS - so to say of course -:)
Point is that you're still able to call for the command prompt window (windows key + r, or start / run, then type cmd and you're in). With a bit of prehistoric DOS knowledge you can then still do wonders.

I often need to prepare course materials - in the case of a Dreamweaver CS3 course that implies also copying those materials onto all the participants' file and/or webservers. So why not use a batch file (*.bat file, i.e. simple text file with *.bat extension) which contains several DOS copy commands and can be executed from the command prompt window doing the whole thing in one go?

the good old DOS window

Following nostalgy does the trick:

xcopy Z:\Empty\Docs\*  Z:\Student1\Docs\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\Docs\*  Z:\Student2\Docs\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\Docs\*  Z:\Student3\Docs\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\Docs\*  Z:\Student4\Docs\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\Docs\*  Z:\Student5\Docs\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\Docs\*  Z:\Student6\Docs\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\Docs\*  Z:\Teacher\Docs\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y

xcopy Z:\Empty\CSS\*  Z:\Student1\CSS\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\CSS\*  Z:\Student2\CSS\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\CSS\*  Z:\Student3\CSS\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\CSS\*  Z:\Student4\CSS\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\CSS\*  Z:\Student5\CSS\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\CSS\*  Z:\Student6\CSS\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y
xcopy Z:\Empty\CSS\*  Z:\Teacher\CSS\* /E /H /I /K /Q /V /Y

In case you're wondering about all the parameters or switches at the end: this seems a good link.

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