Weekend Forum

Hi everybody. I’m happy to report I made it through a whole week of work this week. I finished (I think) one project and am closing in on another. After that, I have yet another project waiting in the wings. Once that one’s done, I’m taking a month off. Not from blogging or my real job, mind you. Just from outside projects.

My tablet PC hasn’t arrived yet. I’m waiting expectantly for it, but that doesn’t seem to be helping. I’ve been using OneNote, but I’m not really thrilled with the program. I thought Microsoft stole invented the whole concept of drag-and-drop. This program seems to be a pretty poor implementation of that twenty-year old technology. I can’t drag notes to another page or section. When I try to drag notes next to other notes, the program tries to combine them. I have 1,001 other piddly gripes, but they all add up. I’m considering checking out MindManager, by Mindjet. It looks cool and it may work more like what I’m looking for. I’m balking at the $350 price tag. Generally, I don’t pay for software. If I find something I like, I’ll shell out the dough. But $350? I would have to more than “like” it, I would have to “need” it for that kind of money. But they have a 5-day trial and a 21-day trial. Oh, thanks. Don’t open your shirt or your heart might fall out. If the price is a deal breaker, I probably won’t invest any time in it, but I hate when companies are stingy with the trials.

Tomorrow I’m going to the NU v. TX football game with my kid. It’s supposed to be 45F and raining, so that should be fun. On Monday, I’m going to a seminar presented by one of my MVP buddies. I’m not sure what I’ll learn, but the description sounds fascinating. I’ll brief you afterward with his permission. Next month, I’m headed to Eugene, OR for the Oregon v. Udub football game. There is a group of guys who go on a football trip every year and this year they invited me. I’ve never been to Oregon, so I’m excited to see it.

Gail asks:

How do I convert the number 20060904 into a date format in Excel?

So if you’re not doing anything this weekend, you could answer that one. The street on which Gail works is Peachtree Industrial Blvd, which furthers my theory that every street in Georgia is named Peachtree. If that one’s too easy, here’s one from Chuck:

I work in an office with 10 computers on one server. I set up validation on certain cells in a spreadsheet to prevent typing in these cells. The input message shows up on my computer when the cells are selected but not on other computers. We are accessing the exact same file. As far as I can tell, add-ins and option settings are the same on all the computers. Any idea why the input message only shows up on my computer?

I can’t even make up a realistic sounding answer to that one.

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11 thoughts on “Weekend Forum

  1. OK, I’ll take the easy one. If that number is in cell A1, use this:


    I learned that from reading a great book call “Excel Formulas.”

    Oregon is a great state. I lived in Corvallis for 4-5 years, and I loved it. Green and lush, with beautiful beaches. And rain. Lots of rain. Really, really lots of rain. But you get used to the rain and learn to like it. I hope you have some time to drive to coast and look around.

  2. Regarding the dates, I frequently interact with a text-based report that I import into Excel and use text-to-column on. During wizard you can actually convert it at the column level. Otherwise I also wrote a macro called Datemaker which acts on selections:

    Sub dateMaker()

    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    Dim myRng As Range
    Dim myCell As Range

    Set myRng = Selection

    For Each myCell In myRng.Cells
    If IsEmpty(myCell) Then
    ‘do nothing
    If Application.IsError(myCell.Value) Then
    myCell.Value = “”
    myCell.Value = Mid(myCell.Value, 5, 2) & “/” & Right(myCell.Value, 2) & “/” & Left(myCell.Value, 4)
    End If
    End If
    Next myCell

    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
    End Sub

  3. Validation messages are channeled to Clippy, Snoopy, Grumpy or whichever creature that’s installed as Office Assistant. Those of us that don’t have any of these animals, get a clear, comment-like box close to the cell in question. So do some investigation on where the assistants are and which assistant type of acts they are performing there.

  4. You should definitely try out the OneNote 2007 version, which is just getting ready to finish up the last beta and be shipped out the door. The new version has implemeted drag drop everywhere (including the scenarios you’ve described above.) OneNote has also removed the default merge behavior you’ve described when you drag one note next to another.

    In addition to this, OneNote 2007 has tables, shared notebooks, hypelinking between notes, sections, notebooks, Outlook integration, napkin math (liteweight calcualtor) and a whole lot more. I encourage you to try the free 90 day OneNote 2007 trial when it ships (and it’s much cheaper than Mind Manager :-)

    If you want to try it out right now, you can go to the microsoft.com site and order the Beta2 + B2TR builds.

    Here are some great OneNote blogs to read up on 2007:

    -mike (from the OneNote team)

  5. Dick;

    After the Rose Bowl debacle put on by Oregon several years back, there is a standing joke here in Oregon:

    People living along the Willamette River are often plagued by ducks in the yard and the messess they leave behind. The remedy to kept them out is to erect a goal post! ;-)

  6. For the date conversion I would go with Nick P’s suggestion:
    Apply text to columns command on cell or column and choose the YMD date format.

  7. RE: MindManager

    I have used MindManager for many-a-year. I bought the student version and have upgrading at a lower cost since. It is pretty cool, but I would not by a personal copy for $350; hopefully I could get my company to pay for it. To me the pro version is a good $99 product.

    I use MindManager for brainstorming, starting memos or reports, building simple help files or html menus for CDs or DVDs, and as a simple way to track resources and schedules for smaller projects or tasks.

    It does have a nice feature where you can embed Excel sheets (I believe they are dynamic). However, what I want is way to dump a MindMap to Excel. (You can save to PowerPoint or Word or Visio or Project or Outlook Tasks or PDF or TXT or a graphic file, but not Excel).

  8. I have used Mind Manager in the past but presently do not own or have access to a copy. Recently, I wanted to create some dendograms (don’t ask!) and figured a freeware mind/concept mapping software would be up to the task. Let me tell you it is not. The freeware is good for basics but a lot worse than Mind Mapper (which I always liked for its rounded curves instead of the angular curves that most programs default to). I don’t need it for $350 though as I would use it 4-5 times a year max.

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