Weekend Mishmash

I’m in KCI (Kansas City International) awaiting my flight to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. When I was checking in at the self-service machine, it asked me if I wanted to upgrade to First Class. I said ‘no’ as I always do, but then I changed my mind. After it had already printed my boarding passes, and completed the transaction, it allowed me to go back through the process and choose the upgrade. I’ll be paying about $.30 per minute to fly in comfort. I’m not sure if that’s worth it.

There are approximately 360 registered users on this site. Yesterday someone registered with the username BestViagraDeals. I’m guessing that was a spammer and it has been deleted. Very stealthy.

The current stats for this blog are

There are currently 1,064 posts and 8,142 comments, contained within 80 categories.

I don’t know an easy way to count how many of those are just from this year.

I’ve been thinking about changing the sidebar of this blog. I want to either do a minimalist thing and remove all but the important stuff that’s there now, or doing a narrative like Joel On Software. Comments and suggestions are welcome, particularly if there’s something you especially love or hate on the sidebar. I won’t be getting rid of the ads because I’ve gotten quite used to the booze money it provides.

I’m planning on having an outstanding 2007 and I hope you’ll do the same.

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30 thoughts on “Weekend Mishmash

  1. I suspect you’ll BE sitting in KCI for a while. There’s golf ball sized hail just south of Dallas and a couple of tornados in the area. Local TV is nothing but weather right now.

    Cherish that comfort once you get on there. The weather’s not so good here.

  2. Do you track the number of RSS subscribers at all? The 360 registered users suprises me, as I thought it would be higher, but then I guess that’s just the number that have actually decided to post something.

    I recently incoporated feedburner (www.feedburner.com) to track RSS subscriptions, as I found it an interesting statistic. It’s free and worth a look, as is Google Analytics. Both are pretty easy to snap in to a WordPress theme.


  3. Dick,
    You should try the flight to Anchorage (from just about anywhere) sometime. Gives one a whole new appreciation for the cost-benefit analysis of first class vs. coach. (And this is from someone who has done South Africa and Australia a couple of times – or maybe I was just younger then?)

    As far as the sidebar goes, I have the ‘Recently Commented’ section open by default. I check that immediately after checking for a new post. Wouldn’t be without it. Haven’t really figured out RSS yet – maybe we could post a new tutorial?

  4. Hey VBAers,

    I’m glad we have this weekend forum, I need some advice. I’ve posted many times here that I am a hobbyist programmer with VBA for Excel and C#. I finally interviewed for a VBA position on a trading desk for an investment bank, but ultimately I will work for a consulting firm. I’ll have the opportunity to gain experience with VBA SQL/databases, and later C# if I prove myself. My previous experience has always been in finance. Looks like they will offer me 95k, I am currently making 72k. However I was warned that I will be working long hours. Is this a good move for me? I’m thinking that the hours will be hard but I will be gaining programming skills that I will always have with me, it will compliment my financial knowledge. Is it a risky move? Will a hobbyist programmer be able to handle proffesional programming? Seems like a good opportunity since they know I don’t have any work experience in programming, but they’re willing to pay me more money than I’m currently making. Any comments, or advice are welcome.

  5. Macro Man –

    If you’re not afraid of a little hard work, it’s sounds like a good move. The hours will interfere some with family, so you’ll have to continue working hard in that arena as well.

    Don’t worry about being a “hobbyist”. That’s how I started. Programming was first a tool to help with my engineering work, then I just started reading all I could about it. When I was laid off, I decided to break from my old career, and now I’m a professional programmer. I was still pretty green when I started, but I’ve never forgotten how to find things out (Google, macro recorder, the newsgroups and forums, sometimes even online help). Now, nearly three years later, I know I’m still learning, but I’ve got a sound technical basis, a decent client base, and great resources.

    Good luck.

  6. Jon,

    Thanks for your input. I’m leaning towards accepting this job, I have the long weekend to think about it. I’m leaving a secure job if I take it, but I will never move up in my career if I don’t take some risks. It’s unbelievable to me how much I increased my worth in the job market just by investing in Steve Roman’s Oreilly book, and John Walkenbach’s Dummies book. Thanks John and Steve!

  7. Macro Man: the greatest risk in life is to not take risks – especially when you are young. Time is the most valuable commodity you have – don’t waste it worrying about things you may not have control over anyway. It sounds like you’re an energetic, hard working and imaginitive person. That will make the difference in any venture you undertake. Einstein was quoted to say “imagination is more important than knowledge.” Worked for him…

  8. Doco,

    You’re absolutely right! Well said, thanks for your insight. Let me also add that they never quizzed me on technology, it was all on finance. They said I will be trained on everything. I think I can also learn more on the business side from the quants and traders.

  9. In the sprit of the “blogger ethics” post that John W. brought up, I have several confessions to make before the end of the Year. You know…to start with a clean slate when 2007 arrives.

    1. I let Bill Jelen buy me a bagel in New York. I pretended I didn’t have my wallet on me.

    2. I took up a week of Dick Kusleika’s life with a 300 page appendix.

    3. Several times, I didn’t pay for the softdrinks that were underneath my cart; I knew they were there.

    4. I did all my writing this year on company time; my boss thinks I go to the dentist and doctor way too often.

    5. I finally installed Quick Time. (I still hate that thing) I can’t remember why I finally did it, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with porn.

    6. I broke down and bought an Ipod. I felt like the last human in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” giving in.

    7. I gained 60 pounds this year. I’m pretty sure that I’ve hit my goal of 85% body fat. My one Mitochondria barely survives a climb up the stairs.

    That’s if for now. I’m probably still going to hell though. I’m sure the devil has some nice Left Lookups for me when I get there (match these sinners with those sins). I bet in hell, Excel has a 5,000 row limit.

  10. Having been a heavy smoker (until that and too many quadruple bypass burgers got the better of me) I really liked flying out of KCI. Only airport that I know of where you can stand outside the terminal having a cigarette and be able to see through to security, the waiting area, boarding gate and the plane you’ll be boarding. DFW was one of the worst airports I was ever in. Dark, crowded and dirty (just my opinion).
    1st (or Business Class) definitely makes a flight more pleasurable but isn’t worth the money to pay for it yourself unless you’re very rich. Case in point was a business trip to London a few years ago where I was able to take one of my co-workers. My company paid $5,500 for each of us to fly 1st class. My co-worker booked his wife on the same plane both ways. Cost of her fare?? $480. Yeah, the shrimp and caviar was good and so was the service….but for $5,000 extra??? No way.
    I do hope that you’re in a frequent flier program. Some people don’t bother.
    The miles do add up and when they do, you can get a lot of perks (including free upgrades to 1st class).
    About 10 years ago I had the job of digitally mapping every cable that AT&T had in the US. The first 6 months were kind of rough but then my miles added up. Got Gold on Delta and Platinum on United. Had special numbers to call for anything concerning my flights. Real people who always answered before the 3rd ring. Just about anything I wanted they were more than happy to provide. 1st class all the time (free). Crown Royal in the executive clubs before the flight. Champagne on the plane while the plebes in the back were trying to find a place for their carry-ons. Cars?? Double upgrades an Avis, National and Hertz. My company (AT&T) was paying for coach and Monte Carlos/Impalas and I was flying 1st class and driving Eldorados & Sedan de Villes.
    Anyway Dick, I do hope that you are doing the frequent flier thing. You seem to be doing more traveling lately and the miles do add up. Enough travel and they will kiss your a$$ and willingly admit that they love doing it.

    Hey John…just for the record…..Sky Harbor is my second favorite airport (probably for the smoking convenience which I’m sure has changed by now). Second worst?? O’Hare (smoking inconvenience).

  11. Macro Man,

    I’m a “hobby” programmer myself making about as much as you’re making now doing mostly Excel spreadsheets/programming for a small engineering firm (thank God my retirement income supplements enough to cover my bar tab).

    Much of what I created for my company I had no idea how to do (but I knew it could be done).

    The help that I got from the newsgroups was better than I could have ever imagined.

    Whatever you do, whatever your question, whatever you get stuck on…..if it can be done and you can pose your question correctly, the “Toms”, “Daves”, “Neiks”, Bobs”, “Debras” (and even “Harlan”), etc. will be there to help you. You simply can NOT fail with a resource base like that.

    Take the plunge. Don’t look back. The best minds in Excel (here and in the NG’s) are here to help you. You can’t fail.

  12. You’re right Chip. I sat in KCI for ~5 hours until they canceled my flight (and every other flight to DFW). There were about 2,000 people in line to rebook for tomorrow. I called the airline, got a refund, and headed back to the parking garage. We drove to Guthrie, OK and stayed the night. It’s about 30 miles north of OKC. Then yesterday we drove the rest of the way to Coppell where we’re staying.

    There were Iowa fans in the airport trying to get to San Antonio for the Alamo bowl. Since they were flying American, they had to go through Dallas. They said they were going to drive when their flight was canceled about 1 hour before mine. I wonder if they made it?

    I don’t track the RSS readers other than seeing how many are subscribed in bloglines. You don’t have to register to leave a comment, so I’m not sure the registered user stat is at all meaningful.

    Alex – nothing on the sidebar would go away, it may be just an extra click. BTW, that’s the list I like too.

    MacroMan – change is always good. Good luck.

    JWalk – I’m a little peeved that my brand new laptop hasn’t arrived yet. I thought it was a good move by MS. I’ll bet they had problems in the past with people loading their new OS on substandard hardware. Now they know these people are putting it on state-of-the-art hardware that’s already been tested. Ed Bott’s blog has a post on this issue and Barb Bowman got ripped on her blog.

    2. I took up a week of Dick Kusleika’s life with a 300 page appendix.

    I learned more about the object model editing that than any man should know.

    John, I fly 2-3 times per year and they are all on different airlines. While I am signed up for a few frequent flier programs, I’ve never had enough to redeem anything. I flew Delta to Hamburg in 1991 and I’m still getting junk mail from them.

    It was fairly easy to get a refund for my tickets, but not as easy as it should have been. They said the tickets were non-refundable. I pointed out that they didn’t provide the service, so they shouldn’t be able to keep my money. Airlines are jerks. Getting the first class upgrade refunded was a little tougher. The don’t typically refund anything that’s purchased at the kiosk, but they’ll check the rules. Thirty minutes later, she came back on the line and told me that I would be getting a full refund. Why? Because there’s an exception for first class passengers. Sweet irony.

  13. There is a way to fly first class every time without paying – sort of…

    Among my many hats I am a sworn Sheriff’s Deputy. If you notify the airline in advance that you will be armed, they will place you in first class – on guard duty. Of course if your wife tags along she will ride coach or whatever you’re willing to pay for.

    So, a four year degree and 16 weeks in police academy in your past and you’re in – free? ;-)

    Happy New Year to all.

  14. Did you change your page/side-bar already?!?!?!
    Or is it just ‘cos it’s 2007
    Maybe even the UK btinternet system sorted itself out for Xmas?

    Today – for the first time in MONTHS – when opening your page (I’ve got it as a direct link on my own start page!) I did NOT get the regular ‘run-ime error on line 75’ (whatever the heXX that might mean).

    I really do appreciate these pages/comments and the many ‘lateral’ thoughts and ideas they generate within the (your) community.
    You can make the page look like whatever you want, just DON’T change the content !!
    Happy 2007 everybody.

  15. Macro Man,

    I worked for a major investment bank supporting a trading desk. In my experience,
    most of the heavy calculations entailed calling custom Excel add-in worksheet functions written in C++ which were developed by the bank’s modelling and analytic group. You’ll do fine by reading the documentation of the libraries. You’ll most likely be exposed to populating spreadsheets with ‘real time’ market data from Reuters or Bloomberg which is pretty cool until the novelty of it wears off:) A hobbyist programmer with an appetite for learning and strong business knowledge, (traits that you possess) should have no problem. I say go for it.

  16. Macro Man. How many decisions you’ve made up to this point in your life have you come to really regret? I’ve got a few memories that make me wince when I think about them but I’ve been lucky not to have really fallen badly. Having any job usually qualifies you for 90% of any other job (turn up on time, work hard, don’t steal from the stationery cupboard, that’s it!). You’ve not lied to your potential employer and they still want you, that means something. As for whether you feel you could do the work or not, from the employers point of view that’s not the biggest issue they consider. Can you work in a team, are you interested in developing yourself etc. Sure it’ll be scary to being with, but as previous posters have said it’s not what you know, it’s knowing how to fill in the blanks in the stuff you don’t know that’s the real skill. The money vs quality of life issue is one only you can judge.

  17. For those of you who asked questions about the RSS feeds, I has pulled together some Excel feeds here:

    I welcome any suggestions for more feeds! As for a New Years resolution, I hope to finally get into the blogging habit and also to improve my Excel skills – mostly in VBA / Forms and Arrays. I suppose I could combine both!

  18. Dick,

    for a while now, the link to Jwalk blog has appeared simply as “Walk blog” on my browser. Not sure if the name has changed, but my guess is it got accidentally deleted. My other guess is that my browser is possessed.


  19. All –

    Somewhere in all those comments were the tips on how to post VBA code, using as I recall “VBA tags”.

    I’ve looked several time via keywords and just can’t find the right thread.

    Can someone help?



  20. Hi Dick –

    Well, I can at least say I recalled “closely”, or maybe not so.

    No where in that exact thread do “vba” and “tags” appear together so goggling “vba tags” (with quotes) is a case of too much knowledge being a dangerous (or at least bad) thing. ;-)

    Thanks and happy new year!

    …Best, Michael

  21. I searched for ‘Code in Comments’ to find it (FYI), but I’ve added a comment to the bottom of that post so ‘vba tags’ will find it. I also plan to add a little blurb above the comment box that explains it. I have a lot of plans. :)

  22. Dick –


    Testing what I’e just learned:

    Sub Wait(T As Single)
    Dim sTime As Single
    sTime = Timer + T
    Do While Timer

  23. Hmm –

    Don’t think I quite got it:

    Sub Wait(T As Single)
       Dim sTime   As Single
       sTime = Timer + T
       Do While Timer < sTime
    End Sub
  24. Close enough. That ampersand l t was supposed to be a “less than”

    But that’s another issue ;-)

    Thanks again.


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