How to simplify Excel formulas with “Cell Naming”…

2017-07-27T00:01:03+00:00 October 31st, 2013|Uncategorized|

This week’s post is about a little-known-feature in Microsoft Excel called “Cell Naming.”  If you ever use Excel, like I do, then this tip is for you!  This is one of those features that I always knew existed but I never actually took the time to try, until now.

Simply put, “Cell Naming” allows you to assign a name to a cell, or a range of cells, for easy reference.  

You can get to the ” Name Manager” from the ‘Formulas’ tab then by clicking on the “Name Manager” button. 

For example:  

Click on the image to get a clear view…

 

In the above example, you see an Excel worksheet which is 3 columns wide x 14 rows tall that lists sale prices of 10 items at 3 different stores (“Store1″,”Store2″,”Store3″).  Each column has a “SubTotal” at the bottom that adds up the prices of that store’s 10 items sale prices, respectively.  Finally, there is a cell that adds up the 3 different stores “SubTotals” to equal the “GrandTotal.”

Next to the spreadsheet is the “Defined Names” which show you all of your cells/ranges with their associated names.

The four “Defined Names” that I created are:

Store1ItemTotals = $E$4:$E$13
Store2ItemTotals = $F$4:$F$13
Store3ItemTotals = $G$4:$G$13
GrandTotalSales = Store1ItemTotals+Store2ItemTotals+Store3ItemTotals

This was just a simple example, but imagine if you have 1000′s of cells with complex formulas that you need to manage!  And instead of having to manually cross-reference which cells that each formula is calling (i.e “E14″), you can know exactly which is being called by the descriptive “Cell Names” that you’ve pre-applied (i.e. “Store1ItemTotals”).  

I hope this tip will help you save a great amount of time and energy when working with Excel in the future!

Windows 8.1, Week 1…

2017-07-27T00:01:03+00:00 October 24th, 2013|Uncategorized|

Much like my “Week 1″ article that coincided with the release of what we now call Windows 8.0 just about a year ago now, I wanted to take a moment and pass along the things that I have discovered in my initial days on the job with Windows 8.1.  

Just for reference, while I almost always do a complete fresh re-install, this time I chose to do the upgrade from the Windows 8.1 DVD.  Some of my reasons were that it did not seem to be such a massive change (this turned out to be correct), I didn’t have a bunch of time to re-install all my apps and such at the moment (who does?), and I didn’t buy a new hard drive, etc.  So I downloaded the ISO from MSDN, burned it to a DVD, and upgraded my laptop. 

So here we go; let’s dive in to some of this things I’ve observed…

Net Use Behavior

I work on a domain-based computer (the Coretek domain), in customer (or home) environments where my domain is not available.  In the past, mapping a drive to resources in another domain (other than my own) always worked with something like the following:

net use y: \Customer-Domain.orgDfsRoot /USER:Customer-Domainpavlovj 

…and now with Windows 8.1 for some reason it does not function without the optional asterisk at the end, like this:

net use y: \Customer-Domain.orgDfsRoot /USER:Customer-Domainpavlovj *

Without the asterisk, I get errors like: “System error 1311 has occurred“, and “There are currently no logon servers available to service the logon request” after long delays; it just never seems to log me in.  With Windows 8.0, it would delay a bit, but always manage to find an authenticating server to log me in.  And now with the asterisk, it works almost instantly.  Strange.

Blurry Fonts and Rendering

After the upgrade, some of my programs had a blurry video rendering and fonts, while others looked crisp and beautiful.  With a little quick research, I found the answer and I want to thank:
http://www.askvg.com/fix-bold-blurry-or-hard-to-read-font-problem-in-windows-8-1/

…for providing me the answer.  Now everything looks great!  On a side note, I also had to change my font back to my preferred “small” in that same location as described above, as the Windows 8.1 upgrade had changed it to Medium.

Booting to Desktop, and Start Screen Desktop Wallpaper

Probably the best, most exciting and demanded set of changes surround the Desktop.  Finally, we get “boot to desktop” back, as well as the ability to have our Desktop wallpaper appear behind our “Start page”.  I love it because it helps tie the whole experience together, and makes it all feel much more cohesive.  To make the changes, just right-click on Taskbar, click Properties, and go to the Navigation tab.  Here’s how I have mine set:

…you know you really want to do this… 

VMware and Hyper-V

Well, I finally did it.  Like before, I faced the choice of having to upgrade my VMware Workstation again — this time to version 10 — in order to work on Windows 8.1… or just use the Hyper-V that comes with it.  So, now I’m in the process of converting all my VMDKs to VHDs.  Yes, it’s still not quite apples-to-apples, but I’m getting by so far, and dealing with the limitations.  More on this later, I’m sure…

Other Apps

Thank goodness that almost everything works in Windows 8.1 like it did before in Windows 8.0.  Things that are critical to my world and job, like iFolder3 and Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan 2.2 as of this writing).  I still have to figure out what they did to SkyDrive, but I’ll get that sorted too, and everything else seems to be as good or better in the new version.

So Far, So Good…

So there you have it.  I give it a thumbs-up, and am left wondering why it all didn’t behave like this in the first place.  Windows 8.1 seems to be what Windows 8.0 should have been.  So let’s get to it, and let’s see those enterprise-level Windows 7 upgrade projects swerve a bit and get Windows 8.1 underway; it’s time!

Experimenting with additional recruiting tools…

2013-10-21T04:07:25+00:00 October 21st, 2013|Uncategorized|

From the Recruiting Frontlines…

Although the number of job sites and candidate sources are as numerous as the acronyms around technology, there are a few that yield the most success when locating the top-notch candidates required by our practice. 

All of this being said, there are still those elusive skill-sets in certain areas of expertise or geography that necessitate thinking further “out of the box” with recruiting.  So, I have been working to utilize some additional tools — namely, Google Docs to create a web posting which I then link to groups on LinkedIn, or other similar sites. 

Here is an example of what the link for the currently-open contract Application Packaging posting looks like.  You will also see it tied to my profile, posted to a couple of targeted groups, on LinkedIn.   Let me know what you think …

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kq5-dtydJG9euVh_y0oaB4hgVCBm2z7ANcwm06sGkGk/pub

I would welcome feedback on the look, and if others are seeing these updates/postings and ideas on additional sites or groups that you follow in your professional dialogue.

Look out – Here comes IE 11!

2017-07-27T00:01:03+00:00 October 17th, 2013|Uncategorized|

For many of us that have been watching the recent pre-releases from Microsoft (Windows 8.1 tomorrow!), IE11 will be a welcome update.  In fact, it will be released as an “Important” update for Windows 7 and up, in order to ensure a large footprint.

However, some companies are barely getting through Windows 7 migrations, or have limited resources available to test their applications against the latest browser, and would like to slow the flow of the river of updates a bit…

So for people/companies that perform automatic updates (or standard deployment of “Important” updates) but *don’t* want IE11 to come down to their workstation, there is a toolkit available to stop the IE11 deployment for Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 when using Automatic Updates.  

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40722

Note that for those of you who have used these toolkits in the past for previous versions, the previous toolkits will not stop automatic deployment of IE11, since each uses a different set of registry keys.

Now get that migration done, so you can go to Windows 8.1!!