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As a child, my number one best friend was the librarian in my grade school. I actually believed all those books belonged to her.

Erma Bombeck

Wiki Stats

  • page counts increasing by more than 20% (cumulative) in the last 6 months
  • It is interesting that two of the pages I setup to track statistics are included in the list! Main.SiteSummaryDashboard and Site.AllRecentChanges (actually, the recent changes page is a standard PmWiki page)
  • It is good to see Main.Blackboard on the list as I've paid attention this semester to documenting some of the techniques I've accumulated for making Blackboard work better. Areas that still need attention:
    • Test / Quiz options
    • Overall structure and ease of finding information. Now that it is December ... I need to pay attention for setting up next semester.
    • Assignment options. I wish that there was a global default for allowing multiple submissions to an assignment.

Excel 2013 -- very cool new feature to work with text

Flash Fill is part of the Data menu in Excel 2013.

Text wrangling for non-programmers

Details of the development and release of the feature at

  • The 2011 paper describing how Flash Fill should work: Automating String Processing in Spreadsheets Using Input-Output Examples by Sumit Gulwani of Microsoft Research.
  • Several quotes from the abstract:
    • The language is expressive enough to represent a wide variety of string manipulation tasks that end-users struggle with.
    • We describe an algorithm based on several novel concepts for synthesizing a desired program in this language from input-output examples.
    • The prototype tool has met the golden test - it has synthesized part of itself, and has been used to solve problems beyond author’s imagination.

And some other new features to check out:

  • Quick Analysis
  • Power View

Photo organization

A couple of things to consider:

  1. Organization - of course I'm using Lightroom, but there is much room for improvement. Take a look at Diffractor. Diffractor highlights where metadata is missing allowing you to continuously improve the structure and searchability of your collection. There are also some basic steps to do:
    • Store your photos and videos in a structured way
    • Delete photos that are unwanted
    • Give photos a rating
    • Use tags or keywords
    • Use locations
  2. Backup


It is nearly the end of the semester and wrapping up data analysis sessions. Interesting to see comments and expectations of the future of Excel in the age of Business Intelligence / Big Data / Analytics (pick your favorite label!). A quick summary: the future is bright for Excel. I expect that Microsoft will continue to enhance the platform in this important business application.

Now I wonder when the MAC version of Excel will get up to speed compared to the Windows version? It would be nice to have compatibility between the applications. Remnants of the feud between Gates and Jobs. Sad for users.

Other Excel Pages: Excel References Page, Excel Statistics For Grading, Excel Tips And Tricks, Excel-Data Entry Tip

Batch processing of Word and Excel files

It is the end of the semester and there is usually a pile of Word documents to read and possibly print. Sometimes I wish for an app or a macro that would help with bulk processing. I already use the Bulk Rename Utility to remove Blackboard additions into file names (see Teaching Tools at Scribbles-May 2014. So what about bulk processing of office files. Macro or VBA is the answer. A couple of quick searches:

  1. Installing Macros in Word
  2. BATCH insert header & footer
  3. More ideas on things to do with Word:
  4. No search but I have a consistent thought about an Excel sheet output with document properties from a folder of Excel or Word files. A quick way to summary the file details.
  5. MAC Excel users need a reference to the common efficiency functions such as F4 for absolute/relative toggle. See some ideas at Mac Excel keyboard command to create absolute formula on Blog Notes-January 2012

The Whole Heart Solution - Joel K. Kahn, MD

Dr. Kahn is focused on the basics of healthy hearts with a few simple steps (prescriptions)

  1. Nutrition: Plant based diet, but not "made in plants", leafy greens, organic, tea
  2. Food Prep: do your own
  3. Fitness: Regular physical activity, walk, stand, workout, intervals
  4. Emotional Health: laugh, breathe, meditate, grounded ... more ...


See also Heart Healthy


Desktop search

Everything search

End of the year ... 2015


It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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