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This blog is a cross between a scrapbook and a diary. I hope you find something here of interest. If you’d like to keep up with things as I see them then you can subscribe to my news feed by clicking the icon below:

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Please note that any reviews/recommendations are based solely on my own experience and does not constitute a guarantee that you will have the same experience. Please do your own research before parting with any money - the risk is all yours!

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facebook-icon-28x28.pngVisit my Briticiser Facebook Page to keep up with things here - lots of reviews of stuff I’ve really used and also all kinds of helpful computer tips with a heavy bias towards SAVING YOU TIME.

Diadora Shin Guards - they’re not just for sports!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161015-014520

Diadora shin guards helped Georgi to stand upA pair of Diadora shin guards proved to be the perfect solution to help Georgi use his standing wheelchair without having the leg restraint cut into his skin.

After Georgi had his operation we needed to buy him something to let him stand upright. A standing table would have been the cheapest option but that would have been static and quite a problem to lift him up and get him strapped in - and probably quite boring for him too!

A sit-to-stand chair would have been and improvement but, again, quite a static option.

So we splashed the cash and bought him a motorised standing wheelchair which, while we still need to lift him into it, allows him to sit or stand and motor around the house destroying the furniture at the flick of a joystick.

However, due to his contractures, he can’t straighten his legs sufficiently well to allow him to stand up straight and although the machine we bought came with a foam restraint to keep his legs together and allow him to stand, because his knees are always bent this restraint actually pressed into his shins and caused terrible sores… and sometimes bleeding too.

The solution was one which Georgi himself thought of - a pair of football shin guards (or shin pads, as I’ve always known them) proved to be perfect for stopping the restraint from cutting into his legs.

The result is that Georgi can now stay standing for much longer and until he gets tired, instead of when his legs start hurting.

Thank you Diadora!

“The only model that works” does not mean that it is the right model

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161013-134934

I have a particular bee in my bonnet about for-profit charity donation sites - Just Giving is a prime example and a 2011 Evening Standard interview with co-founder Zarine Kharas ended with her saying that so-called soft capitalism is the only model that works when it comes to raising much needed funds for charities and special causes.

But this doesn’t make it right and I find it very sad that thousands of people feel a need to turn to these sites for help because they only address the symptoms of a problem which is deeply rooted in society as a whole.

I wonder, too, whether sites like Just Giving are just making things worse by vacuuming up donations for a plethora of non-urgent causes at the expense of those charities who are fighting to help people around the world whose situations are really desperate (and, in many case, caused by the governments who we elect and allow to wreak misery on their lives in our name).

People who are in greater need of care than the rest of us should be identified, assessed, managed, and given full reassurance that they will be looked after and will have no need to worry for the rest of their lives.

Where is the model which can accomplish this, because there is one - but not one which will be acceptable to the vast majority of First Worlders for whom charity is something they see as a tax-loss, or a highly commendable attribute which they can add to their CV.

Most people “give to charity” for all the wrong reasons - while they may kid themselves that they are feeding the poor they are, more often than not, feeding their own ego but this is just another symptom of the underlying problem of the world we have created between us.

Greed and consumerism aside I do believe that most people in the world wish there was a model for more utopian world - well, the Venus Project is one such model but we are at least several generations away from even getting to the point where people’s attitudes will change enough for us to set foot on that road. Maybe a big war will come and reset things so we just end up making the same mistakes again.

3D - Election Day

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161008-130647

It’s time for the media circus which masquerades as the Parliamentary Elections in Georgia today - always entertaining, no matter which side you support. It’s a nice day for it so I hope there’s a big turnout.

image

image

Merging cells in Excel can lead to formula errors

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160930-180600

As I’ve just discovered after so many years of using Excel if you merge a group of cells and then use a lookup (I only ever use VLOOKUP but it will probably apply to HLOOKUP too) to return the value from that merged group of cells, then you run the risk of getting the wrong result.

Here’s why, and why you should NEVER use merged cells in part of your spreadsheet which you might (one day) want to look up date from via a formula…. [Read More…]

3D - An Autumn afternoon in Tbilisi

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160925-131121

Late Saturday afternoon in Uznadze Street, looking North

Column A missing in Excel?

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160922-232228

It sometimes happens that you open an Excel worksheet to find that one or more columns are missing - in the example below Column A has mysteriously disappeared - so what’s going on?

Well, before doing anything see if you can spot the difference between the following two images… they’re not identical and the difference is crucial to telling you why Column A is missing.

image

image

Did you spot the difference? Take a closer look at the horizontal scroll bar ↑

In the first picture it looks as though you can scroll to the left to see Column A - if nothing changes when you try to do this then Column A is simply hidden from view and there are a couple of ways you can unhide it again - either by moving your cursor to the line just to the left of the letter B in the column headers and seeing if it turns into a horizontal double arrow Excel Hidden Column Widener Cursorwith TWO vertical bars through it, like this,  indicating that there is something hidden there. When the cursor changes this way you can simply click on the line and drag it to the right to unhide the column, or you can type A1 in the Name Box (that’s the white box on the left, just above the column headers) and press the Enter key to go to that cell… even if it’s hidden. This is useful to know because you sometimes might want to check the contents of a cell in a hidden column without unhiding it, so this is how to do that. Once you’ve selected that cell you can then go to Format… Column… Unhide to make it appear (Office 2007+ key strokes Alt+O…C…U).

But what if none of the above works?

In fact it’s quite possible to lose Column A without it being hidden in the usual manner at all, so no amount of trying to unhide it will do any good. What then?

The reason why this may happen to you is if your worksheet’s horizontal scroll bar is fully to the left - this indicates that you have FREEZE PANES activated on your worksheet. In this case all you need to do is unfreeze the panes from the Window menu (Office 2007+ key strokes Alt+W…F) and you will be able to scroll to Column A.

What’s the crake?

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160901-190400

I feel somewhat vindicated in my stance that the correct term for “good banter” in Ireland and Britain is “crack”, not “craik”, and not “craic”.

http://www.scotland.com/forums/language/15676-craik-crack.html

It seems that the correct spelling was and will always be “crack”.

The so-called Gaelic spelling (craic) is a fairly recent introduction and is not a Gaelic word at all, it is purely an attempt to make a Gaelic-sounding word out of the original - perhaps because of the narcotic connotation of the correct spelling or maybe just because too many people from the old country want to sound like they’ve just stepped off the steamer from Queenstown.

I’m sure it will continue to be used in all of the thousands of “Irish Bars” which are dotted around the world and will, eventually, be pronounced “crake”.

So there you have it.

How to return the text before or after the first or last space in an Excel cell value

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160830-163100

If you ever run into a situation where you want to get rid of everything but the text before or after either the first or last space in a cell value then here’s a great formula to do just that.

The formula looks complicated but, as with all complicated Excel formulae, it all makes perfect sense once you break it down. [Read More…]

No sound on your Philips Monitor? Try this…

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160817-161732

We bought a few Philips 274E (274E5QHAW) monitors for our office and they’re great - except that one of them steadfastly refused to play any sound.

After much testing I figured out that the problem was with the monitor itself and nothing to do with cables, drivers, or anything else.

The answer was right in front of me… [Read More…]

Trivia Corner: Todd Allen Durkin

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160415-192552

Nickelodeon’s WITS Academy Headmaster Todd Allen Durkin is the nephew of Eraserhead star Jack Nance:

image `image

What’s THAT doing in Word 2010?

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160329-125122

Blast from the past error message in Word 2010

3D Moon & Jupiter

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160127-235324

Just happened to see Jupiter following the Moon up through the trees this evening. Go cross-eyed to see the 3D image - click on the picture to see the full size version.

3d-moon-jupiter

Add a new FlatPress Blog in Open Live Writer

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160121-165110

imageOpen Live Writer is the new open source version of Microsoft’s wonderful blogging tool Windows Live Writer, and users of the latter will feel VERY at home with the new open source version (as it’s pretty much the same thing!).

In my previous post I gave you my first impression of it - there was a slight hiccup when I tried to set it up with my first blog account, but here is how to add another blog account once you’re up and running. [Read More…]

Live Writer is now Open Source

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160120-174435

imageWindows Live Writer is/was a great blogging tool but Microsoft haven’t really supported it for some time now, so thanks to them for allowing it to become open source so it can be developed by the large community of users who love it to bits.

This is my first post using Open Live Writer on FlatPress and it was relatively easy to set up, but not so straightforward as it could have been… so here’s what FlatPress users may* need to know in order to get it working. [Read More…]

Dell Latitude D630 - Cure for a Flashing Orange Battery Light

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160110-115232

If you own a Dell laptop and suddenly find that the orange battery light is winking at you then maybe it’s time to get a new battery… or maybe your laptop’s power meter is simply lying to you. If this happens to you then here’s something to try first before all else. [Read More…]

How to install a network printer WITHOUT administrator privileges

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160107-173447

There are lots of suggestions out there in “IT Professional Land” about how to provide your common or garden computer user with just enough privileges to allow them to install a printer.

The problem is that often it’s the computer user themselves who need to know how to do this WITHOUT involving their IT people who, more often than not, end up asking the question on a web forum and get mixed up in all sorts of conversations (and sometime arguments) about which is the best way to do it - wouldn’t it be great if there was a trick to it all? Well, try this one… [Read More…]

Windows shortcut files are a little more useful than I thought

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry151214-092353

But only a little. I create shortcuts using VBA all the time and - up till now - I thought that the only extra field which was possible to display information about the target was “Description”, so I was surprised to see a shortcut which I created manually (just in Windows Explorer) showing the title field from the target file. [Read More…]

How to add folder comments in Windows 7

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry151103-120033

Adding a description to a folder so you can easily see what that folder contains is one of the greatest features that Microsoft have left out. It was possible using Windows XP by using a 3rd party program called HobComment and there’s a bit more information about this in my earlier post on this subject here:

How to restore file tooltip popups in Windows 7

Sadly this doesn’t seem to work under Windows 7 but it can be used WITH Windows 7 - meaning that any comments created by HobComment can be viewed on ANY Windows 7 machine (they show up in the native Windows Explorer “Comments” field, if you choose to display that) - which is actually an improvement on XP as the only way to see those comments previously was by having HobComment installed on your machine: other network users couldn’t see them.

I have the option of either using an XP machine on my network, or Windows Virtual PC on my Win7 laptop (running virtual XP) and I have HobComment running there.

This is read from a Desktop.ini file which HobComment creates in the folder. I’ve tried just copying one of these to a new folder and editing it with a new folder description but that doesn’t work - I need to go into an XP machine running HobComment and confirm it there so it can do whatever magic it does to make it appear.

The text in the Desktop.ini file is simply 2 lines like this:

[.ShellClassInfo]
Infotip=YOUR FOLDER DESCRIPTION HERE

I’m sure someone out there must be able to glue all of this together somehow and make something similar to HobComment for Windows 7. Whoever you are “good luck, we’re all counting on you”!

Can’t delete or rename a folder in Windows 7? Try this

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150907-162937

Occasionally you may receive a Folder In Use message such as “the action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program” when you try to rename or delete/move a folder in Windows 7.

folder-error-msg

There are a number of suggestions out there which might work for you, but try my suggestion first and you may be pleasantly surprised. [Read More…]

This is how to enter a blank line in an Acrobat X Text Box

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150618-115736

Yes, pressing the Enter key in an Acrobat Text Box will create a blank line but, ever since about Acrobat Version 9 that blank line magically disappears when you either click outside of the text box or save the document.

Well done Adobe!

Fortunately you can get the blank line to stay there if you hold the CTRL key down as you press Enter to create it.

CTRL+Enter lets you create a blank line in Acrobat X, and have it stay there! It’s as simple as that.

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.

Support our caregiving

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.