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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:



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!

The Briticiser

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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.

A Spring Storm in Tbilisi

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170519-174209

It just got very very dark outside my office, with a fair bit of lightning.

I took about 150 photos and this was the best I could do!

A Spring Storm in Tbilisi

How to create an alphabetical list in Excel

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170331-151659

There didn’t seem to be a way to create a custom list in Excel which would allow you to put letters of the alphabet down one column (unless you typed one in by hand for however many letters you want to go down to) so here’s a formula I dreamt up to do just that.


This will work in any column and will keep incrementing the lettering well past “Z” (which is a limitation of some other formulae I found to do the same job).

My formula will only work if you start the sequence in the first row because it works by setting the column number as the current row number - so row 1 will be “A”, row 26 will be “Z”, row 5000 will be “GJH”, and so on.

If you need to start your list in any row other than row 1 then you’ll either need to adapt the formula somehow (good luck with that - but please let me know if you have any success) or simply create a list starting in row 1 on a new blank worksheet then the list and paste it as values (so you just get A, B, C, etc. instead of the formula) in the cell where you want your list to start. The keyboard shortcut I use to paste values is Alt-E,S,V., or you can do it the standard way - see the help section for your version of Excel for instructions if you get stuck.

The beauty of this is that the exact same fomula work in any cell and in any column.


Formulae for Roots & Powers in Excel

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170304-003048

If you’ve ever wondered what the little “hat” symbol (^) is for, generally above the number 6 on your keyboard, then your further enlightenment is at hand.

It has a number of uses, for instance you can use ^p in the search & replace function in MS Word to find and replace paragraph markers - useful when you need to remove extraneous line breaks when you paste a block of text in which doesn’t format correctly.

However the ^ symbol in Excel is used to denote powers so, if you want to find the square or cube of a number, rather than use the more cumbersome POWER worksheet function you can just use n^2 or n^3 to find the square or cube of a number.

Here’s how to use that in a formula. [Read More…]

Oil does not come from dead trees (or dinosaurs)

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170303-215520

You don’t believe me?

Well how do you explain the fact that Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, holds more oil & gas than all the known reserves of the Earth?

http://www.space.com … titan-oil-earth.html

There’s a lot to be said for the idea that the earth’s oil pockets are self-replenishing. It wouldn’t do a great deal for the price of oil if word got out that there are trillions of gallons of the stuff sloshing about way down deep in the Earth’s mantle, ready to slowly seep back up and fill the voids which we’ve so far managed to suck dry.

We’re NOT running out of oil folks!

Give anonymously

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170201-175934

imageI put it to you that the main reason people give to charity is to boost their own ego. We all know their type “does a lot of good work for cherridy and don’t like to talk about it (but want everyone to know about it, otherwise… what’s the point?).

If you see someone who needs help, and you can help, do it! No need to make a song and dance about it, and it feels much better.


Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170131-133010

View from my new office…

View from my office

Hardly identical to one of my favourite Van Gogh paintings, but at least I’ve got some cypress trees in there.

Wheat Field With Cypresses, 1889 by Van Gogh

The fish were looking at me - Stanley Oliver

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170128-203107

They had that look that said…

“We can see that you’re sat over there with nothing to do…

so how about giving us our food a little earlier tonight?”,

and do I did

Stanley Oliver 1828

The Collected Works of Stanley Oliver - The Partridge Press 1945

Do trees shiver? by Stanley Oliver

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170128-200900

It seems odd that trees, if you observe them closely, only sporadically drop their leaves, and do so in unison with all the other trees around them… almost in symphony with one another - even when there is no wind at all.

Perhaps some highly expensive apparatus could detect, record, and analyse the precise barometric and climatic conditions in fine enough detail in order to determine any correlation with the trees dropping their leaves.

If not, then there is something else going on.

Stanley Oliver 1841

The Collected Works of Stanley Oliver - The Partridge Press 1945

I was awake - Stanley Oliver

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170128-184325

The rain fell lightly, but steadily, all through the night.

In its wake the road to the headland took on a sheen of sheer silver.

It was then, I knew, I was awake.

Stanley Oliver 1823

The Collected Works of Stanley Oliver - The Partridge Press 1945

For Once in my Life (Extended Version) - Stevie Wonder

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170128-173546

Knife… Fork… Sparklers

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170103-111707

Happy New Year! S Novim Godam! I hope for world peace in 2017 (not that we’ll ever get it in my lifetime but, as the song goes, “things can only get better”.

Knife... Fork... Sparklers

Want one!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161229-004337

A South Korean company has unveiled a prototype for the world’s first manned, two-legged robot. It’s 4m High!

When it came up with “Potential uses” on the video I thought the first one should be to fight other 4m high robots!

I wonder when we’ll ever see the first manned walking robot on the moon?



An automatic house

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161228-213245

There was an interesting article on the BBC website today about a guy who has turned his home into one which watches who is in the building and alerts the owner if there is someone there which it doesn’t recognise. It also adjusts the heating etc. if someone turns up who prefers the house a little warmer or cooler, and the developer expects to be able to expand his system to allow him to “talk” to the house and just issue whatever commands he wants.


It may all sound a bit geeky and even a bit sinister from a privacy point of view, but this is exactly the kind of system which I am surprised hasn’t been developed by a big company such as Amazon or Google because it could open up the possibility of affording a much greater degree of independence for disabled people.

Couple this with a few robots for specialist operations such as getting someone in and out of bed, or to the bathroom, and it would be just brilliant for someone like Georgi to be able to live more or less on his own, yet still be monitored in case he needs help with something.

What the world needs now...

3D Coaster Plate

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161226-170824

It works for me!


Cures ALL Windows problems since Vista

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161224-201602


Just saying…

TP-Link MR3420 3G/3.75G Wireless Router

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161210-182923

TP-Link TR-MR3420I bought a TP-Link TR-MR3420 to replace my aging D-Link DIR-300 router which was beginning to play up.

I’d been looking at the Unifi wireless modems which seem very good (from a first hand account I received) but a bit more expensive than this model, which has the added bonus of allowing you to use it to beam the internet signal from an EVDO USB modem around the house. As we have one of these sticks (we use it as back-up in case we lose our normal connection, and also to access the internet if any of us goes away somewhere) this seemed to fit our needs perfectly… and so it proved. [Read More…]

Excel Functions - Version Compatibility

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161117-162809

While working on a spreadsheet today I was using the ISERROR function to test if a VLOOKUP formula returned a value and, if it did, return the value otherwise display nothing - instead of the usual #N/A error notification.

The usual syntax for this formula begins “=IF(ISERROR(VLOOKUP(…”.

I happened to notice that Excel 2010 (the version I use at work) offered up “IFERROR” as a possible function as soon as I typed the “IF” and, indeed, this allows me to write slightly shorter formula. However this is not backwards compatible with Excel 2003 which I use elsewhere so I avoided using it.

For anyone faced with a situation where they have a spreadsheet containing lots of instances where the a formula contains “IFERROR” then help is at hand at the following link - untested, but I’m sure it’ll work. I’ve bookmarked it here because it looks like quite a useful site.


There are obviously a few more functions which were added in later versions of Excel which you should avoid using if you don’t want your spreadsheet to fail when someone opens it in Excel 2003 (which I much prefer!). The other one I avoid for this reason is “SUMIFS” (I use “SUMPRODUCT” instead) but here’s a useful list of all Excel functions showing which versions they are compatible with - plus a useful description of each..


Here’s the same thing downloaded for posterity as an XLSX file

Windows 10 Update Freezing Computer

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161107-001648

Windows 10 Logo When a monster update came through and installed itself on our Windows 10 laptop,  aside from suddenly getting annoyed to death by “Cortana” (some stupid Microsoft “help thing”, I think - not asked for nor desired, anyway) the laptop - a Dell - just started freezing up after a few minutes of use.

If this happens to you (and you could care less about ditching Cortana) then try this first before tearing your hair out. [Read More…]

Epson ITS L1300 A3+ USB Printer works with TP-Link TL-WPS510U Wireless Print Server

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161028-041004

I think the title above is descriptive enough to answer the question which I’ve seen many people asking about this printer. We bought one for the office today along with a wireless print server not knowing whether we could get them to work together or not, but the answer is a resounding YES! [Read More…]

Fix for Windows 10 Can’t Connect To This Network

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161025-233719

The solution to this extremely annoying recurring problem which worked for me was this:

[Read More…]

Ching! Ching!

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing please consider tipping a few pennies in the jar to help look after our son, Georgi, to whom this blog is shamelessly dedicated.

Georgi contracted encephalitis and fell into a coma in the summer of 2007. He’s a strong boy and survived, but he suffered brain damage and still can’t walk or talk (well, not very well - but he does try). He’s growing all the time and every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.