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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.

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…]

Find and Replace Line Breaks in Excel

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160812-105344

One of the most frequent things I forget how to do is the replacement of line breaks in Excel cells. You can put a line break in an Excel cell simply by pressing Alt+Enter while you are typing in your data, but sometimes you want to replace some of the text PLUS the line break.

To do this is equally simple (once you know how) just by entering Ctrl+J so say you have a cell with the following data with a line break in it:

ABC
XYZ

and you want to either replace or even remove the top or bottom line you would go to your Find & Replace dialogue box (press Ctrl+H) to bring this up and then enter either of the following in the “Find what:” box…

To remove the top line type “ABC” then press Ctrl+J (it will not actually show anything because the Find what box is only one line high, and you might just be able to make out the top of the insertion point I-bar cursor flashing below the A), then type in whatever you want in the “Replace with:” box - or just leave it blank if you want to delete that top line.

To remove the bottom line first press Ctrl+J THEN type “XYZ”. In this case you might not see anything when you type the “XYZ” except (again) the flashing top of the cursor moving along as you type the letters on what a line which is hidden by the restricted height of the “Find what:” box.

Thanks to Debra Dalgleish for this excellent tip ever at her equally excellent Contextures Blog…

http://blog.contextures.com/archives/2013/05/28/find-and-replace-line-breaks-in-excel/

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.

Avoid SPAM with my text to image conversion plugin for FlatPress

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150530-064419

As one who knows just how easy it is to scrape web pages for email addresses it never ceases to amaze me how many people are unaware what they’re letting themselves in for by putting their email address on a web page.

I never do it myself but I was recently asked to do so by the owner of a new website I’m developing so I went looking for a way to help make those email addresses invisible to the kind of software programs I’ve used in the past, and found a simple text to image conversion script which displays an email address as an image, like this:

If you right click on the image above and inspect the image source address you’ll see that the email address itself is encoded so this will defeat most of the malicious robotic visitors to your site… though I’d still recommend that you NEVER put an email address on a web page, even like this, if you want to be 100% certain that your email address can’t be stolen and used in ways which could make your life a lot more difficult than it already might be.

As I develop most of my sites using FlatPress I wrote a neat little plugin to convert an email address to an image. This is how it works. [Read More…]

Jackanory safety stories

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140828-135258

I’ve just been bombarded with yet another load of safety “stuff” in a big PowerPoint presentation from BP which I got about a third of the way in and then pressed fast forward (sorry BP). I kind of go blind to walls of text and piles of statistics with their various acronyms that you have to try and figure out before you can even try and make sense of what you’re looking at.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only people who understand all of that are the people who write it, and spend a lot of time preaching to people who just want to let out a great big yawn.

The problem is that this way of trying to get a message across to improve the safety culture in the workplace doesn’t work.

I was never a quick reader so I’ve never read many books. I used to like watching “Jackanory” on the BBC when I was younger - and this made me think that perhaps “story-telling” is a much better way to get people to work and play safe, and then I found this, which reaffirms this belief by saying that “narrative storytelling can be an effective way to impart useful safety and health information to employees without insulting them or putting them to sleep.”

Preaching or Teaching: The Use of Narrative in Safety Training

image I think it’d be great if there was a “Jackanory” series of safety stories. One of the illustrators on Jackanory was a man called Quentin Blake (actually “Sir Quentin Saxby Blake”) who also produced an illustrated guide to electrical safety, which I’ve been trying to get a copy of.

Zap! The Quentin Blake Guide to Electrical Safety (Eastern Electricity, 1998)

I think you can probably see that this idea has some merit, though I doubt it would ever become regular tea-time viewing for people when they come home from school work.

“There is no true kindness in the world”

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry131010-110551

What a good article… a question which vexes me - I think it’s what holds me back from doing more. It’s one of those little nuggets of truth to which the answer may well be the one which no-one wants to admit to.

Is altruism just self-interest in disguise?

One guy was so troubled by this that he set out to prove that it wasn’t, that complete selflessness was real and achievable.

It left him penniless, and then he killed himself.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24457645

Removing unwanted white spaces in MS Word

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130605-170650

[updated May 2015 - VBA code updated to check for a hyperlink in a table cell, and just remove the white space from the displayed text while leaving the hyperlink intact]

It may happen that you need to remove white spaces from the ends of lines in Word documents - not just in the main text, but in table cells too.

Removing white spaces from the ends of lines in normal paragraphs is relatively easy - just do a find and replace of ” ^p” (that’s a space followed by the “hat” character which you can usually get by typing Shift+6) followed by a p, with “” (nothing). “^p” stands for the paragraph mark, or pilcrow (¶) which you can see if you show all of the non-printing characters in your document.

This will instantly rid your document of all those unwanted spaces. But what about the same thing in table cells? For this we need to box a bit cleverer. [Read More…]

Tip of the Day : Unlocking PDF Files

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130501-154903

Occasionally you may find yourself in a situation where you have a huge PDF file which you want to split up into smaller chunks. While this is easy enough to accomplish using a variety of free software (or you can use the full version of Adobe Acrobat) you may find that the file has been secured with a password.

There are a number of programs which will unlock these files for you but, in most cases, you’ll need to pay for them. There are some free online services for relatively small files but here’s one which will certainly unlock files which are up to 10mb in size - maybe more. Just choose a file to upload from your computer and click the unlock button then wait for the link to appear, to download your unlocked version of the file.

http://www.crackmypdf.com/

Please observe and respect all Copyright notices in the original document.

Tip of the Day : How to test for background colours in Excel

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130430-173338

Filtering an Excel spreadsheet to show just the rows you want is relatively easy to do, simply by using the AutoFilter function. But what if you find yourself in a situation where you want to filter your results to only show rows where a cell has a particular background colour?

Here’s a neat and not too difficult to follow way of doing that. These instructions apply to all versions of Excel up to XP/2003 but should be easily adaptable for use in later versions. [Read More…]

A Letter From Your Brain

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130215-121458

©1996 Stephanie St. Claire

May be reprinted for personal, not for profit use.

Hello,

I’m glad to see that you are awake! This is your brain talking. I had to find some way to communicate with you. I feel like I barely survived WWIII and am still not quite all in one piece. That’s why I need you. I need you to take care of me.

As time passes and you and I feel better and better, people, even doctors, will tell you that we are fine, “it’s time to get on with life.” That sounds good to me and probably even better to you. But before you go rushing back out into that big wide world, I need you to listen to me, really listen. Don’t shut me out. Don’t tune me out. When I’m getting into trouble I’ll need your help more than I ever have before. [Read More…]

How I got BBC website videos to work again in Opera

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130206-013902

Ok, this problem was driving me nuts for a couple of months but I seem to have got it working again. I’m a VERY long-time user of Opera and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I’m also one of its biggest critics. The great thing about Opera is also the worst thing about Opera - it’s so customisable that it’s infuriatingly difficult to figure out which setting is screwing something up. [Read More…]

Had your email address spoofed? Try this…

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130201-022811

A few more of my friends have had their email addresses spoofed recently and there’s not really a lot you can do about it in most cases - except grin and bear it.

It’s up to each and every one of us to be on the lookout for suspicious emails and to try to keep all the nasties that spammers try to throw at us off our computers.

That’s easier said than done but there’s one thing you can do to ensure that your regular correspondents aren’t fooled into clicking on a link in an email which is purportedly from you. [Read More…]

Encephawhat?

Encephalitis - it really sucks.

Georgi says Hi!

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 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.

visit Georgi’s blog
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