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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.

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.

http://www.professionalexcel.com/2011/06/replace-iferror-with-ifiserror/

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..

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ztUAhgAghKn2wNih7-QgMbSAKfux4w_qkAcJdD82bLU/edit

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…]

Using the current row or column number in a lookup formula

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161017-131301

I was working on a monster spreadsheet which contained over 2000 rows of data spread across 54 columns when I discovered that the spreadsheet I’d been given had about 1000 items (i.e. 1000 rows) missing. I eventually received a revised spreadsheet with the missing items so I was now faced with the task of transferring all of the data which I’d meticulously entered in the original sheet, into the new one.

While it was quite simple to select all of the rows and columns in the original sheet and give it a name (using “Define Name” on the Formulas Toolbar), then use this in a VLOOKUP formula to fill in the cells on the new sheet which had corresponding cells with data on the old sheet, because I had 54 columns of data this would have meant manually changing the column number each time I used the formula in the next column along.

Here’s how to avoid having to do that. [Read More…]

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…]

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…]

Fix for no audio/sound via HDMI

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160829-132605

I have a recurring problem with my media PC dropping the HDMI audio output to my big Sony TV - and I keep forgetting how to fix it (because it’s quite a simple fix but it’s not that obvious how to do it).

Why this happens is anyone’s guess but, for some reason, the TV gets disconnected or disabled somehow - AND THEN HIDDEN in the choice of speakers when you click in the speaker icon in the system tray (where the clock is).

Here’s where I refreshed my memory but, although this says it is for Windows 10 it does also work just the same in Windows 7, which is what I have installed. You may find some additional solutions there, if this doesn’t work for you:

https://www.drivereasy.com/knowledge/fix-hdmi-monitor-has-no-sound-after-windows-10-upgrade/

I knew I had to right-click somewhere and get the Plackback Devices panel to show my TV as an option but I couldn’t remember where. Well, all you need to do is RIGHT click on a BLANK AREA of the panel (right-click on the speaker icon then choose “Playback devices” to show the panel, then see the picture below) and then make sure that both “Show Disabled Devices” and “Show Disconnected Devices” are checked.

This continues to solve the problem for me. I hope this has helped you too!

image

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…]

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/

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…]

How to repair/replace target paths in multiple desktop shortcuts

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry151215-142555

Shortcuts Search And Replace just saved me loads of time when I moved a whole folder structure from one computer to another, leaving me with hundreds of shortcuts all pointing to the wrong place.

It was simple to use (the program is self-contained so there’s no installation required) and I found and replaced a matching pattern in the Target Paths of about 350 shortcuts in less than a minute - fantastic, and well worth my small donation which went winging it’s way back to the author once I’d tried it out.

In addition to replacing a matching pattern in the target path this program will also check for dead links - it found 8 “potential troubles” with my shortcuts and flagged them with a helpful yellow warning triangle in the search results preview (a useful break in the process) so I could skip them during the replace operation.

Just one tip: for quickest results run this program directly on the machine where your shortcuts are stored - it will still work across a network, but it works a lot slower that way.

During my search on how to do this I saw lot’s of people struggling to write complex scripts of their own to achieve the same thing, but look no further as this little tool gets my full seal of approval:

http://jacquelin.potier.free.fr/ShortcutsSearchAndReplace/

Screenshot:

Shortcuts Search And Replace Interface

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…]

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
http://blog.georgi.co.uk/