Monday, February 29, 2016

Name that Range

How to use names in Excel

Named ranges are one of the more powerful tools in Excel.

Jan Karel Pieterse of JKP Application Development Services has written a tutorial that will help you understand this technique.

Here are some of the chapter titles:

  • How To Define Range Names

  • How To Use Range Names

  • Absolute And Relative Addressing

  • The Context Of Names

  • Special Names

  • A Step Further: A Formula In A Defined Name

  • Dynamic Names

  • Passing Arguments To A Defined Name Formula

  • Bugs in Excel's Name Object
Range Names in Excel

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Backup Tool

Free utility

Backing up files is a "was gonna do that" activity. To make it a little easier, here is a free VBScript that will back up a selected folder to another location.
You will be walked through the process.

Of course your anti-virus software will give a burp, but it does work.

Vic Laurie is a retired chemistry professor. He maintains a site called Windows Tips and Tricks.
" My experience with teaching has made it clear that a lot of people simply refuse to do anything on a computer that involves more than a few simple steps."
Back up Files


Jake Ludington's MediaBlab:

Backup to your DV Camera

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Moxie Cola

What this country needs is plenty of Moxie

"Moxie outsells Coke"

The West coast was not a huge Moxie fan back in the day. Easterners had the advantage of a drink that has been described as a combination Dr. Pepper and cough syrup. It preceded and out sold Coke and Pepsi in the beginning, but lost market position.

How could it fail with a spiel like this:

"Contains not a drop of Medicine, Poison, Stimulant or Alcohol. But is a simple sugarcane-like plant grown near the Equator and farther south, was lately accidentally discovered by Lieut. Moxie and has proved itself to be the only harmless nerve food known that can recover brain and nervous exhaustion, loss of manhood, imbecility and helplessness. It has recovered paralysis, softening of the brain, locomotor ataxia, and insanity when caused by nervous exhaustion. It gives a durable solid strength, makes you eat voraciously, takes away the tired, sleepy, listless feeling like magic, removes fatigue from mental and physical over work at once, will not interfere with action of vegetable medicines.

You can still buy Moxie and a bunch of other odd soft drinks. Here is some information on micro bottlers around the country.

Other soda sites:

The Soda Pop Stop:


Bubbles of fresh tasting mint in a soft drink. This one is so great! It's delicious alone, use it as a mixer or make ice cubes.

The Soda Shop:


"Although we may be the smallest soda company around, our flagship brand is the most locally loved soft drink of its time. Rich with history, Boylan's Birch Beer started in a apothecary in the early 1890's and developed into the most popular flavor of The Boylan Sodaworks. Boylan was a bottling and keg filling operation located in the heart of Paterson, NJ, the first industrialized city in the country.

Competition increased however, and in the 1930's Boylan was forced to close its bottling lines, leaving Boylan's Draught Birch Beer as its only product. Shortly thereafter, the rights to the name, the formula, and the sole route was purchased by the driver. He, by himself, was responsible for pulling Boylan's Draught Birch Beer from near extinction to a beverage that is enjoyed by thousands at Fourth of July parades, town picnics, hot dog stands and many good times.

His reward for this accomplishment was a 7 day - 80 hour work week, but he would have it no other way.

In appreciation of our grandfather's effort, we honor him with this bottling project."

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Compact-Repair Shortcut

Desktop convenience

You can make compacting and repairing databases easier by providing a desktop shortcut.

Right-click on the Windows desktop and select New>Shortcut from the shortcut menu. Then, set up a Command Line entry in the form:

"Path to Access.exe" "Path to Database.mdb" /compact

For example, to create a shortcut to compact Northwind, you might use:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Msaccess.exe" "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Samples\Northwind.mdb" /compact

Click Next and continue through the shortcut setup wizard, naming the shortcut appropriately.

In Access 2000+, the database is both compacted and repaired when the /compact switch is applied.

Access 97 executes these processes separately, so Access 97 shortcuts should use a Command Line in the form:

"Path to Access" "Path to Database" /compact /repair

Also note that you can compact to a different location by specifying a target database name after the /compact switch.

If you omit a target file name following the /compact option, the file is compacted to the original name and folder. To compact to a different name, specify a target file.

If you don't include a path in target database or target Access project, the target file is created in your My Documents folder by default.

(Even though a shortcut will open the database without it, in order for the command line flag to work, you MUST include the path to the executable - Access.exe)

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cost of a Bad Show

Avoid wasting time and resources

A bad PowerPoint presentation doesn't even make for good nap time. Some one is always jabbering about something.

Dave Paradi has written an article about this problem.

"If we assume some relatively conservative meeting parameters of four people per presentation, a half-hour presentation on average and the wasted time due to a poor presentation is one-quarter of the presentation time, we arrive at a waste of 15 million person hours per day. At an average salary of $35,000 per year for those attending the meeting, the cost of that wasted time is a staggering $252 million and change each day."

Bad PowerPoint costs money

He also provides a formula to figure out how much is lost in a sea of gradient blue.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Styles no applied to all text

Word makes judgments

When text is selected, Word must examine the styles that have been applied and determine which to keep and which to overwrite.
  1. Type the following text:

This line will test how styles and formatting work in Word.

  • Select all the text, and then apply italic formatting.

  • Select all the text, and then apply a style such as Heading 1.

    You notice that italic formatting is not retained.

  • Select all the text, apply the Normal style, and then remove the italic formatting.

  • Select "work in Word" in the text, and then apply the italic formatting.

  • Select all the text, and then apply the Heading 1 style.
  • You notice that the italic formatting is retained.
    'This behavior occurs because Word uses a specific rule to determine whether to apply a style to selected text. According to this rule, Word applies a style depending on the percentage of the selected text that already has formatting applied. For example, if you already applied formatting to less than 50 percent of the selected text, this formatting is retained when you apply a style. If the selected text includes multiple paragraphs, Word first calculates the percentage of text that is formatted in the first paragraph. Then, it examines the paragraphs in the same range. If the formatting that is applied to the text in the paragraphs that follow the first paragraph differs from most of the formatting in the first paragraph, Word does not apply the style to the following paragraphs. Therefore, the formatting is retained in these paragraphs."
    A style is not applied to all the selected text in Word

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    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    Grand Complication, The


    By Allen Kurzweil

    ISBN 0-7868-6603-9
    Hyperion August 2001

    About the Author
    The Library of Congress has a reading by Kurzweil

    Book Description
    "Narrated by Alexander Short, a stylish young reference librarian of arcane interests, The Grand Complication propels the reader through a card catalog of desperation and delight, of intrigue and theft. It's a novel of suspense that comes full circle, with a clock-maker's precision and a storyteller's surprise, on page 360."

    "THE SEARCH BEGAN with a library call slip and the gracious query of an elegant man.
    "I beg your pardon," said the man, bowing ever so slightly. "Might I steal a moment of your time?"

    He deposited his slip on the reference desk and turned it so that the lettering would face me. And if this unusual courtesy wasn't enough to attract attention, there was also the matter of his handwriting — a gorgeous old-fashioned script executed with confident ascenders and tapering exit strokes — as well as the title of the book he requested. Secret Compartments in Eighteenth-Century Furniture played right to my fascination with objects of enclosure.

    "Let's see what we can do for you, Mr. — " I double-checked the bottom of the slip before uttering his improbably literary name. "Henry James Jesson III."

    After I had directed him to the tube clerk, curiosity got the best of me, so I rang the stack supervisor and asked that she expedite retrieval. In a further breach of protocol, I pushed through the swing gate and planted myself near the dumbwaiter in Delivery, where I waited for the book to surface.

    "This is terribly kind of you," Jesson said as I slid Secret Compartments under the brass grille.

    "Glad to be of service."

    I was professional enough not to mention the uncanny overlap of our interests — I don't meet many readers keen on lettering technique and enclosures. But that same restraint left me mildly disappointed. The call slip was so enticing, our exchange so stilted and brief.

    Jesson settled himself at a table near the municipal tax codes. He quickly supplied further proof of a charmingly outmoded manner by digging deep into his capacious trouser pockets to extract a roll of paper, a tiny ink pot, and a calligraphy pen. Though he seemed to ignore the stares of nearby readers, he occasionally glanced in my direction, as if to confirm that I'd stuck around. Which, of course, I had. In fact, while he took notes on Secret Compartments, I took notes on him, convinced that the consonance of our uncommon pursuits demanded annotation.

    He wore billowy trousers of moss-green corduroy that had wale as thick as pencils. These he partnered with a button-down shirt of subtle stripe and a dainty chamois vest tied at the back with a fat purple ribbon. He had an indulgent-looking face and blue-gray eyes that recalled the color of the buckram on my compact OED. Despite a bump at the bridge of his nose and teeth that predated fluoridation, he was undeniably handsome, a scholar who appeared unencumbered by the tattered frugality of most academics I assist. Those, in toto, were my preliminary observations of the elderly man wishing to steal a moment of my time."

    A watch that shows the phases of the moon, for instance, is said to have one complication. A watch with five of these extra actions is said to be a grand complication.

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    Monday, February 22, 2016

    UDF is not a Baby Alien

    Things should to function

    Frank Rice has written a "show how" about creating functions that are not included in the box.

    "Excel allows you to create custom functions, called "User Defined Functions" (UDF's) that can be used the same way you would use SUM(), VLOOKUP, or other built-in Excel functions.
    The Excel user who wishes to use advanced mathematics or perform text manipulation is often seriously disappointed by Excel's limited library of formulas and functions. A UDF is simply a function that you create yourself with VBA.

    The following is a sample that is a good candidate for a UDF:
    Function CtoF(Centigrade)
    CtoF = Centigrade * 9 / 5 + 32
    End Function

    In the Worksheet you would enter something like:
    frice's Weblog

    Here are some other links:
    User Defined Functions
    Functions to Calculate Light Years

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    Sunday, February 21, 2016

    Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

    A morning's home companion

    The Writer's Almanac®, a daily program of poetry and history hosted by Garrison Keillor, can be heard each day on public radio stations throughout the country. Each day's program is about five minutes long.
    Minnesota Public Radio will email the newsletter and link to you every morning.

    It's a pleasant way to start the day with Garrison talking about some piece of literary history and then reading a short poem.

    Try it, you'll like it.The Writers

    Also, in keeping,
    Prairie Home Companion Features

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    Saturday, February 20, 2016

    New Fields from Datasheet View

    Table fields on the fly

    We all, of course, pre-plan our table layouts. However, if you need to create a table field while working in Datasheet view, you don't have to switch to Design view.

    There's a quick way to create a field from Datasheet view.

    Right-click on the column heading of the column you want to the right of your new field.
    Choose Insert Column from the shortcut menu.

    Access creates a field with a name such as "Field1".

    You can then immediately start entering data in. You can also use the shortcut menu to rename or delete the newly created field.

    Later you can go to Design view to set the field's properties.

    See all Topics

    Friday, February 19, 2016

    Delete it and Mean it

    Turn off the questioning

    Deleting an item in Outlook sends it to the Deleted Items folder. If you're sure that you want to eradicate the note, you can hold the Shift key when you delete an item.

    You will receive a dialog asking if you are sure you want to permanently delete it.

    To avoid the nagging you can turn off "Warn before permanently deleting items" under Tools>Options>Other>Advanced Options.

    Be careful because you can delete items that might have benefited from one more moment's consideration.

    (If you're using an Exchange server, you can probably get it back)

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    Thursday, February 18, 2016

    Tabs with Number of the Week

    Count to 52

    Excel no longer has a theoretical limit on the number of worksheets in a workbook. One common use of this ability is to add a worksheet for each week in the year.

    Here's a macro that does the trick:
    Sub YearWorkbook()
    Dim iWeek As Integer
    Dim sht As Variant
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    Worksheets.Add After:=Worksheets(Worksheets.Count), _
    Count:=(52 - Worksheets.Count)
    iWeek = 1
    For Each sht In Worksheets
    sht.Name = "Week " & Format(iWeek, "00")
    iWeek = iWeek + 1
    Next sht
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
    End Sub
    Naming tabs for weeks

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    Wednesday, February 17, 2016

    Forms on the Web

    Fill in the blank

    As long as you have FrontPage extensions on your server, you can create original forms for your site.

    (yoiu can also create forms wth Expression Web)

    You can use forms on your Web site to:
    • Retrieve contact information from site visitors (for example, guest books)
    • Receive feedback about your Web site
    • Accept orders and gather shipping and billing information
    • Conduct surveys
    • Provide online registration
    • Offer search box mechanisms
    • Prompt users to log in to your Web site
    Forms with Expression

    Feedback Forms:
    Feedback Forms for Your Website

    Flash tutorial
    Expression Web Forms

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    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

    PowerPoint Shows on DVD

    Not a walk in the park

    Commercial studios will convert your presentations for you, but if you want to get your hands dirty (at least the tips of your fingers), here is how to do it yourself.

    PowerPointBackgrounds — Convert PowerPoint to DVD

    Tutorial about how to convert PowerPoint to DVD

    This tutorial guides you through how to convert your PowerPoint presentations to play on a home DVD player.
    It's great for:
    • Showing presentations without the need for a computer
    • Distributing your slideshows to friends and colleagues
    • Unattended exhibition presentations, that automatically repeat/rewind
    • Giving your presentations more of a TV feel

    And generally making you look more professional.

     Also see: PowerPoint to Video

      Sonia Coleman — PowerPoint to DVD Convert presentations to DVD video

      Camtasia Studio — software

      Wondershare PPT2DVD 

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    Monday, February 15, 2016

    Byte, Nibble, Crumb, Bit

    Umpty ump definitions and references — maybe even a googol.

    We all know/knew that a nibble is four binary digits or half of a (eight-bit) byte and that a crumb is jargon for two bits (two binary digits). However, there must be some other definitions that don't pop into mind right away.

    That's where Whatis, an IT-specific encyclopedia comes in.

    "Every File Format in the World"

    This is a list of file name extension or suffixes that indicate the format or usage of a file and a brief description of that format.

    MIDI file (text+MIDI) (Karaoke)

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    Sunday, February 14, 2016

    Free TIVO

    (Almost, if you've got the parts laying around)

    From the "Not quite too hard to do" file. Construct your own DVR from a leftover PC.

    "I started with an old PC (a Dell Dimension 4500) that had unfortunately been destroyed by lightning. After some experimentation, I figured out that the only bad portions of the PC were the motherboard and the modem (which I didn't need anyway). I decided to replace the motherboard and keep the same case and other hardware because I really liked Dell's clamshell case design. I did some research at my local Fry's electronics store and got a motherboard that would allow me to use the same memory, processor, and case. After getting . . . . .
    Build a Better DVR out of an Old PC

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    Saturday, February 13, 2016

    Shortcuts to Access Objects

    Quick way in

    If you often work with a certain Access objects (specific forms, queries, etc.) in a database, you can create a shortcut to it on your desktop.

    Click on the Object and drag it to the desktop..

    Access will create the shortcut on your desktop, or another location.

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    Friday, February 12, 2016

    Custom Properties

    Use your own

    If you look at Properties on the File menu, you will see a number of entries. You can also create your own custom properties.

    Click the Custom tab and add what you want.

    To insert your own properties in a document, use Insert>Fields

    1. Choose Document Information in the list of Categories
    2. In the list of Field Names, choose DocProperty
    3. Click the Field Codes button
    4. Add the property name to the Field
    5. Click OK
    6. Click OK. Word to inserts the value.

    Here's the "click path" for 2007:

    Also: Word.Tips.Net:
    Creating word custom doc properties from code

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    Thursday, February 11, 2016

    More Cascading Style Sheet Help

    Tutorials, Tools, and Links

    "Cascading Style Sheets separate the presentation from the structural markup of a web site. By applying a CSS style you have the ability to keep the structure of your document lean and fast, while controlling the appearance of the content.

    HTML was intended as the structural markup language. This language focuses on the roles that the different elements of a document have to play, not how they have to look. CSS has been invented and developed for the Internet. It is not an adapted tool from print or programming, but a means of enhancing HTML."
    • CSS Creator site is a place for you to learn about and create CSS, Cascading Style Sheets. The CSS Forum is a place where you can discuss CSS page layouts, positioning, bugs and just about anything related to cascading style sheets. The forum is new, free and most of all needs people like you to create a community. Talk about CSS, ask questions, find solutions, and help each other learn at the CSS Forum.

    • The original CSS Creator is a CSS generator, which you can use to create styles and test them on your site. If you are learning CSS have a look and see how changes will affect your site and generate the styles. The CSS Creator has been used tested on 5266 urls.

    • The CSS Layout Generator will generate layouts with a flexible center column and fixed width left and or right column. All columns will be the same length, the layout can be centered on the page or full width and a header and footer can be easily added. 10545 CSS Layouts have been generated.

    • A light weight multi level menu, which uses a very small JavaScript file for browsers with bad CSS support. The markup of the menu is simply unordered lists, it can support multiple levels and will degrade to a simple unordered list if CSS is turned off.

    • A Useful CSS Links page has been added to the site and contains great links to CSS tutorials, tools, tips from all over the web.


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    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    Who was that font I saw you with last night?

    That was no font, that was my typeface

    You can find the Fonts supplied with some Microsoft products
    Select a product name from the list to get a list of fonts supplied with that product.

    Microsoft's Typography is an interesting site to poke around in.

    Here are some books I use for reference material:
    Words into Type
    by Marjorie E. Skillin, Robert Malcolm Gay ISBN 0139642625

    Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works

    by Erik Spiekermann, E.M Ginger ISBN 0201703394

    The Elements of Typographic Style
    by Robert Bringhurst ISBN 0881791326
    "A font can be defined as a collection of characters with the same style and size. A typeface is the design of the characters regardless of size or style. The terms are used interchangeably today."

    See all Topics

    Tuesday, February 09, 2016

    High Level Presentation Tips

    More than just a PPT tutorial

    Garr Reynolds is currently Associate Professor of Management at Kansai Gaidai University where he teaches Marketing, Global Marketing and Multimedia Presentation Design.

    His web site demonstrates more than just how many slides to show in 15 seconds.

    There are tutorials and demonstrations covering:
    • Organization and preparation
    • Delivery and
    • Slide tips
    Garr quotes Tom Peters:
    ". . . presentation skills are worthy of extreme obsessive study."

    See all Topics

    Monday, February 08, 2016

    Extreme Tweaks

    Learn by example

    When you realize that tattoos are only skin deep.

    "Some people may look at this website, browse through the portfolios, and come to the conclusion that they want to become part of Steve's art. Some others may immediately decide that they don't like what they see. They may be offended or horrified by the subject matter, by the form that Steve's art takes, by the extreme individualism exhibited herein.

    So one person's idea of body modification is going to be a pierced ear lobe, and another person's idea of body modification is to look like the el Diablo himself. Just because you don't agree doesn't make it wrong."

    Steven Haworth

    Here's one of Steve's clients:
    "Stalking Cat"

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    Sunday, February 07, 2016

    Crosstab Query Columns Headings

    Using Month Numbers

    If you display a crosstab query as a datasheet, consider using a month's or day's number as a column heading instead of a text abbreviation (e.g., 1 instead of Jan or January, or 2 instead of Mon).

    Text abbreviations are sorted alphabetically. Apr appears before Feb, Mon appears before Sun, etc. Number representations will sort in their proper order.

    See all Topics

    Saturday, February 06, 2016


    Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud

    The Advance Fee Fraud (AFF) is known internationally as "4-1-9" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes.
    (BTW, it is pronounced 4-1-9, not four-nineteen.)

    You've most probably been approached via email to help some poor soul smuggle millions out of some war torn province in return for a generous finder's fee.
    "A renowned psychiatrist from UC Irvine was duped into squandering at least $1.3 million of his family's fortune on a Nigeria Internet scam, according to a lawsuit recently filed by his son.

    The son, also an Orange County doctor, said his father - Dr. Louis A. Gottschalk - gave as much as $3 million over a 10-year period in response to an Internet plea that promised the doctor a generous cut of a huge sum of cash trapped in African bank accounts in exchange for money advances.

    Gottschalk - who at 89 still works at the UCI campus medical plaza that bears his name - said in court papers that the losses were caused by "some bad investments."

    Guy Gottschalk is asking a judge to remove his father as administrator of the $8-million family partnership that was set up for tax purposes after the death of his mother in 1993. A hearing is set for March 14.

    The suit alleges that Louis Gottschalk destroyed bank records to cover up the amount of his losses.

    "While it seems unlikely, even ludicrous, that a highly educated doctor like [Gottschalk] would fall prey to such an obvious con, that is exactly what happened," wrote Guy Gottschalk's attorney in court papers."

    LA Times March 2, 2006

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    Friday, February 05, 2016

    Vertical Selection with ALT

    Old trick

    This trick has been around for awhile, but it might be forgotten as new information in the right ear shoves old knowledge out the left.*

    If you hold down the ALT key while selecting in a Word document, you can select a block. This could be a vertical area, such as the prefixes of a list.

    The selection can then be formatted or deleted.

    See all Topics

    Thursday, February 04, 2016

    Kahanamoku Keyboard

    Surfboard - Keyboard

    People ask you how to increase the font size in Internet Explorer?

    "Oh, well, go to View>Text size and pick one between Largest and Smallest."

    Here's another way:

    Resize Text Size IE

    Hold down CTRL key and move the wheel on the mouse.
    The page text will enlarge or shrink.

    Here are some others from Penn State University

    Browser Tricks

    Quick jump to Web Site IE

    Type just the Internet domain name in the URL Address field and hold down CTRL+ENTER keys.
    This will fill in www as the machine name and add .com

    Presentation Mode IE

    Select the F11 function key to enter Presentation mode (full screen).
    Select the F11 function key to toggle back.

    Page forward and back IE

    Hold down SHIFT key and move the wheel on the mouse.
    This will page forward or backward through the pages selected.

    Page scroll using mouse wheel button IE

    Push down on the mouse wheel button and slide the whole mouse up and down.
    This will page up and down the screen.

    Open a New IE Window with One Click

    Hold down SHIFT and click on the link.
    A new IE browser window will appear.

    Page forward and back using arrow keys IE

    Hold ALT button and use the arrow keys to page forward and back.

    Get to Your Favorites with Keyboard Shortcut IE

    Enter CTRL+I will bring up your left pane favorites.
    Enter CTRL+I will make it disappear
    Enter CTRL+B to organize your favorites

    Duke Paoa Kahanamoku (1890-1968) is called the Father of Modern Surfing. There were others before him, such as George Freeth, who died in 1919, but Duke is the most widely known.

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    Wednesday, February 03, 2016

    Quote Me All You Want

    What the other guy says has weight

    There are sites that give you Bartleby Quotations.

    Gar Reynold has put together a list of some other sites that can help bolster any argument, no mater how specious.

    "In my presentations, I may have several slides which feature a quote from a famous (sometimes not so famous) individual in the field. The quote may be a springboard into the topic or serve as support or reinforcement for the particular point I'm making. A typical Tom Peters presentation at one of his seminars, for example, may include dozens of slides with quotes. 'I say that my conclusions are much more credible when I back them up with great sources,' Tom says."
    Where to get quotations

    "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."
    Pablo Picasso

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    Tuesday, February 02, 2016

    Change Your Name

    Change your company

    Ever work at a computer that had been assigned to someone else in the past and be bothered by seeing their name pop up all the time?

    You can take charge of your own life!

    1. Go to the Start button and open up the Control Panel
    2. Select User Accounts and click on the account that you wish to Change
    3. Click the "Change my name" option
    Another way is to:
    1. Go to Start>Run

    2. Type: regedit

    3. Find:
      HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Current Version

    4. On the right pane, look for 'RegisteredOwner'

    5. Right click the RegisteredOwner key to edit it

    6. Right click the entry and select Modify

    7. You could also change the RegisteredOrganization.

    See all Topics

    Monday, February 01, 2016

    Composite Keys

    Multi-Field Keys

     To quickly create a multi-field primary key, while in the table's Design View: Hold the Ctrl key and click each field that you want to make up the primary key. Choose Edit>Primary Key from the menu bar, or click the Primary Key button on the toolbar.

     Access creates the composite primary key for you.

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