Useless Blogging

September 1, 2010

Awesomer Excel Trick

Filed under: Programming,Work — steegness @ 9:47 am

OK, so the formula that I last posted apparently required a little work. It became immediately obvious that the use of the formula for a named range failed if the matching column was to the right of column Z; ther CHAR() function will only return one character. I needed to make the formula a bit more complex in order to handle that.

=OFFSET(INDIRECT(“Source!$” & IF(MATCH(“MatchingColumn”,Source!$1:$1, 0)>26, CHAR(64+TRUNC(MATCH(“MatchingColumn”,Source!$1:$1, 0)/26)) & CHAR(64+MOD(MATCH(“MatchingColumn”,Source!$1:$1, 0), 26)), CHAR(64+MATCH(“MatchingColumn”,Source!$1:$1, 0))) & “$2”), 0, 0, COUNTA(Source!$A:$A)-1,1)

Go to town!

August 11, 2010

Awesome Excel Trick for Named Ranges

Filed under: Programming,Work — steegness @ 4:04 pm

I had been using the OFFSET() function with named ranges to create ranges with dynamic numbers of rows for a while, which worked very well, except when the source data was updated by moving columns around.  If a column was added or deleted, I needed to update almost every defined name I had.

To counter that, I made a formula for a named range that only cares about the column header:
=OFFSET(INDIRECT(“Source!$” & CHAR(64+MATCH(“ColumnName”,Source!$1:$1, 0)) & “$2”), 0, 0, COUNTA(Source!$A:$A)-1,1)

Now, I can refer to this named range and get the right column no matter where it is on the Source tab!  Tada!

(Yes, I know.  Sue me.)

April 11, 2010

My boss told me to change the sign

Filed under: Family,Work — steegness @ 10:35 pm

Another enrollment season is upon me at work; once again, we opened our doors to the students of the Year Not Yet, and with minor exceptions, things went off exceedingly well. We’ve still five more programs to open — two tomorrow — and one more that is coming “at some point”, but we’re out of the thick of things.

I’m trying to progress as a boss. That’s probably where I should stop; I can’t think of anything to say (positive or otherwise) that won’t potentially land me in hot water. Just know that I’m trying to do better.

Home life has been interesting since the Bad Weekend below. Many things have turned around, and I’m finding myself having a renewed sense of purpose thanks to my family (even if work has precluded me from seeing them a whole lot lately). I love my wife and kids, and am extremely grateful for the strength they offer me day in and day out.

There’s more on my mind, but it’s got a different theme, so more to come.

November 18, 2008

Milestones: A Full Hand

Filed under: Family,Friends,My World,Thoughts,Work — steegness @ 11:45 pm

Sara went to a birthday party last year. It was a large-ish event, in a fire hall. The kids got to ride the fire truck around, balloons abounded, and the hall was decked out in fire-themed stuff; an impressive soiree for a five-year-old. The boy’s mother explained that in her family, any time you made it a full hand, they’d go all out.

Today marks my sixth full hand.

I’m in the midst of a week off of work simply because I can, and I’ve got the vacation to burn. Today I went in to the office (strictly for cake), and took my mom around to see the place and meet my co-workers. She too took the day off, marking a personal labor day. We ate lunch in Fells Point.

Julie asked me later where I wanted to go out for dinner. Had I known that was in the works, I might not have eaten as much with my mom. We ended up staying in.

Birthdays take a decreased significance once you have kids (they are not unique in this respect, birthdays). Thirty years is a feat, no doubt, but there’s little fanfare to mark the occasion anymore. I don’t THINK that’s me whining about it, but reading over it, it kind of sounds like it. I maintain that today was a good day, really, despite whatever else I may say. 🙂

September 30, 2008

Thoughts on Arizona

Filed under: Thoughts,Work — steegness @ 12:52 am

The restroom of the Phoenix airport smelled like Pez. This was pleasing, until a coworker pointed out that such a similarity can make you wonder about one of two things: what’s in the air freshener that is Pez-like, or (more chillingly) what’s in Pez that is restroom-like?

“It’s a dry heat” is surprisingly valid*.
*offer not valid in your car

With great determination, people can overcome their natural tendencies. It’s hard though, when everything in your brain screams NO WRONG BAD. I’ve great confidence in the staff at ACA, but their brains are not wired to do what I was sent to help them to do, which will make the process more difficult than it probably should be.

I ate BBQ ribs for the first time.

An in-car GPS is the key to wandering an unknown city by car (Mesa is not packed tightly enough to travel far on foot).

I bought Wii Fit from a mall store in Mesa, mainly because I had yet to see a copy in the wild anywhere. Luckily it works, because returning it would’ve been rough. It just barely fit into my luggage (a carry-on bag gifted to me by a former boss [if you’re Skwid: it was Jud]).

September 17, 2008

Oh yeah. Arizona.

Filed under: Work — steegness @ 12:09 am

In my junior year of college (like some readers) I went to Germany for a year of having my academic ass kicked in a foreign language. During my time there, I also spent three weeks wandering Europe by rail, rarely spending more than one night in any one place. When it comes to Europe, I’ve been around, if only briefly.

The United States are another story entirely. I’ve not really gone too far abroad in my own country (though I HAVE been in Canada, courtesy of Niagara Falls). Work apparently seeks to change that.

A little over a month ago, they sent me on a jaunt to Columbus, Ohio. It was exactly as thrilling as you expect “Columbus, Ohio” might be, made even more jaw-slackenly fun by the fact that I was there to listen to an Ohio Department of Education presentation on their data system. Don’t get me wrong — data is my life, and I dig it plenty — but this is the government we’re talking about here, and “entertaining” isn’t high on their list of traits to work into a presentation.

Now I come to find out that by the end of next week, I’ll likely have been to Mesa, AZ and back. Getting data out of our system and into the state system is an ongoing concern for our Arizona school, and as much as I can automate, there’s still got be some brainpower applied (correctly!) at intervening points in the process, and my boss and I don’t think that we can convey that well enough over email and phone calls.

If you’re keeping track at home, the furthest south I’ve been for pleasure is Orlando, and for business is Tampa. To the north, the aforementioned Niagara trip takes the cake (I’ve never really been north for work, aside from a class in Philadelphia). To the west, the limits are St. Louis for pleasure (for Ian’s wedding) and Dallas for work (HI SKWID). Next week will shatter that record, if things go according to plan.

And if you’re wondering, though odds are against it, I could end up in the following also-new-record places under the guise of legitimate work:

  • Boise, ID
  • San Clemente, CA
  • Appleton, WI
  • Reno, NV

June 13, 2008

Undefeated After One

Filed under: My World,Work — steegness @ 9:02 am

The CA Swingers won last night, 10-7. I personally had two putouts, an assist on a play at the plate, and went 2-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. OBP 1.000 baby.

February 25, 2008

This post, in lieu of sleep

Filed under: Family,Friends,My World,Thoughts,Work — steegness @ 1:34 am

Over three weeks since the last post. Oddly indicative of how I’ve been feeling about my computer time in general, really.

Discounting the flu-like symptoms that knocked me on my ass since I posted last, my outlook on my computer has been all sorts of different for 2008. I suppose if I had to pin the blame somewhere, it’s the fact that I go into an office for nine hours a day now, and my schedule (as compared to 2007) is pretty radically altered along with it. I don’t know if that’s the WHOLE puzzle, but I know it’s a significant piece. I look at my PC and think “Do I really want to?”, end up answering “No”, and continuing on to other things (often sleep). I don’t know why tonight is different, but hey, take it while you can.

In random news:

I have a Juniata license plate now. Tess sports a pair of plates similar to the one seen here (for MD), but my number is … 0003. Not shabby.

Thursday was a company happy-hour event at Mustang Alley’s (a bowling alley/bistro two blocks from the office). I believe I whupped everyone, and that my team whupped every other team (with the snow on Friday, schools closed and I didn’t go into the office, so I don’t know the official results). Julie was also exposed to the madness that is “My Co-Workers”, and vice versa. I think the night went swimmingly.

Jodi’s surprise birthday party came to pass (yesterday). She was not surprised, though I was able to startle her. I consider that a win.

We are now in the Week of Perfect Health. Anything that seems like sickness coming from my family must obviously be a farce, since we don’t have benefits this week, and are therefore pictures of perfect health.

My desk will be moving, probably this week. I’m one of many moves that fall in a three-week re-arrange-apalooza. I’m not going to recognize my office soon, which is saying something, since I’ve barely been around long enough to recognize it at all.

January 23, 2008

Shhhhhh…

Filed under: Family,Friends,Thoughts,Work — steegness @ 8:59 am

At work, and in sort of a holiding pattern before a New Hire Orientation this morning. I don’t want to start on stuff that I’ll shortly need to abandon for three hours, so I’m posting this to end the blog-attendance truancy going on in here.

Things continue to go pretty well. In recent days gone by, I’ve been to a birthday party for a one-year old (which was attended by 52 people), and haven’t been to a birthday party for a six-year old (did I get that right, Julz? And did you get our package?). This upcoming weekend is a Juniata Alumni event, the first in Baltimore for the Baltimore crew, and I’m looking forward to it. 23 people had signed up last I looked (my family being four of them), so the turnout should be very nice for the kickoff thing we’ve got going on.

Friday night was an unofficial employee happy hour, fo which I was granted permission by The Boss to attend. Good thing too, because these folks enjoy themselves; not that co-workers from my past life didn’t enjoy themselves, but I certainly didn’t get to experience it firsthand very often.

My kids are enjoying video games, which warms my heart. Emma has taken to Animal Crossing (I picked up a GameCube controller post-xmas for GC games on the Wii), and Sara is all about I Can Play Piano (a gift from my in-laws). Now to get them into two-or-more-player games…

For those who come here hoping for a deep thought, here’s what I’ve got going on right now: What’s your most favorite sound you heard today? For me, the timpani in Roy Orbison’s “You Got It” is winning thus far.

Baaaaa-beeeeeeee… you got it.

January 10, 2008

That Post I Owe You

Filed under: Family,Friends,Thoughts,Work — steegness @ 9:49 pm

As it’s been pointed out, I’ve been derelict in my posting duties since announcing the new job. I was all too aware of this myself; I’d be looking at my blog and thinking to myself, “Man, I’d write something, but I’m just BEAT.” And so thoughts went unwritten, until now. And Grey’s Anatomy is on now too… coincidence?

First, on New Year’s:
The brouhaha that normally is December 31st (and surrounding days) failed to appear this year. Between psychos, work, lack of money, and getting sidetracked to Florida while coming down from Connecticut, the population of the party was far thinner than years past (especially when compared to last year’s shindig). A sum total of five people who do not normally live in our house were willing and able to attend (though a sixth put in a showing on the morning of the 1st). On the plus side, I’ve got a lot of liquor and beer now.

Next, the job:
The job is good times. Hard workin’ times, to be sure, but good. It’s remarkably nice to read Dilbert and think that it’s about OTHER PEOPLE now.

I have something akin to a cubicle, but bigger and more open, and with a window (through which actual light comes!). There are some photos below the cut at the end of the post, if you’re interested. Thus far I’ve been able to wow folks with my Excel wizardry and Access prowess (the latter I really kinda forgot I even had), and they have me assisting with interviews (one so far, another coming up next week), since the new person will be spending a lot of time pulling me out of their back pocket. Me, I’m just thrilled that there are people to talk to. Working from home was nice and all, but the reason I did it was mainly because no one interacted with me when I was in the office with VZ (owing primarily to the wholesale team being scattered to the four corners of the earth, and less to personality conflicts or whatnot). I like people, and getting to be around them again is really quite nice.

I’m in the office for around 9-10 hours or so, depending on the day, at least for the time being. I’m not only trying to make a halfway decent impression, but there’s a LOT to learn. The systems there are complex the way the back of an entertainment center is complex: at any given point, the answer is obvious — connect a wire from one spot to another — but when you add it all up, the system can get pretty severe. The good news (well, a piece of the many bits of good news) is that the people there like what they do and work hard for their results. Vibes are contagious.

Every now and again I get a whiff of how things are back with the old career, and it sure does paint a picture where I’m the lucky one for having been tapped on the shoulder back in November.

I’m tired, but it’s a good tired. A worthy tired. And I hope that explains the lull in posting.

(more…)

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