[J]# 1 The Keyword - Diversity
If this post should be described in one word, it would be diversity. First of all, I have always liked and supported diversity, no matter what the circumstances or the subject. However, it is easy to say something like this but more difficult and complex to actually live according to diversity. It challenge us on a continual basis, both in our private lives as well in our professions.
In the Excel-world there also exists and should exist diversity. Issues have rarely one solution and many commands can be executed in several ways. A trend that indeed supports diversity is that new sites and new bloggs are set up. These bring new aspects and new knowledge and give a wider perspective of Excel and the areas it can be applied within.
Two highly respected members of the OzGrid community, WillR and jhenderson, have recently set up sites, respectively bloggs. WillR’s site reflects his wider interest of Excel & databases while Jim’s blogg sets focus on mechanical estimating with Excel. They invite other people to share and take part of interesting things within their areas of interest:
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Will and Jim as by setting up the sites they do indeed support diversity and do it for free.
# 2 Thanks Armstrong!
In the mid 40’s there was the musician called Louis Armstrong and in the late 60’s there was Neil Armstrong, who took the first steps on the moon, and finally there was Lance Armstrong.
During 1999 – 2005 Lance won the Tour de France which is a new record of 1st places. He is also a role model for modern athletes in many ways. After this year’s Tour he decided to end his career and move along in life.
However, in the early 90’s he managed to survive cancer and when he later becomes a megastar of the sport, he used the position to create the Lance Armstrong foundation. For more information please see: Livestrong
Personally I rank his efforts and strong commitment to cancer-research and how to live with and fight against cancer much higher then all his amazing performances in racing. Thanks Lance Armstrong!
# 3 Total Extreme Makeover
I decided to become more ”modern” and do some extreme makeover. My initial problem was to find a good case for it. Since my body, face, teeth, hair are always in perfect shape as well as my house it was not an easy task but finally it become obvious to me.
It was time to do a total extreme makeover of my computers. I decided to keep two computers, one stationary and one laptop. The laptop is used for presentation of solutions and the stages of development towards clients while the stationary is the core developer-machine.
The stationary was equipped with 2 x 250 GB IDE discs and 4 GB RAM enabling me to run VMware in an acceptable way. I decided to use the Debian distribution as the host system and run all the Windows operating systems as guest systems (virtual systems).
At present the computer runs 8 guest systems with different kinds of configurations and versions of Windows and Office etc. All backups, as well as guest systems that are not used, are stored by the server where also a SQL Server 2000 and a MySQL reside. The laptop now has 1 x 160 GB IDE disc and 2 GB RAM and runs WMware as well (Yes, I use two licenses) with Mandrake Linux as the host operating system.
To my big surprise no TV-company was interested to show a program about my computers extreme makeover but my wife is very pleased with the extra space…
# 4 Information Bridge Framework (IBF)
My latest interest and concern is about the IBF. It’s too early for me to discuss the pros and cons of it but in short it offers an approach to populate Excel and other programs in the Office System 2003 and later with dynamic data from Web Services via the Taskpane through dynamic links.
As with many new technologies it puts a high demand on the planning stage and how to create workable structures.
Two articles that give a basic idea about it can be found at the following URLs:
Introducing the Microsoft Office Information Bridge Framework
Technical Overview of Information Bridge Framework
Some other online resources of general interest:
The Code Project:
IBF – Part I
IBF – Part II
The development of IBF also reflects the emergency trend of diversity and how to communicate dynamic information.
If we only want to consume Web Services in Excel 2002 and later then the following URL gives a basic understanding how to achieve it:
Extract from Dave Hawley’s book “Excel Hacks” written by Simon St.Laurent:
Consuming Web Services
(For those of You who already are happy owner of a copy of the book it’s part of the chapter 8.)
Blogg post by Eli Robillard, which is based and extended on the above extract:
Consuming Web Services
Another excellent source is Stephen Bullen’s et al book, “Professional Excel Development”, where Web Services is covered with XML in chapter 23.
# 5 Book reviews
Two books that also reflect diversity have recently been reviewed by me and they are:
Bill Jelen (aka Mr Excel) & Michael Alexander:
Pivottable Data Crunching
Managing Data with Microsoft Excel
I like both these books for one major reason; they explicitly set focus on specific areas and therefore provide a deep that more general view that written books can’t achieve.
# 6 The End
Diversity gives us a wider perspective of things and reflects in high degree that there exists no single “truth”. The paradox is that we all tend to agree on diversity but the ideals in our “modern” world and the social, as well as the professional acceptable rules, tend to be on the contrary. This is something we all need to take responsibility for and act to prevent. Otherwise we end up in a situation where diversity is just a non-substantial phrase and we become less friendly to each other.
Finally, the life is too short and the “life of the computers” is not the real life so turn off the computer(s) and take part of the life![/J]