Microsoft Powerpoint How-to: 5 Steps to Smaller Files

powerpoint file size 01So you've been toiling for a week over your latest and greatest Powerpoint presentation, and you're sure it's going to get you booted right into that corner office you've been drooling over. Just to make sure you haven't misspelled the new CEOs name, you decide to e-mail your creation to a trusted co-worker for proofreading. That's when you discover it: You've created a 50 mb monster! The last thing you want to do is to delete that cherry graph showing your main competitor's tanking stock market valuation. But you need to get it under your company's 2 mb e-mail attachment limit, and you don't have time to burn it to a CD and FedEx it. What's a wannabe-executive to do?


Define Microsoft Access relationships using integer keys

access logoI received a call from one of my co-workers in the UK the other day, looking for some help with a quick, down-and-dirty database to help him track company assets held by employees. Just something to track the details on all of the computer and peripherals, phones, cars, things like that. He already had it started, and just needed a little help getting the report built and formatted. So, being the nice guy I am, I say 'Sure, zip it up and send it to me, then I'll give you a call back'.

A minute later I had it opened up and was looking at the tables. He actually did a pretty good job, and had the different 'objects' in their own tables. He had a user table, a phone table, a car table, and an IT table. He had, however, fallen into a typical trap that novice database developers often fall into. He had set up a 'name' field in the user table, then had used that name field for the linking fields in the other tables. So what's wrong with that, you ask?


Using the Google Calculator

google calculator 01This will be old news to some of you, and a complete revelation to others: You can use Google for a whole lot more than just finding out the nature of that nasty looking growth coming out of Uncle Henry's neck, or how many worms you'll find when you put in your new swimming pool. You can use it to add! And while that by itself is certainly worth the price of admission, the Google Calculator will perform all sorts of common (and not so common) stuff that's even cooler than adding! Just ask it a question....


Internet Scams - Phishing Scams - Identity Theft

phishing 01No, it isn't a misspelling, or a way to entertain yourself by playing a game on your computer. It isn't a game at all, millions of people succumb to these well thought out and cleverly devised scams every year:
  • You receive an e-mail from your bank, asking you to confirm a charge from a hotel that you have never been to.
  • A credit card company sends you an e-mail telling you that you need to log in to your account within the next 24 hours to confirm your account details, or your account will be suspended.
  • You get an e-mail from Amazon explaining that during their last account update they could not verify all of your account information, and that you need to log in to your account to verify that information.
  • PayPal sends an e-mail telling you that they have reason to believe that your account has been hijacked by a third party, and that you need to log in to your account to verify your identity.

In all of these cases there are helpful links embedded in the e-mail, so that you can simply click here to quickly address the issue that is described.


Microsoft Excel / Word How-to: Mail Merge Setup

mail mergeSo you have a document that you need to send to more than a couple of people. Maybe hundreds, or even thousand of people. Or you want to print the labels for your holiday greeting cards, so that you don't have to put pen to paper to get all of the addresses on the envelopes. Getting married? When we did, we put the names and addresses of all of the invited guests into an Excel spreadsheet, along with phone numbers, the RSVP, dinner dish selection, and after the wedding the gift received. Invitations and thank you cards went out using the same mail merge, from Excel to the label sheets using Word for the layout. It may sound complicated, but it really is a great time saver once you've figured out how to set it up. It takes a few steps to walk through the wizard, and the first time you do it you'll need to pay attention, but it really is easy!


Microsoft Excel How-to: End Of Month (EOMONTH) Function

excel logoA week ago or so E happens to mention a project that she has taken on at work. It was fairly complex, and for one part of it she needed to be able to dynamically update a row with the date for the end of the month, for the next 12 months. She wanted to be able to enter in a starting date, then have the adjacent 12 cells fill in automatically with the last day of the month for the next 12 months. I knew this could be done with a fairly complex formula, and certainly with some VBA code. But it seemed to me I had run across an end of month function previously in Excel, and with just a little bit of investigation I found it. Strangely enough, it's called EOMONTH, and here's how you can find it and use it.


Microsoft gets Web 2.0 - packing a wallop

It looks like Microsoft doesn't wants to be left out of the social computing game. From the Wallop website:

Microsoft Spins Out A Wallop
Microsoft IP Ventures program teams up with Silicon Valley entrepreneur to create a new social networking company

...The company aims to solve the problems plaguing current social networks and introduce an entirely new way for consumers to express their individuality online...


Microsoft Producer for Powerpoint 2003 plug-in review

powerpoint logo[November, 2008] It doesn't appear that Microsoft is actively supporting this product anymore (probably just as well). However, you can still get it if you want (follow the link at the bottom of the page), so I left the review in place.
Editor's Note:
I had planned on walking you through a complete product evaluation - installation, importing, features, and publishing. I realized a little way into this that doing so would make me guilty of the same infraction as Microsoft in their presentation of this product. Therefore, it seemed prudent under these circumstances to give you the summary first.


Temporary Internet Files - Deleting from Internet Explorer

windows logoIn as much as website developers spend an exorbitant amount of time complaining about them, modern day web browsers are actually remarkable pieces of software. It wasn't that terribly long ago that the entire concept of a software program that was capable of interacting with a wide variety of computers and operating systems was completely revolutionary, the 'holy grail' of software development. Granted, this magic takes more than just a browser to achieve, but I have to admit there are times when I am just amazed that it actually works. This could just be the programmer in me, because I know what it takes to actually get things to work (I think sometimes that programmers are the people that are the most surprised when software programs actually work).


Microsoft Windows - Defragmenting Your Hard Drive

windows logoSo my daughter mentions the other day that her computer "isn't working". Over the years I've learned that this very general, benign description is in reality a secret code for a wide variety of computer ailments, ranging anywhere from the minor:

- some program refuses to do something that she wants it to do, which by the way has absolutely nothing to do with the actual capabilities of that program

to the major:

- there is currently smoke, sparks, and/or flames coming out of said computer

On this particular occasion it meant that the computer, along with half of the other electrical appliances in the room, were completely dead. With some minor investigation I found that a GFCI outlet had tripped, as her desk is in the basement and is protected by these oh-so-sensitive electrical devices. With some slight nervousness I reset the device (as the aforementioned flaming computer could have been the reason it had tripped in the first place), and waited to see what would happen. To my great relief and surprise the computer booted right up, and even managed to recover a Word document that must have been open when the thing had unexpectedly been shut down by the tripping circuit breaker. Feeling lucky, I thought it might be good time to perform a little routine maintenance on the machine, part of which is defragmenting the hard drive.



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