Coincidence or … ?


I use Microsoft Money 2002 to manage a number of financial accounts locally on my laptop. It is no longer supported by Microsoft, but still works the way I like. I run it in a compatibility mode as if it is running on a Windows XP machine. There has been a number or rumours that the next update to Windows may disable some compatibility modes in order to force customers to purchase newer products. These rumours, whilst not being confirmed or denied by Microsoft tend to flare up now and again and there has been rather more this year than previous years.

In order to ensure that I have some kind of continuity, I have started to look at maybe using Excel to do the job. I had encountered a few problems with formatting and a couple of formulas. Nothing I tried seemed to work, so I posted a question on an Excel forum that I used when I working for the council. After about 30 minutes or so, I got a reply. I followed the instructions, but only partly did what I wanted. I thanked the responder and gave a bit more detail. The next reply came back within 5 minutes. Once applied, everything worked as I wanted.

Now for the coincidence. This morning I received an email from Microsoft. I get regular updates as I have a Microsoft account that came with Office 365. This email was advising me that the new Microsoft Budget Template was now available in Excel. Prior to today, the template was only available in America. First impression is that it is something that I can work with if Money 2002 is blocked.

Was it just a coincidence ?

** Update … it appears that the Money in Excel is still not available in the UK. Microsoft are (supposedly) looking into why I received the email **

Tech woes part the third …


I suppose one of the most baffling problems I had over the past couple of weeks was with Windows TaskTS Scheduler. I needed to run a task to open and run an Excel spreadsheet. Excel would open a specific sheet and then a macro would update the sheet and save it in one of my cloud storage areas. 

Error 1I have done this every six months over the past four years, without any problems, until now. The task is a “one time” task as the file name changes each time it is saved. So I opened up Task Scheduler, and immediately received  one of two similar error messages. These seem to point to some problem with updating some software. I closed each message and set up a random test task to see if it was still working and all seemed to be good. The test ran fine which I took to mean that the issue might not be as problematic as I first thought. But it was annoying and I needed to stop it happening.

I began to trawl through the various tasks that were set to run, and to be honest there wasn’t that many and I could not find any that related to any kind of update. I did find a number of tasks that related to software I no longer use such as Adobe Acrobat Reader and Photoshop Express, which should have been removed when I uninstalled them.

So it was back to the forum that I use, to ask the question and see what came up. Like most help forums it wasWoody a couple of hours before anybody came up with anything. When help arrived, unfortunately it didn’t help much.  But then I got a message from an old colleague. FoxThey seemed to think that it may be some software that was new or had recently been updated. There were two programmes that had a recent file date. Firefox browser was one and an application called PyCharm that is an IDE (Pythonintegrated development environment) that I was using as a front end for my learning the Python programming language.

PyChI removed both and the problem disappeared. So I reinstalled Firefox and checked Task Scheduler. Still no problem which led me to believe that PyCharm was the culprit. It was confirmed when I reinstalled PyCharm and the errors returned. That has gone for now with some feedback to the software house. I now need to look for another free IDE to work with Python.

Nearly the weekend


Work has gone according to plan today. I knew that there was not going to be too much to do this afternoon, so I paced myself during the day. I got most of what was to do done completed. Just a couple of mail merges with Excel, and it will all be done. ——– Right, that’s them done. I’ve another two to do on Monday. I suppose I could finish them today, but then again … maybe not.

I’m going to watch the panto tonight. They have had a couple of performances, so all the major mess-ups should be strightened out now. I’m looking forward to a good laugh. Mind you, one of the Dames does take a walk into the audience and pluck some unlucky person to go up to the stage. As I’m now ‘one of them’, as they so kindly say, this could be me !!!!! I’m not too sure if I’ll go to the pub after the show. I’d better take some money just in case.

An interesting day…


   Interesting, may not be the correct word here. It has been a very good day. Despite the rain when I was putting the washing out, and despite the fact that the bed sheet is too large for the dryer. R*** has been in an exceptional good mood. We have had singing and laughing and joking with him. There has been no violent outbursts whatsoever. He has eaten his meals without any fuss, if fact he seems to have eaten more today than i have seen him eat in a long time. The interesting fact though, is that he has had no medication at all. It is now 10:20pm and he seems like is is almost ready for bed. Just need to get him to turn his PC off. Fingers crossed.

   I sorted out the problem I had with the windows Recent Documents folder. It seems there is a bug in Office 2007. If you open and save a file, from within the application, be it Word, Excel or whatever, then no shortcut is placed in the windows Recent Documents folder. However, if you open the file from explorer then it does appear. I don’t know why I was that bothered really, as I never remember to look in Recent Documents. I usually tend to use explorer or open the file from within the application. Live and learn.

   Whilst I am on about Microsoft and windows. I recently downloaded, and installed the new Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) software. It got good reviews in the final beta stages, and even more when the product was released fully. It has been running for about a week now, and I decided today to remove it. Since installation, a number of basic actions, have been taking a great deal longer than usual. Applications like Windows Explorer taking 20 seconds to open, and memory sticks too. Now, I have AVG Free, Spybot S&D, Adaware,  Windows Firewall and Windows Defender. Do I really need yet another security product ?? MSE is supposed to be good, and from what I read, it is supposed to do away with Defender, but it cannot be a coincidence that as soon as I remove MSE, everything seems to get back to normal.

  Today is a bit of a blogging celebration. I have now posted everyday since 11 July 2009. Feeling really pleased with myself. It has sometimes been a bit of a bind, trying to think of something to post, but I have managed it, even if it has only been a short paragraph posted from my mobile. Here is to the next three months.

Nearly the weekend


   A very busy day today. With it being the 1st day of the month, I had some finance reports to do. It is quite ridiculous really. The team I create the reports for, have access to the data, and the reporting tools, but claim to ‘not have the skills’ to manipulate that data into a readable form. It’s just a spreadsheet with, with a lookup table !!! Nothing difficult. Still, it keeps me in a job. It makes me laugh sometimes. We get new finance people in, and I think they are going to be able to do some of my work, and they never can. So the work stays with me.

   Our Call Centre Management system was back up and running again today. It appears, that the PC we were running the system on, was not up to the job. Couple that with the problems they had when the contractor updated the server, meant we needed to upgrade our PC. Now with our IT department, upgrade, means money for IT. However, the guy that came down to sort the problem said he was not interested in cost, but only interested in fixing the problem. I must keep this chaps number. Is this boring ??????

    I had a bit of a headache this morning. I did not bother with coffee when I got in last night, and that is always fatal, after a few drinks. I am of the opinion, that coffee seems to absorb some of the alcohol, and stops me dehydrating. Well that’s my theory. It’s true though, if I don’t have a cup of coffee, before I go to bed, I end up with a hangover the next day.

Weekend over …..


   S**** has gone back to his flat this afternoon. Mrs H was very upset, which of course made him upset. They are both worried about his bad back, but I think he was glad to get back. We have just tried contact him over the internet, but failed. We did get through on Skype, sort of, but the both video and audio quality was vey poor and broken up. We then tried messenger and could not even connect with the video that way. Then he seemed to go offline. Hi mum vas vey disappointed. Oh well better luck next time. I suppose it could be the weather.

   I’m back to work tomorrow. I think I could be quite busy. A couple of finance reports to do in Excel,  and D*** is on flexi, so I’ll have the downloads to do first.

   I have a Outlook 2007 tutorial on my lap-top, so I think I will print it out tomorrow. It should, along with the reference card help me get used to my new email/contact manager. Touchwood, all the office software seems to be working as it should now. I still have a problem with the bluetooth, and I don’t seem to be able to synch my PDA, but that probably just needs tweaking, and it not such a problem really. If the worst comes to it, I’ll uninstall it and change the USB port that the adapter is in. That often makes a difference.

Its official …… I’m a ‘nerd’


It’s true …… I am officially a ‘nerd’. To be precise an ‘Excel Nerd’. Well here’s the story. I regularly read the ‘”Contextures Blog” (quick plug) which is an excellent resource for all things Excel, run by the wonderful Debra Dalgleish. I came across this by accident, whilst looking for a solution to a problem with an Excel formula. To cut a reasonably short story even shorter, there was a competition on the website, and I won a prize !!! Thanks very much Debra. It was quite unexpected.

Quiz-nite !!! Well what can I say. Our team was only three points off winning. Not in any of my wildest dreams have we got that close. To be honest, there three questions, that if we had not have changed our minds (and it was a joint decision), would have projected us to the dizzy heights drawn winners. And…… if I had looked a little more closely at the picture of the group, I may, possibly have got it right. I said Earth Wind & Fire, and it was The Commodores. So four questions off winning !!!!! However, I did win the Bingo. It was a joint win, so I had to share, but £13.50 came in very useful, and it was drinks all round for our team. It was a good evening. B** and R** are nice people, and good old Dr J*** was a laugh too, despite his injured Achilles tendon. I don’t know if I’ll go next week. They are after all S****’s friends, and I have serious doubts that when he has left, they will ask me to meet them. I may be wrong.

No walk again. This rain is becoming a bit of a bind, and I’m starting to get a little bored at lunchtimes. My ‘pedometer pack’ has not arrived yet, and according to the coordinator, we start on Monday! I also had a look at the price of ‘cheap’ running shoes. Best price at ‘World of Windsor’, was £25.00, for a make I have never heard of. I do not want to pay a lot, for what may be just a flash in the pan idea.

This blog, seems to be getting somewhere now. Forty two hits yesterday, plus a very generous comment from a reader, and at the last count I had thirty two hits today. This may of course go up (he said with his expanding head) when this gets posted.

Finally, work is getting tedious and annoying. The phone calls I was waiting for yesterday, I am still waiting for …… We have an update to the SQL Server on Sunday (yawn … nerdy Geek stuff … its in the blood now). I have emailed all the relevant people, but you can put money on it, that I will have to do a reminder, before I leave on Friday.

Done for now. or I’ll have nothing to write tomorrow.

Best laid plans…….


The above title, refers to the National Lottery (Lotto). I had it all worked out. I downloaded the 6 most often picked numbers, and did the Lotto with them. I got one number !!!!! So much for a system, although I will give the same numbers another go next week. It is as good as lucky-dip. What I need is a list of the winning lines, and from that, I’ll try and identify the lines that share the same numbers. I feel an Excel Pivot Table coming on here.

We managed a little walk today, Not easy with theThe Old Star - Clifford youngest as his first reaction to ‘lets go for a walk’ is always an emphatic ‘NO’. However after ignoring his protestations, we did get out. We walked about  4 miles or so, but we did have a pub break about two thirds of the way round. He knew where we were going too, because, just as we got to the pub, he turned into the beer-garden. We usually do this on this walk. My plan is to go to the Red Lion, with both of them tomorrow. I don’t hold out much hope at all. Youngest, said his usual … and the eldest just laughed.

The ‘move out’ day gets nearer. He is counting down the days, and I think Mrs H is trying to put a brave face on it. I don’t know how I feel yet. Part of me says. we’ve done our best and it is now up to him, and the other part is still worried about him. It’s that part that I’m trying to convince , that I was only a year or so older than him when I got married, and I was okay. When I left home for the first time, it was as a married man.

No one on MSN tonight, so it looks like an early night.

All done..sort of


Well the reports got done. I tried doing the ‘fiddly bits’, but I did not know what ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’ actually wanted me to do. Juggling the spreadsheet about, using financial controls is not my kind of thing. So after consulting the boss, I left the job ‘unmolested’. Anyway, neither of the people for whom the report was for, was in this morning. So not really my fault. I got a couple of Spike’s reports done too. That shut him up. I don’t think he expected me to have them done. I’ll get the permit one done first thing tomorrow. I did learn how to create ‘Dynamic Ranges’ in Excel and how to create a User Defined Function, so not a wasted day then.

I’m getting really pissed off with that person I mentioned in an earlier post. I don’t know if they are getting worse, or if I’m just picking things up that I would normally not bother about. It was funny to watch her going though R***’s desk this morning, looking for things she can take when he leaves. Could wait until the guy’s gone at least.

Big man has got the Auto to do next week. He seems confident and he should be okay. I’ll make sure the Reg 10 copies are in plenty supply. He’ll have to make sure that only valid ones go. I reckon there could be a lot that get binned.

It’s dress down tomorrow. I really don’t know if I can be bothered with it. I am not comfortable wearing jeans and things at work. There is not that work/home separation when you don’t get changed at then end of the day.

Holidays next week. Sunny Blackpool here we come. It is strange to think that IMG_2342Blackpool is one of the most deprived towns in England. Where does all the tourist cash go ? Everything seems to be a little more expensive there than here, and the place will be heaving over the Easter Weekend. Saying that, when you look at some of the shops away from the promenade, it is very depressing.

It will be a strange feeling, without the eldest. We have been away without him once before, but not for a full week. He should be fine if he does not have any ‘emotional crisis’s’.  We just hope everything will be okay, and that he will be sensible and mature. Fingers crossed then.

It mostly went well ….. (I think!!)


This mornings meeting went as well as can be expected. Toby was in his usual ‘salesman’ mode. I have got to admit, he does know his stuff these days. He still gives the impression of the dodgy car dealer, but he is very sociable and likable. Dave was a typical IT manager … very defensive in a jokey sort of way. He’s likable too, but needs a bit of a boot to keep him on track. Mark was Mark. Knows what he wants, and expects it to happen. The problem (as usual) was Spike. He just seemed to be very disconnected. His three item agenda, turned into a six item agenda. He even asked about a project that was finished and signed off before Christmas. Unbelievable. Still he is off tomorrow, so everyone will be in a happy mood.

The rest of the work day passed without incident. Although I’m not very happy with someone at the moment. They seems to be fiddling their time sheets. Taking an hour lunch and booking only 30 minutes. Okay, I’m not overworked at the moment, but I try not to make it look too obvious. I don’t sit there reading the paper when I should be ‘appearing to work’.

Tonight’s meeting was informative. I feel a little more comfortable now. All the staff that will be going to Germany with the kids, seem to be fully confident that there will be no problems, and that if there are, they will deal with them. Cannot say fairer than that. It looks like they have 20 years experience between them. It is an interesting thought though. If anyone had said five years ago, even two years ago, that he would be going on a residential to Germany, I would have laughed them out of the room. Then here we are studying his kit-list and wondering which case he will be taking. When you think, all those years ago, and what we were given to expect. It is really quite amazing what he has achieved.

Firefox is fixed now. Usenet comes up with the goods again. Thank you ‘Fox On The Run’. It’s good to know, that when you want free professional help, that the newsgroups usually come up trumps. It has been a long time since I had a look on the groups, and to be honest, some of the questions asked, I know the answer to. With a lot of the questions though, I don’t even know what the question means. I’ll scan through the Excel posts and see if I can pick up a tip or two. I must have a serious look at getting a separate news reader. I don’t really like using Outlook Express. I know there are a number of free ones out there, but the last time I asked for advice about a free one, I got a lot of grief about not using OE. It was not what I expected. I used to use Forte Free Agent, and I understand that an old version is still available. I may Google the question. at least I won’t get flamed that way.

….. and it’s still only Wednesday !!


It seems to have been a long week already. Never mind, there is Friday to look forward to … Spike is off !! Hurrah. Seriously, he has to be the most unpopular person in the department. Trouble is, I think he knows …… and does not care.

Firefox has been playing up tonight. It seemed to have forgotten some of the sites I have had the password saved for. It could have been when I ran AVG last night. I think I deleted some cookies that should have been kept.

The TinyUrl plugin for IE did not work on Firefox. It did not save the URL to the clipboard as it should. There is a Firefox’s own plugin, that may work. To be honest, I don’t quite know if I’ll use it, but it’s there if I do.

I downloaded a .pdf from the Harrogate RSPB local group. A very professional piece of work. They seem to be fairly well organised group. I have been looking for a local group to possibly join. I also looked at the York group, but that did not seem to be as good. The website was terrible. It was so difficult to see. There did not seem to be a nearer group. I thought there may have been a Wetherby group, but there does not appear to be one. There is probably a local ‘bird watcher’ group, but I would prefer to be part of an RSPB affiliated group. They don’t appear to be as cliquey as the independent groups. The membership of these groups vary very little. Harrogate is £6.00 per year (from April, so that is good), York is £8.00, Richmond and Wharfedale was around the same rate, and I could not see the fee for the Leeds & District (based in Shipley!! More Bradford and District if you ask me). I don’t suppose I’ll go to any meetings, but it would be interesting.

You may have noticed that a proliferation of RSS feeds have sprung up on this blog. Well I am a little geeky, and I do enjoy reading the hints and tips on these IT websites. I also am trying to become an expert on Excel. I have a long way (ie a very long way) to go, but you have to start somewhere. Who knows, I may end up adding an Excel tips page to this blog. Just don’t hold your breath.

The ‘Grow house’ continues to be a success. The salad leaves, are getting a little stronger, and the first of the leaf beat has just started to show. Nothing from the old seeds though. The Marigolds should start to show over the next day or two, and that will be an indicator as to whether the others are going to germinate. I may be pushing it with the Blue Poppies though. The packet said that they were not a novice seed .. hmmm. We will see, I hope.

So where is Fridays blog ?? Is this the start…..


… of the slippery slope to complacency ?

Where indeed was the blog. Well basically I ran out of time.

I had a bit of a boring, but labour intensive day at work. I had to mail-merge over 800 letters. Not a big job I hear you say. However, the data source for the merges came from 10 different Excel spreadsheets. All the datasheets had to be checked for incorrect entries and amended. Then merged, saved and printed. It was a long day.

In the evening I went with my eldest son, to an ‘Audio Visual Spectacular’ presentation of the Leeds AV club. It was quite interesting and extremely well organised. It is quite amazing what you can do with a half decent photo editing suite and a MS PowerPoint. Through in a appropriate soundtrack, and there you go. An excellent way of showing those photos you thought were rather good. I am sorely tempted to give it a whirl myself.

Just had a visit from ‘The God Squad’. I have no problem with anyone following any particular faith, but if I say I’m not interested, then that is what I mean. I do not mean ‘I’m not interested, but keep talking’ or ‘I’m not interested, but give (sell) me your magazine to read, and I will tell you the same next week’. No I mean “I AM NOT INTERESTED, NOW GO AWAY”. Apologies for shouting. Some of these groups/sects just will not take no for an answer. Time to calm down…