Friday, February 6, 2009

Could Excel ever become obsolete?

I read this post over at Smurf on Spreadsheets about the possibility of ever taking a significant market share away from Excel.  It's a compelling possibility.  OOo is free and has most of the functionality of Excel (at least the functionalities that are commonly used).  The reason I personally haven't used it much is that there is a lack of support for VBA, which I do a fair amount of work in.  Although, as Simon gestures, a few releases from now OOo could be VBA compatible.

Given the economic times, it is not a stretch to think that a free piece of software could begin to dent Microsoft's market share.  

But, I'm just not seeing it happen quite yet.  I work for an accounting firm that does a lot of work for non-profit organizations.  You'd think that of all people/entities looking to cut costs, non-profits would be jumping at the chance to use a free office suite.  None of the clients that I work with use OOo.  I would venture to bet that none of them have heard of it.  I think that OOo has a vast reach in very tech savvy communities, but outside those rings it finds itself very easily pushed aside.  A while back they even had advertisements in many of the buses around town, but I don't think they really got their point across.  People just don't know about it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Web browsing

For those who don't know, Google came out with a web browser called Chrome.  I've been 100% Chrome for months now.  One of the reasons I switched was that it was so simplistic (not to mention fast).  There are no toolbars, addins, or extensions.  Just plain ol' fashioned surfing the web.  If one tab runs into problems, just close it and the rest of your tabs remain open and functioning.  The only time I use anything else is at work where we have a SharePoint site and other utilities that require Internet Explorer.

So, when I heard that Chrome was going to start allowing extensions, I felt slightly betrayed.  I know I don't have to use or install the extensions, but it still seems to take the simplicity of it all away.

What browsers are you using, and why?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Welcome and today's bug

Welcome!  I have to say first that I didn't come up with Excel Ninja, but I like it, so it stays. :-)  I started doing work in Excel and VBA almost by accident, and now, spend 1/3 of my time at work on Excel based solutions.  I wouldn't say I'm an expert, or even that great at it.  But I enjoy doing it and have learned quite a bit along the way.  Hopefully I can share some of that knowledge here, as well as ponder other ponderables such as my first bug report...  Enjoy!


I have to say that for the most part I really like Excel 2007, but it has some bizarre bugs and missing functionality.  Bug of the day - can't unhide columns.  I hid some columns, then went back to unhide them and no luck.  No worksheet or workbook protection, just hidden columns.  I select the entire sheet, then right click > unhide, nothing.  I select the columns to the left and right, same thing.  So, I turn to my friend Google (slightly ironic that one of Microsoft's biggest competitors offers the best help when things go wrong!).

I found this link that solved my problem: "Perhaps the column isn't actually hidden, but its width is very small. Try selecting columns to left and right and use Format > Column > Width, putting something sensible (say 8)."

I already knew that hiding a column is the equivalent of setting it's width to zero, but why not be able to unhide?  Who knows, but it worked.  I've got my columns back, but I am still quite baffled.

Am I way off base here?