Tag Archives: code

Generating SSH keys (Mac OS X)

Now I know that this is a subject that’s been done to death and can be found all over the t’interweb, but the truth is that I don’t want to have to search for it every time I remember that I’ve forgotten the exact keystrokes to do it. Thus, another post, but at least it’s one which I can easily lay my hands on!

To choose a suitable passphrase or not?

There are two schools of thought on this: don’t choose a passphrase vs. do choose a passphrase.

The problem with the first, obviously, is that it leaves you without any real security for your SSH key.

The problem with the second, as I see it, is that if it’s secure enough to make it difficult to crack then you’ll probably write it down, save it in your keychain etc – at which point it becomes redundant as your security is now out of the window. Continue reading

Excel: Extract a substring…starting from the end

Now there’s a whole heap of posts, forum answers and articles out there on how to find a substring in Excel by playing around with formulae. The problem that almost all of these have is that they assume you always want to start from the beginning of the string. But what if you need to find information from within the string instead? Continue reading

Excel 2003: IFERROR

For those who’ve now experienced Excel 2007 or 2010, you may well be aware that there is a lovely replacement for the good old scenario of:


This is, of course, the IFERROR function. But for those still using 2003 you’re stuck with the above. Now we know that this works, but it can very quickly get big, bulky and nasty. And with multiple nesting formulae it’s hard to spot when or where it’s gone wrong.

So, how to deal with this? Continue reading

Excel Pivot Tables: Manipulation, Averages & More

This question about Pivot Tables came my way recently:

I have to add anywhere between 30-100 items to the values area on a series of worksheets. Is there a quick way to add these items (other than drag & drop/right-click on each one)? Once on my table, I want to display the average of the columns of data (as opposed to the default Sum). Is there an easy way to convert them to averages?

Due to security restrictions, I am unable to download software and/or custom add-ins. Continue reading

Excel: Merging CSV Files The Easy Way

For reasons which are best not explained, I was given some large data exports that had been created as a dozen or so Excel sheets (to the tune of 40,000+ lines per sheet) and asked to convert them into something more useful. Specifically, a CSV file. Continue reading

Word: Updating Autofields

MS Word is a peculiar beast and it should be remembered that, just because it comes out of the Microsoft stable, this doesn’t mean it works the same as MS Excel. There are some obscure reasons for this peculiarity but, rather than go into these in depth, I’ll limit the scope of this article to a specific question posed recently. Continue reading

Excel: Data Sort Using More Than 3 Columns

Excel was designed so that a user can sort by 3 columns, and that’s it. Why 3? Who knows, maybe the developers figured that 3 would be enough for any user of Excel and if they wanted more they’d be using a different application entirely. For whatever reason, that’s what we’re stuck with when using the Data>Sort tool provided. Continue reading