Video Training

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

I was sure I’d blogged about this before, but it seems not – I have a few videos available at my YouTube channel (link on the right) showing how to do some things in Microsoft Office – my plan is to add to these over time, so if you happen to have something that is not clear in Office, then do let me know – happy to help!  The particular video I was referring someone to was the “Office Picture Tools” one – these tools have been around for a while in Office, but you may well not know about them – they make the job of adding graphics to your documents (in any of the Office products) a LOT better – removing backgrounds, cropping to shape etc – take a look.

when google doesn’t help

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Sometimes you have a problem, and you google and google but somehow the answer doesn’t come – well, that was certainly the situation for a customer with Windows 10 problems – the PC had updated, the login account was local only and for whatever reason (and we still don’t know why) the unchanged password had stopped working – clearly a problem others have had because the answers on the first two pages of Google were actually adverts in disguise.  As it happens, there is free software available to solve this problem, though in this instance the problem did require a BIT more work – however, we have a satisfied customer with a computer back up and running

New Skills

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Always on the look out to add to my skill base, it is good when the opportunity arises to actually be able to do so – recently I’ve been tasked with getting some information from various websites for a client – this has been referred to as “screen scraping” but the reality is that there is a significant amount of analysis required to understand the coding behind a web page – and then to extract the data from it.  Building on the back of that, I’ve also learnt to automatically push buttons on websites – which makes some data entry jobs which used to be time-consuming and error prone much simpler – press a button, the system gets on with it and you can do other more productive things (or as I think lots of people do, watch in wonder as your web browser does all the work without you lifting a finger!)

Additonally, I’ve been asked to extract data from Outlook emails – this was always something I knew how to do, but again it has made a data job much simpler – worth bearing in mind if you come up with such a problem – let me know and we can discuss!


Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Rather a nice advert-orial (is that how you spell it) in this months issue of a magazine for magicians – even though I have a full time job again (working in the education sector) there is still enough time to do work in the evenings/weekends (or even my lunch break!) for Flame Enterprises.  Some problems are hard, but often they are easier than you think – and the only silly question is the one you decide not to ask!

Been a while

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Well, it’s been a while since the last blog post.  Things have been busy at the College where I’m currently working – but not too busy to be able to help people – both inside the college and out.  I’ve taken the time to get Google looking at the site, so I can see what people are searching for when they come here – and I’ve revamped the front page to hopefully make people more inclined to at least ask the question.  HOPEFULLY google will help me find out why I had a call from a young lad wanting me to fix his X-Box – sadly not something I can do remotely, and probably not even something I can remotely do.  For the moment, google adwords are turned off, as I was clearly being found for the wrong things!  However, if you email me, I promise to consider the answer whatever the question, and I’ll do my best to help – even it’s an X-Box (by the way, I googled the problem whilst the lad was on the phone, determined that the machine was only days old and sent him back to the retailer – there is such a thing as a guarantee after all!)

Multiple condition Count and Sum IF

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

In Excel from 2007 onwards, there are functions to do this (countifs and sumifs) but there has been a way to do it long before – and I still prefer it to the newer way (in much the same way as I prefer using the & sign to using the concatenate function!). By using a logical test and a mathematical trick, you can get SumProduct to do the job for you. I’ve done a quick video at YouTube explanation which explains it!

It’s been busy!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Sorry for the lack of posts here – it’s been busy during the day, though I’ve had time I should have used to post here in the evenings, which instead I spent reading facebook and emails – it’s so easy to do isn’t it?! I’ve been reminded though that where VLOOKUP used to be the answer of choice, it’s perhaps now becoming sumproduct. Why? Well, although Microsoft have now introduced sumifs and countifs functions, they are quite tricky to use – and in the same way that & does the same as concatenate, you can use a sneaky trick with sumproduct to do the same as the new functions – and it’s something that works in older versions of Excel too! I think there is probably a need for a video – I’ll set myself a diary note and I’ll produce one for you!!

PC Problems

Friday, September 11th, 2015

A number of other companies will offer to come out and fix your PC – I’ve not previously advertised that service, but it is certainly something I can do. From experience, a lot of other companies will charge by the hour, when that time is actually spent watching downloads – I won’t do that – IF it’s going to take downloads, I’ll tell you, I’ll direct you to the download areas, and let you do the time. That way, it works out cheaper for you. I’d also suggest that you have regular backups of the important stuff – if you DO then the EASIEST fix is to format the hard disk and re-install the operating system – all of which I can guide you through – at my current introductory rate of just £15 per hour (which if you follow the advice above, means £15 total payment!)


Monday, September 7th, 2015

Well, I’ve just put a LOGICAL search into google – and I’ve found I’m a second page result – I’ll do my best to get higher, it’s a hard job sometimes!! IF you have found me – do let me know – and if you need my help, my introductory rate is still current – just £15 for an hours training – and same rate for development work – I work the opposite way to the known method – I will probably underquote and over deliver!!

What would you have done?

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Recent question on required me to come up with a solution to a question – which was, how to determine the MIDDLE year from a range where there are cars and colours quoted – so, put a car make and a colour in, then get the middle year. Took me less than 5 minutes to answer – and that’s because I learnt how to do array formulas some time ago! This needs one – the logic is – IF the car column matches the car and IF the colour matches the colour, the find the year – and THEN find the middle value – so how would YOU do this – well – with an array formula you can do it easily – and Array formula will allow you to use normal formulas to return multiple values and THEN use another formula on the result. My formula was =SMALL(IF(A1:A7=A13,IF(B1:B7=B13,C1:C7,999999),9999999),ROUND(SUMPRODUCT(–(A1:A7=A13),–(B1:B7=B13))/2,0))

in my example A13 contains the car to match and B13 the colour to match – this should be entered by pressing ctrl shift enter to turn it into an array formula. Do let me know if this helps you with YOUR formulas!