March 3rd, 2004


March Comes in Like a Lamb

The weather really has been lovely lately. It's been sunny and warmish (50's, anyway), and yesterday after it rained briefly, the smell of the rain was in the air. (The smell of rain is apparently due to spores from bacteria in the ground which are aerosolized by the droplets of rain.) I've been spending my lunches in the truck with the windows rolled down, reading Dread Brass Shadows. Which has been about my only real free time for a few days.

The catalog is done. Spent the last couple of days finishing off the indexes. Which would have been much easier had I not gotten a nasty surprise from Excel 2000. There are two indexes, one for part numbers, the other for subjects and chemical names. The catalog is basically lists of the chemicals in each mixture we sell. There are about 6000 products, each with from one to eighty chemicals in it. I dump the catalog pages into Excel by page number, manipulate the data a bit to remove the extraneous stuff, and then use a couple of Lotus 123 macros I wrote a long time ago to remove duplicates and generate the indexes. Here's where it got dicey yesterday. I tried running the macros on my shiny new XP machine in Excel 2000, and they didn't work. After some frantic googling, I discovered that Lotus macros were disabled in Excel 2000. After some choice words about Bill Gates' heritage and sexual proclivities, I tried installing Excel 97 on the new machine. That should've worked. But it didn't. Fortunately, I still had my old machine available, so I let them chug away on what was state of the art in 1997. Worked past midnight last night, then continued this morning. Finally finished just after lunch. Then it was just a matter of formatting that text onto the pages, and looking for glitches. Handed to finished book to MM as he left for the evening tonight.

If I ever meet Bill Gates in a dark alley, I will surely go all Wesley on him. The Lotus macros are easier to use than the old Excel macros, and way easier than programming the same functionality using visual basic, which is what Excel now expects you to do. Seriously considering scrubbing the new computer to go back to Office 97. Feh.
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