Friday, 14 February 2003

Newsletter Issue 57, February 2003


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 57, February 2003
Hi guys,
Well, St Valentine's day is upon us. I hope that you are all going to do something uplifting and enriching for your significant other (isn't that the epitome of a PC phrase?!). For those of you who are stuck for choice, check out St Valentine's Day Traditions below.
If you have ever had the need to get data from one area of a spreadsheet linked and slotted into the print range of the sheet output report, you will just LOVE this easy way of Customising Excel Print Ranges
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

St Valentine's Day Traditions

There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine's Day. It originated with St Valentine, but the reasons why are somewhat obscure. He was martyred in 269 AD for refusing to give up Christianity, and this may have been on Juno's holiday (the Goddess of women and marriage); on February 14. Another theory is that he left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter ( who had become his friend) signing it "From Your Valentine". 
Yet another theory is a bit more meaty. Emperor Claudius II was involved in many campaigns during his reign, and was having difficulty in recruiting and retaining soldiers. He believed that Roman men did not want to leave their families, and so cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. St Valentine and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs, and secretly married couples. St Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off; suffering his martyrdom on the 14th of February in 269 or 270.
Regardless of why or how St Valentine came into the picture, at this time in Rome it was a custom to celebrate Lupercalia, starting on the 15th of February. 
The Lupercalia festival in ancient Rome
February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. 
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. The boys then sliced the goat's hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goat hide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. 
In honour of the goddess Juno Februata, the names of young women were put into a box and names were drawn by lot. The boys and girls who were matched would be considered partners for the year, which began in March. These matches often ended in marriage.
It is assumed that to remove the pagan element in these celebrations, Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 as St Valentine's Day, substituting and amalgamating this festival over Lupercalia in 498 AD. 

The Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of February - Valentine's Day - should be a day for romance. Chaucer, in his "Parlement of Foules," wrote: "For this was Seynt Valentine's Day when every foul cometh ther to choose his mate." 
The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. 
Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.
The Christian tradition of drawing names on St. Valentine's Eve continued in England and other places. The tradition of birds choosing their mates on St Valentine's Day led to the idea that boys and girls would do the same. Now when a youth drew a girl's name, he wore it on his sleeve, and attended and protected her during the following year. This made the girl his valentine and they exchanged love tokens throughout the year. Later this was changed to only men giving love tokens to females, usually without names but signed "with St Valentine's Love". 
1700 Onwards
In France, both sexes drew names from a " valentine" box. In " Travels in England", a book written in 1698, an account was given of the way this was done: on St Valentine's Eve an equal number of maids and bachelors assemble, each writing their true ( or feigned) name on separate billets. These are then rolled up and drawn by way of lots, the maids taking the bachelor's billets, and the bachelors' the maids'; so that each bachelor lights upon a maid that he calls his Valentine. Fortune having thus divided the company into so many couples, the valentines "Give balls and treats to their mistresses, wear their billets several days upon their bosoms or sleeves, and this little sport oft ends in Love". 
In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the 18th century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. 
Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. 
In the 1840s, Esther A Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America, sparking off a multi-million dollar spending spree that continues unabated into the 21st Century. 
Now we have the added bonuses of chocolates, balloons, dining and jewellery to add to the written words of love. Those most likely to do well from St Valentine's Day are Visa, Master Card and American Express. 
Love or loathe the celebration, this Friday is February 14th. Perhaps this year you might think about going back to basics. This does leave you some opportunity for creativity. While you could slice a goat's hide into strips and dip them in sacrificial blood, you might find it easier to write your "significant other" a message, telling them how much they mean to you.
That won't hurt your credit card, anyway!

Customising Excel Print Ranges

When you design a spreadsheet, you ask end users what they need to print. Then you do your best to design a worksheet so that the end user print report is contained in one print range. 
However, there will be situations where it is not possible to have all your data in one print range, where you have to create individual references far from the core print range so that all your data will fit in your print report. 
But there is an easier way. You can "customise" your print ranges by creating a dynamic snapshot of any given range and placing that snapshot where you want it to appear in your print range by;
  1. Go to the remote location and select the source cells to show in your print range, and then click copy
  2. Select the top left cell of the print range where you want the photograph to appear 
  3. Hold down the Shift key while you click Edit. You will see an option you don't normally see when you open the Edit menu: Paste Picture Link. Select this
  4. Excel will now display an image of the range you copied. The linked print range will;
  • Paste in the same size as the original, but can be resized by dragging on the corner tabs
  • Unless you have used a background fill colour, paste as a transparency over the TOP of any existing data, so you need to make sure you have enough clear space for it to be read easily by users
  • Automatically update changes to the source cells as it is dynamic 

Sadhound Trojan Horse Virus

You all no doubt know never to double-click email attachments ending in .exe or .bat or .scr or .vbs or .pif (or any of dozens of other "bad" file name extensions). Double-clicking on a file like that will get Outlook to it, and you might get a nice dose of PC virus instead of the work (or entertainment) that you were expecting.
I have also mentioned that you all many times should have "hide file extensions for known file types" TURNED OFF. Because on an attachment, the cunning beggars who build viruses, will create an attachment that ends with two file name extensions; such as .doc.exe or .jpg.pif. 
The first file name extension looks harmless - and if you don't have Windows show you file name extensions, that's all you have to go on - but the second file name extension is the one that controls which program gets run: a .doc.exe file is handled the same way as a .exe file, a .jpg.pif runs like a pif file, sneakily hiding the virus from the unsuspecting.
BUT. There is a clever little trojan email virus called Sadhound live in the wild at present. And this relies on not two, but THREE file extensions. 
The Register (www.theregister.co.uk/content/56/29137.html) reports that Sadhound has a file name such as "Missingyou.htm.[spaces]pif.htm". Outlook sees the last file name extension  (.htm) to determine which icon it should show for the attachment (internet explorer), then uses the next-to-last file name extension (.pif) to determine which programme should run the file. When you double-click on the file, the .pif takes over - and you get zapped. 
Sadhound arrives attached to a piece of spam. While it doesn't do much harm - it doesn't replicate itself - it could be the sign of much nastier things to come, so make sure you have good habits in place NOW. When you receive email messages with an attached file, you should;
  1. Make sure that Windows is showing you file name extensions, so you know what kind of file you're receiving, AND
  2. Contact the sender, make sure that
    • They intended to send you the file and
    • They are savvy enough to send you a virus-free file and 
    • You really want to open the file and
  3. Save the file to disk, AND
  4. Check it via your Antivirus software before you open or run the attachment
TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • IMHO, In My Humble Opinion. Usually not in someone's "humble" opinion though, if they use this!
  • GIMP, GNU Image Manipulation Programme. An open source application running on Linux and other Unix-based operating systems for creating and manipulating graphic images. Any large Linux package (such as Debian and Red Hat) is likely to use it. Users compare GIMP very favourably to Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
All the Function keys for you again, but this time we are shifting as well - all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl & F8;
  • Access "To turn on Move mode; then press the RIGHT ARROW or LEFT ARROW key to move selected column(s) to the right or left" CTRL & SHIFT & F8 
  • Access "To undo the previous extension" SHIFT & F8 
  • Access "To turn on Resize mode for the active window when it’s not maximized; press the arrow keys to resize the window" CTRL & F8 
  • Excel "Carry out the Size command (workbook icon menu, menu bar), or use the arrow keys to size the window" CTRL & F8 
  • Excel "Add another range of cells to the selection; or use the arrow keys to move to the start of the range you want to add, and then press F8 and the arrow keys to select the next range" SHIFT & F8 
  • Excel "Display the Macro dialog box " ALT & F8 
  • Word "Column Select" CTRL & SHIFT & F8 
  • Word "Shrink Selection" SHIFT & F8
  • Word "Doc Size" CTRL & F8 
  • Word "Macro" ALT & F8
  • PowerPoint "Carry out Size command (presentation Control menu)" CTRL & F8 
Hot Linx
Being driven mad by pop-up windows when surfing the web? Then try this brilliant pop-up stopper freeware at http://www.endpopups.com  
Still going to succumb to the romance of St Valentine's day anyway? Then stop by the Seriously Good Chocolate company at http://www.choctruffles.co.nz/html/unforgetable_chocolates.html or check out mail order flowers & gift baskets at http://kiwiflowers.com/home, or try these ideas from Xtra http://shopping.xtramsn.co.nz/gifts/0,,7902-1098463,00.html  
And if you want to send a free electronic message of fondness to someone, you can't go past  http://www.e-cards.com/ 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here