Friday, 5 September 2003

Newsletter Issue 67, September 2003

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 67, September 2003
Hi guys,
In this issue we have part two in our Wired vs Wireless articles (continued from issues 65), in Wireless Technology.
Want an easy way to count actual data rows in Excel? Then check out the tips on Using DCOUNTA in Excel
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.

Wireless Technology

In the first August issue (issue 65), we looked at what kind of network you might be thinking of using. This time we are looking at what kind of gadgets you might want to use on the network you are going to invest in.
So Just How Mobile Did You Want To Be? 
The mobile Internet is supposedly finally reaching all of us. There are fancy new gadgets such as camera phones and walkie-talkie handsets that let you watch movie trailers, send kids pics to Nana's cell phone and let you fritter away any time you have left playing ant-size PacMan. 
You can get PDAs with built-in phones (a bit clunky but they work) for a couple of K. And don't forget the Tablet PC - mobile, go anywhere PC power.

The Limitations
OK. So what are the limitations on being mobile? Battery power for one. You don't get that much battery life time with these toys. For now you need regular recharging. Granted, if you saw issue 65, you would know that there is a great new up & coming battery, but it will take another year or so to get commercial. 
The other limitation is the folding stuff. Mobile phones have lots of technology, but are there enough tricks and gadgets to make you want to pay extra to get it?
Tablet PCs offer all the features of standard laptops, plus a radio-wave-transmitting pen that can be used to take notes or draw right on screen. They're becoming more and more accepted. 
And there are some interesting trends happening overseas. In the US, by November, carriers have to let customers take their cellphone numbers with them when they switch providers. So Telcos are falling over each other to offer distinctive add-on services to encourage people to either stay loyal (or to switch to them).
But despite lots of encouragement, the only non-voice phone use that has really caught on of late is texting, with 22 percent of mobile phone users sending wireless text messages.
And I don't think providers got the mix right yet on truly useful mobile tools - not those that people will pay lots extra for data services for anyway. For me? I'm waiting to be able to enter a barcode into my "Pocket Google" phone/PDA so I can really comparison shop. And I'd love a talking calendar that let me voice-select everything - including days, times and contacts to record my appointments on; and email a confirmation to the people I have made the appointment with!

What Toys You Can Get Right Now
Smart phones
  • Sanyo SCP-8100: You can get a faint glimpse of the Internet of the future over the Sanyo SCP-8100 mobile phone. It features a mid-sized handset with full-colour screen and built-in camera. Thanks to the extra memory and processing power in the Sanyo 8100, navigation is much faster than it was on wireless Web cellphones two years ago, but not as fast as your dial-up Internet on your desktop computer. Its a little like on-demand radio, with a fuzzy image or two thrown in
  • Sony Ericsson P800: This phone comes complete with a digital camera, a video player, an MP# player, 3D games and an organiser with a colour touch screen. It has polymorphic sound, Java, Bluetooth & MMS (multimedia messaging). This wee toy was featured in the latest James Bond incarnation "Die Another Day".
Wireless PDAs - You will need to pay to connect your PDA with mobile network by what? The expectation is that PDA prices will drop 16% this year and the market will grow 11%. 
The Palm OS is still the most common operating system, but Windows CE and Symbian OS are both gaining ground. So take your pick!
  • HP iPaq H1940: Super-compact, sharp screen, Bluetooth; removable battery & relatively inexpensive with a Secure Digital slot that supports SDIO cards
  • Palm Zire 71: Runs Palm OS 5.2.1, high-res screen, fast processor, built-in camera, MP3 support, expansion slot, Secure Digital (SD) expansion slot, slick design; but no Bluetooth. 
  • Palm Tungsten T2: Compact design, 32MB of RAM, excellent screen, integrated Bluetooth, Palm OS. Can add storage space or devices via the unit's SDIO-compliant SD/MMC slot, has MP3 support & video support. But you really need a Bluetooth cell to use this machine to the full - use a Bluetooth-enabled wireless phone as your modem for Internet access...
Tablet connectivity: get USB 2.0 jacks and, if you want to hook your tablet up to your TV, S-Video. You will also want Ethernet wired network jack for business networking and possibly FireWire, (aka IEEE 1394) to transfer digital video from camcorders to the tablet for editing
  • Compaq Presario X1000 is heavy - 3 kgs - but it's a very full- featured machine (would serve as a desktop replacement). It has a 15 & 1/2 inch screen and a built-in Secure Digital/ Multimedia memory card slot, just perfect for popping a card out of a digital camera and into the laptop to transfer pictures
  • Fujitsu LifeBook S2000 was one of the smallest fully featured units - just under 1.7kgs without the DVD/CD-RW drive, and 2 kgs with the drive installed. It packs pretty much everything you need in a laptop into a very compact space. The keyboard might feel a bit tight at first, but after a bit of persevering, it turns out to be fine to work on
  • The Apple PowerBook uses space very wisely, having almost a full-sized keyboard layout. Bluetooth is standard, so you have short distance wireless for transferring information to printers and mobile phones (around 3 metres or under). The PowerBook has a 12-inch screen which is about as small as you would want to go but it provides terrific resolution - and if you don't need to scroll through lots of spreadsheets or docs, it will do nicely.

Using DCOUNTA in Excel

Excel's DCOUNTA function finds and counts the number of records that meet specific criteria, such as how many employees were hired before January 1st 2000, or how many customers live in one city. 
For example, to find out how many people in an employee spreadsheet live in Christchurch, follow these steps: 
  1. Insert two blank rows above the range, and copy and paste the column headings into the first blank row
  2. In the second blank row, enter Christchurch in the cell under the City field. 3. In another cell outside the criteria range, enter =DCOUNTA( 
  3. Type the range or named range. For example, if the range is named Employees, enter that name as the first argument to the formula: =DCOUNTA(Employees, 
  4. Type the field name that you want counted. For example, if you want to count the number of records that have an entry in the Last_name field and whose City field contains the text "Christchurch," enter: =DCOUNTA(Employees,"Last Name", 
  5. To complete the formula, enter the criteria range, which in this example is A1:L2, and press [Enter]: =DCOUNTA(Employees,"Last Name",A1:L2) The total number of employees living in Christchurch will be displayed. 
Now that the criteria range has been set, you can use DCOUNTA for other ad hoc reporting functions; just enter different criteria. 

Templates Anyone?

Finding a template "to do that thing that you want to do" can save you lots of time; print a calendar, write a newsletter, put together a budget. So if you are trying to do something that others must have already done, spending a few minutes searching for that magic template could save you frustration and time. 
As well as freebees that you can probably find on the net, there are a number of people who sell Office templates. Check the ones out below first: 

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • RDBMS, Relational database management system. A program that lets you create, update, and administer relational databases. Most commercial RDBMS's use SQL for database access
  • SQL, Structured Query Language. A standard interactive and programming language for getting information from and updating a database. SQL was invented after the development of the relational database model and is was not developed for that use, but fits in very neatly with it
  • OSI, Open Systems Interconnection. A standard description or "reference model" for how messages should be transmitted between any two points in a telecommunication network
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 looking at shift in PowerPoint;
  • "One line down" SHIFT & DOWN ARROW 
  • "Select from the insertion point to the end of the entry" SHIFT & END 
  • "Perform the "mouse over" behaviour of the selected hyperlink" SHIFT & ENTER while a hyperlink is selected 
  • "Start context-sensitive Help" SHIFT & F1 
  • "Display a shortcut menu that shows a list of commands relevant to the selected object" SHIFT & F10 
  • "Display the shortcut menu" SHIFT & F10 (or right-click) 
  • "Carry out Save command (File menu)" SHIFT & F12 
  • "Change the case of letters" SHIFT & F3 
  • "Repeat the last Find (Find Next)" SHIFT & F4 
  • "Switch to the previous pane (counterclockwise)" SHIFT & F6 
  • "Select from the insertion point to the beginning of the entry" SHIFT & HOME 
  • "Select or cancel the selection one character to the left" SHIFT & LEFT ARROW 
  • "Select or cancel the selection one character to the right" SHIFT & RIGHT ARROW 
  • "Move to the previous option or option group or Move back through the hyperlinks in a Web presentation, the Address bar, and the Links bar or Select the previous field or button in the e-mail header" SHIFT & TAB 
  • "One line up" SHIFT & UP ARROW
Hot Linx
Need to know geographical terms for your line of work? Then GeoExplorer's dictionary is for you at
For lots of information about how garlic reduces disease, check out the The Garlic Information Centre at
The Patagonia Clothing Company came up with a legitimate end use for coke bottles should need no introduction. Check them out at 

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