Problems with Excel: Proper case function and apostrophes

Something that cropped up today. Excel has some handy functions for quickly changing the case of text, in bulk. One is PROPER – this function capitalises the first letter of each word, and sets the rest to lowercase. To use this function you just type =PROPER(A2) in a new cell, and swap ‘A2’ for the target cell you want to modify. So far, so good. However, there’s a limitation using the Proper case function in Excel – it capitalises all

Small can be beautiful

On the day that Random House and Penguin formally announced their intention to merge to create the world’s largest book publisher, it seems appropriate to counter this with a celebration of the small independent publishers and the agencies (like ours) who are helping more authors than ever before self-publish. The last few years have seen a revolution in the publishing world as e-books offer new markets and routes to publication. When Penguin acquired Author Solutions in the summer it was

The importance of Place

Sales of the coastal book we produced for Newcastle University are going extremely well. Indeed, additional outlets have now agreed to stock the book, including Waterstones, Blackwell’s, libraries and tourist information offices, and we may be onto a second print as the initial run is selling fast. From locals to ‘expats’, the response to the book has been most encouraging – when people have seen it their reaction has been: where can I buy a copy? Mostly I have directed

A book for all Geordies anywhere!

For nearly 18 months we’ve been working with Newcastle University on a special book, made by and for the people of the North-East. Today the advance copy arrived from the printer and we’re very pleased! (See below for quick camera phone snaps). ‘A year in the life of our north east coast‘ is a rich visual document of the coastline of north east England, featuring hundreds of images by local residents of all ages. A full colour, case-bound (hard back)

Drupal vs WordPress

I gave a presentation at Drupal North East this month that put Drupal and WordPress – two of the most popular content management systems – head-to-head. The talk examined the similarities and differences between the two behemoths, and the scenarios to consider using them.

Protect Your Deleted Data

Having been given a bunch of PCs from a dentist, to be passed on to needy second owners, the first thing that came to mind was data security. Each PC had a copy of the dentist’s client database, and that had to be removed. More to the point, it had to be permanently removed.

OpenData – UK Postcodes

The UK government has been publishing UK postcode data for nearly a year now. It is available for free here from the Ordnance Survey and is branded as Code-Point® Open. Essentially the data provides 1.7 million UK postcodes, with their British National Grid Reference, local authority and ward listed for each. The most interesting data is the grid reference, supplied as a full Northing and Easting value. These can be used to calculate distances between postcodes, as well as being

Consilience Mulled Wine 2010

It’s that time again – the lead up to Christmas and time to cook up a batch of mulled wine. Drinking it is half the joy, the other half being the spicy aroma that lingers around the office for days.

My Broadband IP Blacklisted as a SPAM Generator

This is an unusual one. I didn’t think it would be, but based on the lack of Google results for this having happened to other people, I thought it would be an idea to document it. I’m sure it happens a lot more then people realise. The basic gist of the story is that my broadband IP address got black-listed as a SPAM generator, and that meant I could no longer send out email through the broadband mail server. It

Safe delivery

Congratulations to Helen and Stuart on the birth of their baby daughter, Holly Mae, at 11.46 am Monday 29 November 2010. She weighed in at a bouncing 8lb 11oz and ‘mother and baby’ are doing well – if not getting much sleep. Well done Helen!