2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Number Cruncher returns

Once again I find myself apologising for an almost complete lack of activity on this front. At least part of the reason is the very recent arrival of our third, and at this point Mrs. Number Cruncher is inclined to say our last, child:

I’m not going to blame my silence entirely on him, but our already reasonably full lives just got a wee bit fuller. Anyway, I’m turning over a new leaf: I expect to add quite a few new posts over the next few weeks. A couple of things you can expect to see coming up, in no particular order:

  • I’m taking a look at a new Excel add-in from the creators of QueryCell;
  • I’m finally getting back to the Regex add-in, polishing some rough edges and providing a couple of use cases;
  • I’m going to write a little more about the use of the Excel libname in SAS to push data into Excel templates;
  • A couple more Python/Excel toolsets to examine;
  • Why Ubuntu and I are having some time apart.

More to come in the next few days, until then take care.

My new favourite editor

The innocent-seeming question of “Which text editor do you use?” is the source of considerable conflict in the Linux world – mostly of a humorous nature. I’ve seen a number of polls across various forums, and while there’s no clear winner in most cases, the two front runners would probably be vi and emacs. I’ve tried them both at various times but I have to say I don’t particularly care for either – for me there’s just too much work involved in learning to use them, and they lack a lot of the features found in most modern IDEs. For that reason I’ve mostly stuck with gedit – plain jane it may be, but it’s easy to use and doesn’t require a tutorial to learn.

But I still miss all the good stuff like tab autocompletion, calltips, code folding, etc. I know that a lot of those features can be enabled in gedit by installing plugins, but it’s just a lot easier when they’re built-in, so the other day I decided to give Komodo Edit a try. It’s not available in the Ubuntu repositories, but it can be downloaded direct (and for free) from ActiveState. Installation is easy and is well documented – you need to add the path to the komodo executable to your PATH variable after running the install script, but once that’s done you’re away:

Screenshot-Start Page - Komodo Edit 5.1

Overall, I like the look and feel of it – and all of those ‘nice’ features that I expect in a modern IDE are there. With the exception of a debugging tool, which would require the Komodo IDE (the pay version), it’s very easy to enable language-specific support, for a very large range of programming languages. I’ve recently been playing around with Django (more about that later), and enabling syntax support for that was as easy as adding a few extra directories to the python import directories in the ‘Preferences’ screen:


I’ll still be using gedit for quick and dirty stuff, but for anything serious, this is my editor of choice.

Still Alive…

Begging for mercy from the snow gods...

Begging for mercy from the snow gods...

…but I’ve been away with the family for a while, taking in the snow in the beautiful south. While I am now slowly recovering from the holiday, I have planned a couple of posts for the next week, on some topics that have sparked my interest over the last wee while. Coming up, I’ll be talking about functional programming, the SAS Excel libname engine, the use of advanced filters and the Python packages xlrd, xlwt and xlutils.

More coming soon…I promise I won’t leave it another month this time…

The beginning…

Welcome everyone. I’ve been fooling around with some thoughts on Excel recently, and I would like to share them on here, with you. I’ll have a little more content coming out over the next few weeks as I detail work on my most recent project – it’s ongoing and I expect a few twists and turns before I get everything just right. I’ll also share some of my thoughts on spreadsheet design, VBA and programming in general. Soon to come – a summary of the what, where, how and why? of my current obsession.