Friday, 24 April 2015

How-to: Make a drop-down list in Excel


If you're wanting data validation in spreadsheet forms and template documents, a drop-down list remains the most common way to achieve it.

Skipping over the question why am I covering a Microsoft product when there's a perfectly good LibreOffice alternative, let me just say; 'because someone asked me.'

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

How-to: Protect your web downloads. Not.


Portcullis by Kevin King on imgbuddy I started this under the banner “Web-accessible e-publications NOT as PDF's” in light of the membership products discussion that happened this morning. Thinking about the delivery of web-accessible e-publications (our bread-and-butter) which are NOT downloadable and NOT printable for certain classes of registered web users, this is as much of a minefield today as fifteen years ago in a previous life.

This is all about balancing ease of access and customer service against the admin/IT cost of providing material via a robust delivery mechanism. Before you ask, I have no recommendation at this point.

Monday, 20 April 2015

How-to: Use Dashes and Hyphens on the web


A note for the  punctuationally-challenged.

There's a brilliant article on A List Apart: The Trouble With EM ’n EN (and Other Shady Characters) by This article, while brilliant for its time, is now obsolete."

However the topic doesn't go away and we're still struggling, not only with the style guide but how to render these shady characters for the web when there are all sorts of technical issues.

First of all, what’s the Difference Between an Em Dash, En Dash & Hyphen? And what has happened to them online?

Friday, 10 April 2015

How-to: Meet Web Accessibility Guidelines


Una puerta abierta. (An open door).  Photo by William Murphy; licensed via Creative Commons.
Two things converged this week; we are revising our in-house style guide which necessarily includes print and online, whilst on the development front, I have a team (well, Dave, actually - it's always a 'Dave') producing wireframes and mockups for our web-based CRM front end.

Accessibility remains a hot topic. It never ends and complacency is our worst enemy.


Which led me to revisit the Web Accessibility Guidelines, particularly the section on making content readable and the wisdom contained therein:

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Review: Codes that Changed the World (BBC R4)


Codes that Changes the World - BBC R4Aleks Krotoski explores the history of programming languages. The history of computing is dominated by the hardware; the race for speed and power has overshadowed how we've devised ways to instruct these machines to do useful tasks.

All this week on BBC Radio 4, Aleks Krotoski tells the story of the languages that have been used to talk to machines.

Krotoski, journalist and presenter of the Guardian Tech Weekly Podcast and soon the seventh series of The Digital Human, looks at computer programming languages in five 15-minute shows. Presented in the style of BBC-Popular-Science-Lite, these are whistle-stop tours for the mildly interested lunchtime listener.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Full Circle Magazine issue 94 out now


Full Circle Magazine issue 94
Full Circle Magazine is pleased to announce the release of issue 94.

This month:
  • Command & Conquer
  • How-To : Block Calls, LibreOffice, and Using i2P
  • Graphics : Inkscape.
  • Linux Labs: BTRFS
  • Book Review: Practical Data Science Cookbook
  • Ubuntu Games: War Thunder
plus: News, Arduino, Q&A, and much more.

Get it while it’s hot!
http://fullcirclemagazine.org/issue-94/

Share it now!

Full Circle is a free, independent, monthly magazine dedicated to the Ubuntu family of Linux operating systems. Each month, it contains helpful how-to articles and reader submitted stories.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Opinion: Goodbye Google Plus [Guest Post]


Google Plus: image Creative Commons by West McGowan 
It’s true: Google is breaking it’s heavily embedded but failed social networking product Google Plus into separate products – Streams and Photos, new head of Social Bradley Horowitz announced on Google+ earlier this month.

It was telling that Horowitz didn’t specifically mention Google Plus, which pretty well signals the end of Google’s foray. Google Plus was supposed to be a one-stop shop for interactiing across all products and all users.

Clearly the vision has changed.