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Welcome to Thought Asylum a place for me to share my thoughts, ideas and experiences with the rest of the world.  I try to post reasonably regularly and if you like the content consider subscribing to the site feeds.  If you're trying to find something specific try the search, otherwise just have a browse.


Sunday
Nov302014

TextExpander: Inline Calculation

There are many options these days for carrying out ad hoc calculations. Personally I ditched the desktop calculator as soon as I got a personal computer for my day to day work - after all a computer is a very capable calculator. But that left me with various options of how to carry out a calculation. On the Mac there's the calculator app and following in the steps of launchers like Alfred even Spotlight allows you to carry out quick calculations. If you have a browser open you could even tap into the calculation potential of engines such as Google search of Wolfram-Alpha. However in order to retain my clipboard and tap into something that allowed for some more complex calculations I created a TextExpander snippet to help with this.

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Thursday
Oct302014

TextExpander: Get Domain Information - WhoIs Record

A little while back I spent a bit of time investigating some domain names for a project I was working on. As you may know, you can see all sorts of useful information about a domain by looking up it's Who Is record. In order to save time I came up with a couple of TextExpander snippets to help with that.

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Tuesday
Sep302014

Archiving Folders With 7ZIP

Recently I was carrying out a bit of house keeping on my work laptop's hard drive. I have a folder in Windows that contains daily folders of temp files and every so often I compress them and archive them off to free up some space. Usually it just takes me a few minutes to run through the folders and compress them into archive files. Unfortunately over the past year I'd not gotten around to doing it so I had rather a lot of folders to archive and I decided to quickly put together a little script to help me.

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Sunday
Aug312014

Why HCM Data Quality Matters

There's a an acronym in computer science that holds true in many areas of business including that of HCM - GIGO. It stands for "Garbage In, Garbage Out" and refers to the fact that computers will process things literally and if you enter data that is no good you'll end up with data that is no good. Even when you put an intelligent human in the mix and give them poor quality data you're more than likely to end up with rubbish results.

So what impact does this have on businesses?

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Saturday
Aug302014

How to Have *More* Effective Meetings

Recently I spotted a number of people I’m connected with on LinkedIn and a number of people I follow on Twitter sharing an image about Tips for Running Effective Meetings. Since I’m always interested in ways to improve what I do I gave it a read through. I was surprised to find that as I read it through I found myself having an issue with almost every point given.

In this post I’m going to describe why I have issues with the suggestions and what I’d offer up as alternatives.

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Friday
Aug292014

Read Batch File Script Info

Recently I was updating a rather complex DOS batch file that we track the changes on. Each time we update it, we update a comment in the batch file for the version number. Since we sometimes get logs sent to us about the script's operation I figured it would be useful to add the version number to the log file.

Whilst I could have set the script to use a variable with the version number in it I decided to create an option to work with the existing comment based format.

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Thursday
Jul312014

The Lazy Mind-set for Productive People

When you think of productivity I'm guessing that for most people the first word that springs to mind probably isn't "lazy", but for me it's been like that from the start. It's my mind-set.

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Wednesday
Jul302014

Blank All of Your Screens with an AutoHotKey Script

If you work with computer aided presentations on Windows, then you probably know PowerPoint has options to show blank screens. Pressing "B" will give you a black screen and "W" will give you a white screen. These are useful options when you want to focus people's attention on what you're saying and away from any slides you might have up. For example if you need to discuss a point for which you don't have a slide or if you want to tease something.

But have you ever considered situations where you are doing something other than a presentation application aided presentation? For example an application demonstration, working though a document, etc. Wouldn't it be great if you could blank your screen on these occasions too? Or maybe you want to blank the screen with a different colour. Well that's what I wanted to be able to do so I put together something to do it.

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Sunday
Jun292014

Extracting Excel File Path Information Using Excel Formulas

In several of the template Excel spreadsheets I use in my work there are references to clients and version numbers that are included. This is for reference purposes, particularly if the spreadsheet might be printed or exported as a soft copy (e.g. PDF). Whilst it is possible to maintain this information manually I decided that this should be something that could be improved by virtue of the file name containing such information (as these are the very basis of file management on projects). I'd referenced the file path and elements of it in the past and I thought that this would be something that should be relatively straight forward to achieve; and here's how I got on ....

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Friday
Jun202014

3 Things you have that others want

We all have things that we want from people and of course there are things they want from us. Recently I was thinking about what this actually meant and I think I managed to boil it down to just three things - things that I think we all look for from each other.

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