ThoughtAsylum 2013 Review

It’s the new year so as has become a bit of a tradition it’s time to review the past 12 months and see what’s been going on at and with me.

2013 was a relatively good year in terms of some interesting things that happened for me, but not quite the year I’d hoped for in terms of blogging - other (still worthy) commitments have way laid my plans to blog more than I had in 2012. I’d like to make the a commitment to do more blogging in 2014, but time will tell as to what’s feasible. So in 2013 I was selected out of about 2 million users of the SAP Community Network (SCN) as the member of the month. It was a fantastic start to the year and I was so proud to have been selected.

I also co-hosted a webinar on data quality (though I wish my voice would have held out a little better) and co-authored a white paper on implementing Nakisa’s OrgHub for Mobile solution (more on that soon). There are also some other exciting work related projects that should officially see the light of day some time early this year, and one of them will likely see some blog posts on some new topics for me.

So what happened on this site? Well I managed to publish another 20 posts, which kept me to me at least one post a month goal, but was very front heavy in the year with 7 of those posts being in January! That then leads me on to my usual review of the top 10 posts on the site last year. None of this past year’s top 10 were posted in 2013 (probably a sign of how few posts I made), but several go back to 2009 showing just how popular (and relevant?) some of the posts have been.

10. A Flexible Progress Window in VBScript (~1,200 hits)

This is the first of the posts that wasn’t on last year’s top 10, but interestingly it was something I posted back in 2009. It’s a bit of reusable VBScript for displaying a progress window using Internet Explorer and some dynamic HTML regions.

9. Excel - Dynamic Drop Down Lists with Full Validation (~ 1,400 hits)

This was actually one of my favourite solutions. I’m definitely a bit of an Excel geek and finding a way to do this sort of list validation was something that was incredibly useful at the time and on a couple of occasions since. If you want to use list combinations in Excel where the content of one list is dependent upon the selection in another list then this is a post you can’t afford to miss.

8. VBScript - Count Occurrences in a Text String (~1,800 hits)

This post explains a little VBScript showing how to count the number of occurrences of one text string exist in another text string. Simple and useful - a great combination.

7. VBScript to Convert Microsoft Office Files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) to PDF (~1,900 hits)

The fourth post in the top ten and the third bit of VBScript … can you see a pattern emerging? Who said VBScript is dead? Well this post shares a script I use pretty regularly for my work. I’m always needing to send out PDF copies of files to clients and this script makes it really easy to do. Simply select the files I want to produce as PDFs and send them to the script (I have a short cut in my send-to menu). After a short while the PDF copies are there and waiting. Saves me a lot of “open, save as, close” repetitions!

6. Colour Code Notes in Evernote (~2,600 hits)

I was a bit surprised to see this one in so high on the list, but apparently people really want to colour their Evernote notes … and why not? This is a quick ENML (Evernote Mark-up Language) hack so you can be up and running with coloured notes in no time at all.

5. Search Evernote from Alfred (~2,600 hits)

*Again this was another one I was surprised to see this high in the top

  1. This post really is out of date now with the Mac launcher application Alfred being on 2.0. The post actually links to the updated post (Evernote Search+: An Alfred 2.0 Workflow for Searching Evernote) and I’d suggest that anyone wanting to search Evernote from within Alfred starts with that post instead.*

Interestingly the Evernote Search+ post doesn’t appear in the top 10 … I guess lots of people must still be on Alfred 1.0.

4. Send to Evernote on Mac OS X (~2,900 hits)

This is actually a non-mover from the 2012 list. I find it really useful to be able to send files to Evernote in Windows using a short cut on my send-to menu. I decided to create an equivalent way to do it on my Mac and this was the result. It still seems to be quite a popular post and for anyone who uses Evernote on the Mac I’d say it’s a must read.

3. Evernote Watched Folders on OS X (~3,000 hits)

Again a non-mover from 2012’s list the Evernote watched folder post describes how to duplicate the functionality of the Evernote windows client whereby any file you place in a particular folder can be automatically imported into a notebook. Don’t tell the Windows guys, but with a bit of a tweak you can super charge this one by having it set tags as well ;-)

2. Tracking Down the iPhone Birthday Calendar (~4,000 hits)

When I first posted this little tid bit of information about an annoying issue relating to birthdays in the iPhone calendar it attracted quite a lot of attention. So much so that it was by far the most visited page on this site. Even though times have moved on and we’ve moved past this issue in iOS it still appears to be a popular read. But not the most popular….

1. Using SED on Windows (~4,000 hits)

My geeky heart be still. The top post is a simple example of using GNU SED (a port of the immensely powerful stream editor tool from Unix) from the command line; or more exactly in a batch script. It was something I put together to do some filtering out of non-errors from large log files and it seems like I’m not the only one was after such a thing.

So the numbers are in and they are significantly down on 2012, but still respectable for something where I’m posting fairly irregularly. I’ll be doing my best to try and get some 2014 content into the 2014 list. Maybe we’ll even see some 2013 content. Who knows what this year will bring?

Author: Stephen Millard

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