Category Archives: data

Concatenate with Line Breaks in Apple Numbers

If you want to concatenate two elements in a Numbers spreadsheet and include a line break between them, use CHAR(8232) to represent the line break. For example, putting a line break between the contents of cell A1 and B1 would look like

=A1 & CHAR(8232) & B1

If you were in Microsoft Excel on a Mac, the analogous command would be CHAR(13); on a PC it would be CHAR(10).

Automator Workflow for getting creation datetimes

My day job involves grant applications, and we have a long way to go when it comes to gathering data on our performance. It’s been my feeling that our workload has been increasing over the past few years, and that we have boom and bust cycles. A count of proposals is an easy way to verify the upward trend in overal production, but looking for the cycles requires data that we’re just not logging. Continue reading

Coaxing Internet Service from a Rural Provider

A few days ago, I had a deeply moving experience with my ISP that taught me something about tech support, speed tests, and customer star ratings.

My family lives and works in rural Missouri, and about five years ago we chose to live in a slightly more rural location. (Just 10 miles from a county seat.) Securing internet service has been a challenge.

When we lived in town, we had access to broadband internet through the local cable provider. Our current home is too far from the nearest ‘hub’ or ‘thingamagig’ for cable to provide anything or ATT to provide DSL. For a while we subscribed to the outlandishly expensive [Wild Blue satellite internet][] service. The satellite signal speed was slow and varied with weather, and it certainly wasn’t worth the $100 per month that we were paying for it.

A few years ago our ISP, [Mark Twain Telecommunications][], began to offer wireless internet. It was cheaper, faster, and less susceptible to weather. Very quickly, we chalked up the hardware cost of satellite service to ‘sunk costs’, and bought in to wireless.

Since internet service was mainly a luxury for us, we opted for a low level of service. Web pages loaded slowly, but we could check email, and bills were less. This served us well for several years.

This year, feeling the pinch of increased costs and stagnant wages, we decided that some costs need to go. The luxury of satellite, commercial television was first in line to the guillotine while Netflix waiting in the wings to take its place. Netflix streaming requires reliable internet download speeds, so we jacked up our service level to 3 Mbps down and 0.5 Mbps up and tested Netflix for a month. Continue reading