Odds and Sods

Nice preview of Office 12. (aka Office 2007). This was from the early Beta 1, but if you want an overview of the feature set, this is a good place to start.

Over at Daily Cup of Tech they’ve talked about the PC Repair System which fits on a single USB bootable USB drive.

Just received a new book: Microsoft Access Data Analysis by Michael Alexander. This is a wonderful book that starts where almost every other Access book ends, and makes you think that yes, Access really can be used for serious querying, reporting and analysis. Part One is a basic description of Access and a discussion of why you would use Access instead of Excel for data analysis. Part Two includes basic analysis techniques with a thorough discussion of how to deal with dates. Part Three, Avdvanced Analysis Techniques has a discussion of SQL and SQL subqueries, descriptive statistics, and pivot tables. In all situations he also discusses why you would want to use these tools. Chapter 10 includes a discussion of Visual Basic for Applications, and indeed why you woudl like to use this. Chapter 11 comes back full circle and describes how to automate Excel from within Access.

All in all a great book. I’ll be working through much of this one.

Do you really need to run processes that automatically look for updates to the QuickTime player, Adobe Acrobat and Quickbooks? Me neither, and the solution was in the latest PC Magazine. PC Magazine is almost the only dead-tree magazine that I pay for these days. Bill Machrone’s column mentions What’s Running, a free program which shows all of your running processes, programs, services, and IP connections. Fascinating, and a useful tool for ferreting out superfluous garbage.

I upgraded to QuickBooks 2007 Pro from QuickBooks 2004 Basic. This was precipitated by being forced to upgrade to maintain compatibility with the payroll function; Intuit, the creator of QB will no longer support QB 2004. This, even though I pay $199 or so for payroll “support” (they supply three numbers in the propriatary format so that I can accuratly calculate state payroll rates). It might be one thing if I had a payroll. But I usually use subcontractors, so my payroll consists of one person.

On the upside, the upgrade to Pro gives you job costing; which for fund accounting, or restricted accounting is an extra way for you to segregate income by project. This is not a bad thing and indeed is recommended, if not mandated by the Feds (US Federal Governement) when they fund grants directly to you.

My last upgrade to 2004 was a wrench which still gives me shivers; but this one went pretty smoothly, and the changes are not so radical as to cause a lot of problems. I still have that “over a barrel” feeling with Intuit though.

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