Archive for July, 2010

6201 Princess Elizabeth through Blackrod

July 31st, 2010 No comments

6201 ‘Princess Elizabeth’ steams through a rainy Blackrod Station on the return leg of the Cumbrian Mountain Express railtour today.

Two Excel Time Format Tips

July 12th, 2010 No comments

Two questions I am often asked about the time format in Excel are: Why can’t it show times greater than 24 hours? and Why can’t it show negative time?

To help understand how to format time and date it’s best to understand a little of how Excel stores time and dates. By default on Windows based PCs, dates are stored in Excel sheets as the number of days since 0:00 1st Jan 1900 plus 1. Today (12th July 2010), is therefore stored as 40371. Time is stored as a fraction of a day, so 12:00 midday is stored as 0.5 and midday today would be 40371.5.

Times greater than 24 hours

By default, Excel displays times as hh:mm by taking the fractional part of the number stored. This works fine up to 23h59m59s but as soon as you go over 24 hours, then this method loses the fact that we’ve gone over a day and starts at 0:00 again, not very useful if you’re trying to create a timesheet.

To force Excel to take the digits to the left of the decimal point into consideration and display the real number of hours simply add square brackets to the ‘hh’ part of the format i.e. [hh]:mm

Negative Time

If you’ve ever created a calculation that results in a negative time (perfectly reasonable if you have a sheet which records say time owing) you will have seen the dreaded ########. Excel has two date systems, the older being the 1904 system used on Excel for Mac (Excel first appeared on the Mac before Windows even existed) and the 1900 system described above, which is used for increased compatibility with Lotus 1-2-3. While the 1904 system supports negative dates, the 1900 system does not.

To work with negative time values therefore requires switching to the 1904 system. On Excel 2000 this is found under Tools->Options on the Calculation Tab. Excel 2007 has it under Office Button->Excel Options-> Advanced.

Note that if you have already started your spreadsheet, all of your dates will now be out by 4 years and 1 day, so it is best to switch to the 1904 system before developing the sheet if you expect to require negative date display.

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Blackrod Scarecrow Festival Pics 2010

July 4th, 2010 No comments

It’s Blackrod Scarecrow Festival this weekend:

Blackrod Scarecrows

Lots more photos on my Flickr page.

Alphorns at Rivington

July 3rd, 2010 No comments

We arrived at the bottom barn at Rivington this afternoon to hear the sound of Alphorns provided by Neil & Helen Grundy (aka Holcombe Duo)

Holcombe Duo at Rivington

You can also see some footage from a previous appearance at Jumbles reservoir on BBC North West here.