DEsign.VISUALization


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Oil painting at Brooklyn Art Space

Last year it was the iPad finger painting. This year, it’s real fresh paint. I’ve finally utilized a Groupon/Living Social deal for some soul satisfaction. I got a deal to learn oil painting at the Brooklyn Art Space and I utilized it this past weekend – in short, a weekend well spent!

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Tableau Profile

Tableau Public has recently launched individual author profiles that showcases ‘vizzes’ by an author in a better way. I’m working on customizing my profile and should be up pretty soon. Stay tuned! Until then, check out more about profiles here.


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Excel feature to auto-fill columns – why it annoys me

As much as I’m in love with Excel, I must admit that I am annoyed sometimes with some of its features. A peculiar feature to note here is the auto-fill feature. It goes simply as follows:

When you have a number in your cell, and you drag it down to fill in rest of the column, the auto-fill feature will fill with ‘Copy Cells’ feature. So you end up having the same number in your entire column.

Auto-fill default set to 'Copy Cells' for numbers

Auto-fill default set to ‘Copy Cells’ for numbers

However, when you have an alphanumeric text in your cell, and you drag it down to fill in rest of the column, the auto-fill feature will fill with ‘Fill Series’ feature. So you end up having incremental numbers in rest of your column.

Auto-fill default set to 'Fill Series' for alpha numeric text

Auto-fill default set to ‘Fill Series’ for alpha numeric text

Why this anomaly? I have more than often wanted to fill my columns with incremental numbers rather than incremental alpha numeric characters.

For example, if I’ve assigned ID 100 to one row, I’d like to fill in the rest of the column with incremental IDs such as 101, 102, and so on. But Excel doesn’t want me to. It selects ‘Copy Cells’ as default and wants me to manually do one step to ‘Fill Series’.

One extra step is not an issue, but if it can select ‘Fill Series’ as default for alpha-numeric text, then why not for numbers as well? This is something I still don’t get it. If anyone knows why, please drop a line in the comments!

Speaking of filling your columns, here’s my other post on Excel shortcuts to copy down your formulas.

500px

500px is an awesome online photo community powered by photographers around the world. I’ve created my own portfolio here and have uploaded some of my select picks. Take a look, and feel free to shop for downloads or prints if you like!

http://500px.com/ndevisual

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Google Drive Spreadsheets for iPad – hands-on review

Being an avid user of Google Spreadsheets on the desktop, I was particularly looking forward for a native iOS app that would give me more than just viewing my documents on the iPad.

Previously, editing spreadsheets on the iPad was cumbersome as users had to edit each cell by row and then click submit  (more on the earlier version here). There are third party apps out there that can help with Google Spreadsheets (e.g: CloudOn), but none was from the Google stable. The users yearned for more, and Sir Google finally smiled upon us.

Google Drive on iPad

Two months ago Google rolled out an update to it’s Spreadsheet application for iPad (under Drive) that finally gave a great looking spreadsheet app that we can finally touch and edit. It’s not yet to replace its desktop cousin, but considering the things we can do now on the iPad, it is a giant leap.

Here’s what Google Software Engineer Shrikant Shanbhag had to say about the launch here:

From the Drive app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, you can create a new spreadsheet or edit an existing one. You can switch fonts, resize columns, sort data, and more.

Here are some cool things to know from my hands-on (literally!) experience so far:

  • Editing is real-time, no need to click ‘Save’ or ‘Submit’
  • Editing is touch-friendly – a single tap will select a cell, double tap will open the cell for edit. This is a very useful feature that will avoid unnecessary edits.
  • Selecting, copying or pasting cells, columns and rows can be done by simple taps.
  • Retina display is rewarded with a pinch and zoom feature – the grid auto adjusts itself without distorting the font or formatting
  • Rows/columns can be re-sized, frozen, inserted, deleted, copied and pasted (but not hidden, as yet)
  • Real time sharing is supported

Google Drive on iPad

There are still some features not yet available on the iOS version, such as we cannot yet hide/unhide rows, columns and sheets.

But a major roadblock I see is the inability to see the formula ‘drop down’ you get on desktop once you start typing the formula in a cell. Users who are not yet experienced with formulas may find it difficult to use the iPad version.

Google Drive on iPad

Other than that, everything else works beautifully. Google’s engineering on Apple’s beautiful display – it cannot get any better than this!

Google Drive is a trademark of Google Inc.

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