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Blog this: tidbits from the archive

Posted by joeabbott on May 18, 2013

Most Saturday mornings I follow a small routine: feed and let the cats out for a morning run, grab the paper from the driveway and give it a read, and then head up to my computer for a bit of blogging. And most Saturdays I have a topic or two that I wish to share: a story about my week, a project in the hopper, or some minor calamity I need to get off my chest.

Not so this week. It was your average get-up-and-go-to-work-and-come-home-to-dinner-and-do-it-again-the-next-day sorta week. Yeah, I overslept one day this week (hasn’t happened in years) and had to drive into work, sure my employer took me to the opening show of Star Trek: Into Darkness (fun movie!), and I got a new home office chair … but, let’s be honest: even someone who loves trivial details finds those offerings a bit flat.

And so I give into the wealth of links I send myself throughout the week and give you another episode of “blog this”.

Word Functions: magic and mystery

On May 9, 2013 a Twitter account I follow (@microsoft) retweeted the following:


Now, in college I literally read the entire Microsoft Word 3.0 (or was it 3.01?) manual and was a wizard at using Word to its fullest. My reports were formatted well, I had tables of content, indexes, inserted images looked good, text flowed around pictures, mathematical formulas were all accurate … it took a lot of work but I had the results to show for it. But, there’s been a lot of time since I’d last really used Word so the above tweet triggered a bit of nostalgic love for the venerable Word but also shocked me in how far I’d drifted from my past proficiency with this tool. I didn’t even know Word supported functions like this!

I dug in and found that, while Word supports =rand(x,y), it also supports the =lorem(x,y), giving filler text using the lorem ipsum … construction (which I favor). However, try as I might, I could only coax a single other function out of the “help docs” (that being, =rand.old(x,y) … look it up if you care!). I then dug through the Word menus trying to find where they hid the “functions” options and came up empty-handed.

So, I’m not sure what other functions are supported in Word (the “help docs” are replaced with a web search window … ick) or how I might have found them without stumbling on Mr. Fitzgerald’s tweet but this seems like a crazy cool (albeit of limited usefulness) function.

Periodic Table of Middle-earth

I’ve written about my great appreciation of the Lord of the Rings in other posts (too many to link to!) and my love for the periodic table, well, my inner-geek found a whole new gear when I came across (again, via Twitter … this time from @majornelson) The Periodic Table of Middle-earth:


It was constructed by Emil Johansson, who even spoke at TED regarding his Lord of the Rings Project, and is a chemical engineering student, so he likely knows his stuff pretty well. While I have small exceptions to some items in the chart (I feel Samwise Gamgee, Sg, is placed too far down in the Hobbit order; and I wish he’d denoted “Rings of Power bearers”, and not just “One Ring bearers”), I like it quite a bit. Sandwiching Half-Elves between Men and Elves is clever, the overall structure is wonderful, and Emil’s sense of design is excellent.

If you get a chance to visit Emil’s Lord of the Rings Project, you’ll find a lot of other neat things to enjoy: fun posters, maps, timelines, a plethora of Middle-earth statistics, and his centerpiece: a Genealogy of Middle-earth. Enjoy.

I Love Charts

This entry could be labeled as from the “not sure where this came from department” but I have an email to myself with this URL in the subject and nothing else: I can only imagine I read about it somewhere, agreed with the name of the site, and saved it off. And, just looking through the posts, who wouldn’t love charts?!

You can find fabulous graphics, thought-provoking images, and wonderful designs. It’s a great place to wander through or search on a specific topic. Just great stuff. I especially liked the item I found below:


Spend a bit of time there if you get a chance, I’m sure you’ll find something interesting.


And that’s it for another edition of “blog this”. I have a mailbox full of this stuff so don’t be a stranger, I’ll be posting more soon!


One Response to “Blog this: tidbits from the archive”

  1. Momma said

    favorite: I love charts – wish I could have the action shot of “orbit of moons and planets” on my desktop. The funny ones gave me some good laughs, not easy at 4:06 AM.

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