June 29, 2010

Energy: Out of the Box Vista

There are scores of energy alternative solutions that are available currently. But one thing is evident, no single solution can wean the world away from its addiction to oil. Not yet, to say the least. So what we have to take into consideration, is that these alternative solutions, must be combined and infrastructure must be put in place to make them work.

It is imperative for the survival of the planet that businesses take a responsibility in this current conundrum. Since energy consumption is driven by business, not only that carbon footprint in the office must be considered.

The business model for ushering in alternative energy sources in the energy generation must be made easy. Policies and regulations, therefore must be conducive to the creation and interweaving of these energy solutions into the society.

For example, we have various solar and thermal energy solutions currently available. But the current models of generation needs to be paired with a compatible energy storage and delivery systems.

If we consider the cost, compressed air cylinders will be easier than lead acid batteries for storing energy. However, air engines must be made ubiquitous so that these solutions can work together. Air compression may not be that efficient as energy storage, but it's cheap enough to be made as commonplace as the soda bottles (that you can replaced on street corners when you want a refill).

Let's say, a low cost solar heat collector is reworked not just for water heating but for compressing air in cylinders. With easily available air engines, these cylinders can then power home tools. Or using an array of these, even up to light transportation like the air cars can be powered. (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVAycHr8hVE for an example)

How about air compression mechanism powered by windmills? Or mini train-like tracks connecting buildings were 2-seater electric-air hybrid pods can travel with air braking compressing air back?

Also, Stirling engines in different sizes must be made easily available to encourage people's native ingenuity to harness energy directly within their confines rather than rely on increasingly high electric bills.

For the most part, the government is tasked with these coordination via regulations. But the problem with it, is that most government policy makers stay indoors doing paper works on various models he may not be technically interested at all. - So we end up with dislocated tax incentives and such measures to various solutions.

We have to step away from outright dismissal of deviations to status quo ideations -specially, when it is evident that maintaining stautus quo is heading the planet to a neanderthal reboot.

Web Control Office on Spreadsheet

Re: My previous post about web control embedded in a spreadsheet, there are some slight variations when using office 2007 or 2010 version. The "Visual Basic" toolbar is replaced with the "Developer" tab in the ribbon area. You may have a hidden 'Developer' tab in the ribbon so you may refer to microsoft on how to do show this tab. Otherwise the steps and code will just be the same. Except perhaps if you opted to customize your spreadsheet application a bit.

I have uploaded a version with some customization. You may find it here: Browser.xls

As you can see, I have changed the spreadsheet background and reworked the code to show a theater screen curtain when the toggle button captioned 'power' is turned off. Of course it is also pulling the image from the web so don't expect the screen to show the intended URL if you are offline.

I have left open the VBA portion (you can view it by pressing 'Alt-F11') so you can further modify it. You can load it initially with macro disabled to check that there is no malicious code therein. You may also put additional controls similar to media player buttons to go to the next or previous URL, for example these button types: Media-Player-Buttons.

Some techniques we have employed in creating the said application will be helpful as I post other similar topics. The data validation formatting of a cell, the range name that refers to a dynamic list and the 'vlookup' formula. These will be useful as I will be posting later how to make an Excel front end to a database system.

I am planning to post how to use Excel in Accounting. Excel is particularly adept at the complexities required in business and to use it in the generation of the books of account is ideal. However, I will call in a more robust database component for maintaining the records. It will be a good learning experience for me and for you.

Keep visiting this blog for more!

June 26, 2010

Embedded Excel Web Control

Embedding a browser in a spreadsheet can be a fun way to send your friends and associates the browsing experiences you need to share them instead of creating a PowerPoint file. You can use this to aggregate your different blogs, file sharing, facebook, youtube and other accounts into a cohesive and sequential browsing.

In case your Excel is not yet updated version, I will share you the way to do this and still, you can use Excel 2007/2010 though the screen can be different a bit.

1) Open a blank worksheet. Right click any part of menu or icon and select cutomize and from the ensuing toolbar customization dialog- check 'Visual Basic'.

2) Now click the "Control Toolbox' icon (the one that looks like a hammer and a wrench) and then you have the option to embed various control using the last toolbox icon. Click it and scroll down to select "Microsoft Web Browser'. Then click the spreadsheet area to place it into. You may arrange and re size it, but leave 3 rows from the top.

3) Click the "Control Toolbox' icon and select the text box control. Place it on cell 'F1'. Right click it, and select view code. You will be taken to the coding window.

4) Paste the following lines of code:

Private Sub TextBox1_Change()
WebBrowser1.Navigate TextBox1.Text
End Sub

5) Now go back to the spreadsheet and select sheet2 tab and enter the following starting with cell 'A1':

Site Address
Google http://www.google.com/
Journey http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=AO0LtxIpujM
PGT http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=HwrcBVb_RJg
IndiArtist http://www.isound.com/kristen_rini

6) Now click the menu 'Insert', 'Name' and then select 'Define'. From the dialog, accept the name site and paste the following as the cell range: "=OFFSET(Sheet2!$A$1,1,0,COUNTA(Sheet2!$A:$A)-1)". The range name "Site" will then be dynamically accommodating the list size of url as you edit, add, delete later. (The list must be a contiguous downward list).

7) Go back to sheet1 and select cell 'B2'. Click the menu ' Data' then select 'Validation'. On the dialog, select "List" on the dropdown box. Enter "=Site" on the box labeled 'Source'. Now 'B2' will have a validation that will list the sites from the dynamic range: "Site" (which is a list contained in sheet2).

8) Input the following formula (without quotation marks) in cell 'D2' : "=VLOOKUP(B2,Sheet2!A:B,2,FALSE)"

9) Right click the textbox control on cell 'F1' and select properties. On the list provided, select Linkedcell and input 'D2'. Also select the property 'Visible' and turn the value to "False"

10) Now click the icon named "Exit Design Mode" from the "Visual Basic Toolbar". Select cell 'B2' and change to see whether the browser control show the intended websites. Save the file after edit of the desired url listing on sheet2.

You may then prettify the workbook by changing the background color/picture, putting the necessary captions on cell 'B1' & 'D1', rename sheets, refine the validation rules, etc. You may also rename the browser control by going into design mode, but adjust the VB code accordingly.

Now whenever, you can say your point thru the web pages you view, then you can sell or share that point and let your friends experienced it being pulled from the web. Enjoy!