Monthly Archives: June 2008

June 27, 2008

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There’s so many things rattling around in my brain right now (as usual) and its hard to know what to pick out to talk about. And I want to write. Many times during these brain log-jams, I just throw in the towel and I don’t write a thing.

I think the best thing to do is start typing. Just start typing into the blog.

My attempts at programming the iPhone are kinda so so. I have fits of programming attempts. My main road-block seems to be learning how to use XCode properly.

I’ve talked to people who work in the Oakbrook Apple store and the big Michigan Avenue Apple store in downtown Chicago. Not suprisingly, beyond knowing how to use the iPhone, they don’t have any info/help on how to program the thing. Gosh, I wish I had gone to the developer conference Apple just had in San Fran!

I didfind out about a programmer’s group in the Chicagoland area that meets once a month at the Michigan Avenue Apple Store. The Cocoaheads. I saw some stuff out there about iPhone programming. I am planning on going to their July meeting. Wish me luck!

I finally took my first 1to1 course at the Apple store on Finalcut Express. Pretty good! Sadly, I’ve had the membership for a while now and have wasted several weeks. I am all signed up for another 1to1 though.

Are you an iPhone developer? Do you know XCode pretty well? Do you mind if I bother you with questions? Let me know.

“Cree cree creee creee…”   sound of crickets…

I got to come up with a written list of my current iPhone questions to:

  • Bring to that meeting in July.
  • To give via email addresses shown at the end of the Apple “how-to” videos.

Am I babbling? Probably.

My health (panic attack and anxiety issues) has been gradually improving as I have been:

  • Staying away from caffiene
  • Taking GABA (An amino acid)
  • Taking 5-HTP.
  • Taking B Vitamins & Magnesium.
  • Trying to eat right.
  • Taking a multiple vitamin.
  • Trying to recollect what I did right for the day not what I did wrong.
  • Trying to recollect what I completed, as opposed to what I didn’t complete.
  • Not only let my body rest, but my thoughts rest too.

One thing that has been therapeutic, has been gardening.  I’ve created this whole new garden bed in my back yard. It’s got this nice edging, cedar mulch, and I’ve planted 3 new bushes! I hope that they survive.

The bushes have some new holes in allot of the leaves. I looked on the underside of the leaves… no bugs were found. I’ve now added flowers and garden lights to my garden bed (some flowers have not been planted yet). Oh, and I have one tomato plant.

I still have dreams of living in Hawaii some day (on the beach). Okay, I don’t want much do I? 😛

Visited my dad at the nursing home. He was quite lucid. Haven’t seen him that lucid in quite some time. I know its not something I can expect regularly. If I had my druthers, I would live by the ocean in Hawaii and my dad would live with us and we would have in-home healthcare for him. I don’t know if my dad would live long enough for this to happen. I can dream.

The iPhone is Working Again

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My iPhone is working again. It has been several days since this momentous occasion has occured.

I called Apple tech support and was graciously helped above and beyond the call of duty. It seems that I was missing a step in upgrading my iPhone OS. Thankfully, I was given the remaining step, tried it, and it worked!

My iPhone has Wigged Out!

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Imagine that you are ready to go somewhere and want to bring your cell phone with you. I found myself in this spot at many of us do. I went to get it off the charger where it had been sitting 2 or 3 days. I’d been hanging around the house for that amount of time and had not needed it. —Is that possible?— 😀

I took my phone off the charger and was greeted with the purple screen of uselessness. –Well, not quite, if I needed to call 911 it would allow that!

Without me updating my phone, at all, my iPhone has become basically a brick. All it can do is make emergency calls (I will add a screen shot later).

It dawned on me that since I am part of the paid SDK beta, that maybe the version of the iPhone OS on my phone had expired, so, I went through the process of updating my phone/SDK/Mac to the latest version of everything. At least I think I did everything that I need to!

I was expecting it to work again. No dice! That is a bit disappointing to say the least. I’m planning on calling Apple tonight when I get home to try to resolve the problem. I’m glad I have a cordless bluetooth headset for my landline phone as I’m sure I can expect to be waiting in some tech support queue for some time.

Let’s see, for a reference the number I will need to call is:  

U.S. iPhone technical support: 1-800-MY-IPHONE (1-800-694-7466)

Got it from here.

Wish me luck!

How to Add Custom Menus in Excel 2003

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Introduction:
It never crossed my mind for the longest time that there might be the possibility of of adding custom menus to Excel. Either ones that are specific with a particular workbook, or menus that are available for use with any workbook.

When I found out you could have custom menus in Excel, I spent quite a bit of time searching for how to do it. Microsoft’s site wasn’t very clear. A site here and a site there explained parts of the puzzle. Eventually, with allot of experimentation, I got it working.

This tutorial explains how you can create your own custom menus in Excel. The version of Excel I’m using is Excel 2003 SP3.

Custom Menu Modes:
There are two ways you can have custom menus:

  1. Custom menus that appear only when opening a specific workbook. In this case, we put the VBA code in that specific workbook which is executed in the workbook_open event handler.
  2. Custom menus that are available in Excel regardless of what workbook is open. In fact, these menus can be available even if no workbook is open! Basically it works the same way as when doing it for a specific workbook. The difference is that we save the file as an Excel Add-In. Then, we go to Add-Ins in Excel, and check our new Add-In.  It will be available for use from that point forward.

A Little More Information about Excel Add-Ins:
They are basically Excel workbook files with some exceptions:

  • They have a different file extension (*.xla).
  • Even though this “workbook” can have one or more tabs, all the tabs are invisible.
  • The file must be saved in the directory where the Excel Add-Ins go. Normally, if you pick the add-on file extention type in the Save As dialog, it will point to the correct directory for you.
  • Once an Add-Ins has been saved, it still must be picked (checked) from Add-Ins (Tools / Add-Ins menu) in order for it to work.
  • You must not have Macros disabled for Add-Ins to work.
  • Whenever you check an Add-In in Excel, or if you open Excel and the Add-In is already checked, the workbook_open event code will be executed.
  • Whenever you uncheck an Add-In in Excel, or if you close Excel and the Add-In is already checked, the workbook_beforeclose event code will be executed.

Menu Code Overview
Now that we got discussing Add-Ins out of the way, I want to basically give an overview of our code, how it works, etc.:

  • Our code for either an Add-In or an individual workbook is basically the same.
  • In our workbook_open event handler, we put in code to create our menus.
  • In our workbook_beforeclose event handler, we put in code to remove our menus.
  • When a menu item in Excel is created, it doesn’t go away, even if you close Excel. This may sound good, but if your menu was workbook specific and the workbook was no longer open you could get an error trying to call a procedure no longer in memory.
  • Because of the above, if you aren’t careful, you could end up with multiple menus with the same captions, etc. Basically a mess!
  • Because of this, before we create any new menus, it is smart to check to see if there are any old versions of the menus and delete them first! Our sample code will do just that!
  • Menus can have keyboard shortcuts. We’ll show you how to do this.
  • And of course menu items will have code associated with them which executes when the user clicks on the item. We will show how to do this as well.
  • Finally, once you have your menu working nicely, you may want to password protect your module to prevent users from messing with it. We will show you how to do this.

Creating our Sample File
Open Excel, and create a new workbook. You may want to delete the last two tabs since they are not needed, but this is optional.

  • Open up the Visual Basic Editor (VBE)  from Excel. One way to do this is to select it from the Tools / Macro menu. You could add a VBE button on your tool bar from the View menu sometime too. This makes getting into the editor allot faster going forward.
  • From the VBE’s Insert menu, pick the “Module” option.
  • I would rename the module to something like: “modMenuTest”
  • Press Ctrl-S to save your changes. Do this often as you work on your project!
  • This new module will contain the routines we will call to do the following:
    • House our menu building and removal routines.
    • House our routines which will run when menu items are clicked on.

First Routine, DeleteAMenu:
Add the following code to the new module:
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