22 August 2009

iPod Engraving in UTF-8?

When outside, I'm always afraid of my big iPod Classic (80GB) of falling on the pavement and breaking. Even though it is quite nicely protected by a fantastic wide-corduroy case by the foof-lady, there is always a chance that it will sustain serious damage if it falls. So I was thinking of getting an iPod shuffle and the iPod Classic I have is way too big to go jogging around on the streets.

When I went to the famous online fruit store, it said that I could request an engraving to be put on the back of the iPod. I liked the idea and quickly tested something in my mother tongue. All I got was ???? on the back of the iPod instead of ਮੇਰਾ ਸੰਗੀਤ. Has anyone tried using non-English characters? e.g. Arabic? Chinese? Japanese? etc.

It seems to be quite a trivial thing to do when all software Apple has supports UTF-8 characterset and the engraving is also done by a machine rather than a human hand (would be wonderful if it was done manually though).

9 August 2009

MS Excel - Shared file bug

This is a note to self, plus for those who might encounter the issue. It took me about an hour to find the solution to this problem.

Problem: A large Excel spreadsheet (about 3MB) which has the "Share Workbook" enabled is used by different authors and over time the file size increases enormously. In this case, the file had grown to about 90MB with only small additions of data over a period of a couple of months.

Possibility: User might have added several empty or almost empty cells to the sheet so that the whole sheet/workbook is filled up.

Interesting observation: Deleting 233 columns (and 64k rows) increased the size of the file by 2MB!

Solution: This happens when the workbook is keep a track of what is being done with it and by whom. If you don't want that information (I wonder how it is viewed), you can remove the extra tracking information by removing the Share feature by going to Tools > Share Workbook and then uncheck the option to make it shared and save it. You can check the size of the workbook after saving and it will be reduced to size needed by the data and formatting.

You can re-enable the share feature after saving if needed.