Archive for July, 2012

IFTTT: Fun Way to get Olympic Updates and More

A while back I learned of a website which could link all kinds of other websites and services together in a clean, intuitive way.  I used it for a few things, but hadn’t found a really fun use of it until now.

The site is IFTTT and stands for “If This Then That”.

Some of the sites you can use are Facebook, E-mail, Text Message, Twitter, Dropbox, Instagram, etc.  Or you can use services like the weather forecast, Free Kindle books, new movie releases, and so on.  Then, you create a “recipe” that ties those “channels” together.  For instance, here are some popular recipes with channels in bold:

  • When my Facebook profile picture changes, update my Twitter profile picture.
  • If the weather forecast for tomorrow calls for rain, send me a text message.
  • Whenever I post a picture to Instagram, save it to Dropbox too.
  • When a new book is added to the Top 100 Free Kindle books, send me an e-mail.

These examples were all pulled from the most popular recipes.  You can use one of those recipes (and modify it if you want) or you can create your own from scratch.  There are thousands of possibilities with the 50 channels they have available.


So here’s the really cool new channel on IFTTT: ESPN’s coverage of the Olympics.  Here are the two recipes I’m using:

IFTTT: Olympics

Pretty fun, huh?  So I get notified of any gold medal the US wins or whenever anyone sets a World Record.

Setting these recipes up literally takes just a few minutes.  Simply sign up for free and try it out.  Let me know what you think!


Adding Dates and Times in Excel

I answered a question on Quora today regarding how to add a column with dates to a column with times using Excel.

Simple Answer: just add the two cells.

Detailed Answer: dates and times in Excel are stored “behind the scenes” as numbers

  • Dates are stored as the number of days since 1/1/1900
    • 1/1/1900 is stored as 0
    • 1/2/1900 is stored as 1
    • 7/24/2012 is stored as 41,114
  • Times are stored as a fractional number (out of 24 hours)
    • 12:00 midnight (aka 0:00) is stored as 0.00
    • 12:00 noon is stored as 0.50
    • 11:59:59pm is stored as 0.999988…
    • 9:25am is stored as 0.39
      • fractional number of minutes into the day is (9 * 60 + 25) / (24 * 60) = 0.39236
  • Thus, adding together a date cell and a time cell gives you a number with a decimal, which Excel converts to a Date/Time.
    • 7/24/2012 9:25am = 41,114.39

That’s a pretty technical answer, so here’s a screenshot:

Cell D3 is calculated by simply entering the equation =B3+C3.  From there, you can right-click on that cell and go to ‘Format Cells…’ to make the resulting cell look exactly how you want.

Categories: Excel Tags: ,

Fascinating Article on the Bin Laden Raid

19 July 2012 4 comments

I’ve always been fascinated by the military and top secret plans and classified information.  My guess is many people probably are.  The most recent example of this is the Navy SEALS thoroughly planned and highly secretive raid to capture Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011 in Pakistan.  The wide-spread picture of our military leaders watching the raid (right) and the raw emotion that they convey is indeed worth 1,000 words.

However, for even more detail, I recommend reading this article from The New Yorker because its 8 times as detailed as that.  Yep – 8,000+ words.  It’s loooong, but very worth it.  It goes into great detail about the intelligence, planning, preparation, practice, and execution of the infamous raid.

I didn’t read this article in one sitting and I doubt you would either.  If you haven’t signed up for the free service (they have a paid version as well) called Instapaper, I highly recommend you do so and then use it for this.  Instapaper is simple – you save webpages and articles you want to read later.  It’s best use is on mobile devices so when you’re stuck somewhere with nothing to do, you can catch up on things you want to read.  The best part is, it keeps track of where you are in an article so you can piecemeal your way through it.  Try it out!

Here’s the article from The New Yorker entitled ‘Getting Bin Laden‘:

Battling Inflammation

Everyone knows when they sprain an ankle or bump their head that there’s going to be pain and swelling to follow. Typically we take an anti-inflammatory pill and maybe use ice to make it feel better. That we can all agree on. (Although the use of drugs here could be debated. The body uses inflammation as a defense mechanism to help heal itself. Trying to counter the inflammation certainly helps the pain factor, but also inhibits the healing. Just food for thought.)

Another point to be made in these cases is the injury usually can’t be prevented. Trips and falls are part of life and simply have to be dealt with. The reason I state this obvious observation will make sense later in this post.

However, there’s growing evidence of other types of inflammation that’s harming us. This type of inflammation is avoidable and yet we keep doing it to ourselves – typically without even realizing it.  It’s frustrating that more people (especially doctors) aren’t aware of this and no one educates us.  Of course, that’s why I’m writing this: to spread the word!

GrainsI’ve written about it in this blog before but I’m writing about it again because I think it’s extremely important.  I want everyone to educate themselves as best as possible on how to live a better, more pain free life. Plus I’ve come across two outside blog posts which break down the crux of this problem with much better details than I can provide.  Once again, the problem I’m writing about is what we eat.  More specifically… grains.

But first, I’d like to digress with a disclaimer…

I’m never quite sure how my writing comes across to others, but let me state it for the record here that in no way am I belittling anyone or judging their lifestyles.  A lot of the things I believe and practice are relatively new to me because I’m always tweaking and experimenting with what works.  That’s the important part here – educate yourself as much as you can to make the best decisions for you and your family.  What works best for me may not be best for you, but the only way you know is if you learn about it and try it.  Now then…

Despite your thoughts on Paleo, you should check out these articles.  Many of you will think these posts are crazy, but try to have an open mind.  What if they’re right?  What if you tried out what they’re suggesting?  What if your changes worked and you felt better and/or looked better as a result?  Only one way to find out!

Here are the two blog posts I keep referring to:

I know I’ve seen a number of positive changes in myself and my family since going primarily grain-free.  Otherwise, why would I be so passionate about sharing with you?!

As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts and results if you’ve tried cutting grains!