OVER 2 YOU, 135 (24/06/03)
I am a professional diver
and frequently work on wrecks and submerged structures, recording data and
coordinates etc., by hand, on a ‘slate’, which are cumbersome and has limited
storage capacity. Has anyone developed such an underwater organiser or PC,
preferably with a large keyboard or touch sensitive screen (for handwriting
recognition) or an illuminated display?
S Lindley, via email
An underwater PC was
developed over ten years ago by a scientist called Bruce McDonald at the
Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). ‘WetPC’ was quite bulky; it had
to be attached to the diver’s air tanks and operated using a small hand-held
display and controller device. I’m not sure how far it has been developed, or
even if it is still in production but I did manage to find a reference to it on
the web at: http://wetpc.com.au/html/
Ken Berry, via email
The nearest thing to S.
Lindley's search for a waterproof organiser is the Armor cases by Otter details can be found at www.ruggedpeak.com.
This ruggedised case is waterproof and allows use of the PDA in wet and hostile
conditions. It is not designed to be used underwater, but will survive
immersion, and we have photos of it being used by people floating in rivers (in
the Bolivian jungle!). They are very popular with outdoor and water-based
professionals. Water engineers, for example, use them to protect PDA's whilst
downloading data from remote monitoring equipment.
Tony Cooper, via email
I have written a macro in
Excel 2000 to generate acronyms from sets of letters. The macro generates all
possible combinations of the letters and produces a table of results. I have
been unsuccessful in getting the dictionary facility to operate from within the
macro so I copy the table of results into Word and use its dictionary to
identify incorrectly spelt words. Can anyone suggest a way to use the
dictionary from within a macro, to identify incorrectly spelt words and print a
list of correct ones?
Les Thorpe, via email
To use the dictionary from
within an Excel Macro the code required is :-
I have broken the lines (as Excel would do) for ease of reading. Language 2057
is UK English
I too have an anagram macro
written in Excel and test the existence of a generated string using
Application.CheckSpelling(sWord) where sWord is the candidate word.
CheckSpelling will return a Boolean result.
SMALL BUSINESS SOFTWARE
I run a small business and
I’m looking for a program that records client names and addresses, logs orders,
reports when a customer last placed an order and flags up an entry if there is
no repeat business within a certain time frame. Can anyone recommend suitable
Monty Portman, via email
I use a package developed
in Microsoft Access by a firm called Garek Systems. It covers all your basic
administrative functions, client names, addresses, sales and purchase order
logging, etc. and can be tailored to your individual requirements. I estimate
it saves my company two days a week in administrative time. Their number is +44
(0) 1606 550691.
Monty Portman should have a
look at our web-site (www.preori.co.uk).
We tailor business software for companies who can't find a suitable packaged
Cole, Preori Limited
I am looking for a way of
producing multiple copies of the same MS Office document (Word/Excel), but each with it's own unique serial number. I can do this in Avery DesignPro but have been unable to find a way of doing it in Office. Can anyone help?
Ian Johnson, via email
This should be very easy, do it as a rather unconventional mail merge! In MS
Word you can merge data from a database or spreadsheet or from another WinWord
file. The latter is the easiest - just type in the sequence of numbers. Then
merge this new data into a field in your main document, suitably titled so that
it tells the user that he or she has "document number 101" or
whatever. You might even incorporate revision levels.
MORE SITES FOR SORE EYES
I suffer with AMD or ARMD which stands for Age related Macular
Degeneration and wonder if any of your readers know of a suitable website where
I could get advice? I am prepared to take part in research and would be grateful
for the help.
D Golten, via email
Some researchers have suggested that AMD
is a yeast or fungal condition. An enforced 2 days without food temporally
healed mine, which could indicate a fungal condition in need of
carbohydrates. Mr Brooks Simkins used to treat AMD, often using red light
followed by blue. The latter may have anti bug properties. Red at 670nm is
known to regenerate retinal cells. So far I have had good results scanning my
entire retina with a bright 5 LED cycle rear light, and will shortly be trying
blue. Mr Brooks Simkins used a 12-watt bulb, followed by filters for each eye.
Probably less than 14% of the light reached the eye. Maximum treatment was
about 25 minutes. I never exceed 7 minutes. A computer monitor may be therapeutic if the individual phosphors
could be turned on, giving red, green or blue. The following sites, though not
specifically for eye problems, may broaden the outlook.
Philip R Harding
I organize an
annual Safari Dinner, 48 people attend and are divided in six groups of eight
(4 couples) for each course. We have three courses, and for each course
each couple must sit with a different set of couples. I've tried to find
a formula or method on both Access and Excel, without success. Can anyone
Waddington, via email
Here is a seating plan that
you can use even if you become more ambitious and have 5 courses to your
meal! The couples are A, B, ... , W, X, and a set of letters such as
AGMS represents four couples seated together at a table.
AGMS BHNT CIOU DJPV EKQW FLRX
CLPW DGQX EHRS FIMT AJNU BKOV
EJOX FKPS ALQT BGRU CHMV DINW
DKRT ELMU FGNV AHOW BIPX CJQS
FHQU AIRV BJMW CKNX DLOS EGPT
If couples A to F are English, couples G to L are French, couples M to R are
Italian, and couples S to X are Polish, say, then this arrangement ensures that
no two couples of the same nationality are ever seated together. If, for
each course, the sets of couples are assigned to tables 1 to 6 in the above
order, no couple ever sits more than once at a table having any particular
This seating plan was published by Dr Nick Phillips (Southern Illinois
University) and myself last year in the mathematical journal Utilitas
Mathematica. We gave the plan as an arrangement for part of a
four-play tournament in flat-green bowling, not for a gastronomic progress.
The fact that you mention 24 couples rather than 16, 20, 28 or 32 suggests that
you may know more mathematics than you indicate. All these other numbers of couples are easier to assign to tables in accordance with your
restriction. The difficulty with 6 tables rather than 4, 5, 7 or 8
is related to the non-existence of a solution to the classical mathematical Problem of the
Thirty Six Officers. So the arrangement that I have given is troublesome to obtain.
Dr Donald A. Preece, University of London
CAN YOU HELP?
Alderney is a small Channel
Island of about 3,000 people. It has a library of around 18,000 books a
record of which is kept on a PC and which shows author, book title, category
and hard or paperback. It is run entirely by volunteers. This
apart, the work of issuing books and keeping a record of borrowers' names
and date of issue etc is all done by hand and is very labour intensive.
Suggestions for an inexpensive system of, say, bar codes and a scanner would be
Audrey Atterbury, via email
Can anyone suggest software
or a spreadsheet solution to help allocate rooms? We have a youth choir of 50
who visit other choirs (or host them). We always seek to place them in pairs in
home stays. They are invited to list up to four friends with whom they'd like
to share, in order of preference. There must be an easier way than named pieces
of paper on the floor! Occasionally we want to allocate rooms of three so if it
could cope with that, so much the better.
Phil Dunford, via email
Following on from a couple
of recent enquiries on Over 2 You concerning obscure formats, two weeks ago I
came across a box of Sony ‘Ellecasette’ tapes at a local church fundraiser.
Apparently the tapes were snapped up by a collector for £5. Neither the
stallholder or anyone I later questioned had seen or heard of this system before,
and I could find no reference to it on the Internet, can anyone enlighten me?
H. Linden, via email