Category Archives: Active Projects - Projects that are still in active development.

Shared Excel Tools Website

Shared Excel Tools Website

Shared Excel Tools ( is a website aiming to provide quick solutions to tasks commonly performed in MS Excel. I wanted this tool many years ago when I started to write VBA scripts to automate various tasks. It has always seemed crazy to me that we have such an effective tool with Excel VBA, but because there is no structure or organisation, it becomes very inefficient. It is common for the same routines to be rewritten many times by various people and sometimes even the same person when they loose access to their data for some reason.

My original idea was to have advanced selection criteria around a central list of Excel solutions.  Users could use various search methods (ie groups, tags and search terms)  to narrow down on the area they are interested in. Also, if enough users contributed, feedback and suggestions could be used to make various solutions more solid and the available scripts more numerous. I intended on having functionality to allow people to contribute to solutions with a system of version control. A bug reporting section would be important and could also be used to allow users to make suggestions.

After being put aside for many years, the time and place for this site seems to have come and gone. VBA can be expected to lose popularity in the years to come and git is now a common way for people to contribute to projects. Still, I wanted a location to keep my scripts that I can access whenever I like and to share with others as well. Hence I have gone ahead with version 1.0.   It’s a watered down version of the original idea but it has the benefit of requiring much less time and effort to implement.

Version 1.0 is pretty much in place at:

Some ‘minor’ things still need to be ticked off and, more notably, the bulk of the scripts still need to be added. Those will need to be checked and sometimes, modified. It can take some time.

I am also putting my solutions on github as well ( This mostly takes care of version control for any scripts that I want to update.

If it turns out well and time permits, I will consider updating the site to 2.0 which will be closer to the original concept.


Evolution Simmed – v2.0 – 2022 Update

Evolution Simmed – v2.0 – 2022 Update

Some progress but mostly in the back end. Namely I have changed the platform from the custom setup it previously had to wordpress. Hopefully this will allow modifications to flow more smoothly.

The new look is mostly in place. Mostly I have tried to remove unnecessary clutter and add some more styling. This is yet to be done to the actual simulator:

Evolution Simmed simulator page

Current ‘to-do’ items on the list are:

  • Update the front page to be informative and styled
  • Add the news/blog section to allow news to be seen
  • Ensure footer items (contact page, privacy etc) are in place
  • Update simulator functionality including:
    • Allow changes to grid size
    • Report to show info of selected species
    • Styling
    • Allow importing, exporting and editing of simulations

At that point I will need to reassess what needs to be done. There are a lot of features that could be added for educational purposes.

Random thoughts on Online Storage Tool – 22.02.2022

Random thoughts on Online Storage Tool – 22.02.2022

Description: I want a program that lets me organise files by tags and dates. This is already available of course but I want control and I don’t want to be tied to a companies product which may or may not be supported into the future. Basically this will be a database that stores the information about files in the way I desire.

Random thoughts on Online Storage Tool…

  • All files are renamed to have unique id at start of filename ie ‘ID-A001_Old-file-name.jpg’
  • Actual file location can be anywhere on network but required folders should be locked or protected to a degree
  • DB also stores tags and other relevant information to cover files that are not structured to store such information

Table 1:

ID | file_name | location | file type

Table 2:

Item id | type |

Random thoughts on nodal knowledge – 30.05.19

Random thoughts on nodal knowledge – 30.05.19

Random thoughts on nodal knowledge tool…

  • Is there scope to have a purely preference based scoring system that does not rely on consistant logic?
  • For stuctures that do not rely on all evidence being apparent, arguments such as “just a feeling” etc will likely be used to fill gaps which may be a good thing if it helps people identify their reasoning and possible weaknesses in their reasoning.
  • Some nodes whien new evidence becomes available will need to be restructured to accomodate changing logic/conclusions
  • Structures will need to be condensed/compressed so structures can be recorded without excessive duplication

Innovation cost chart

Innovation cost chart

It is not unusual to find a situation within a company where an opportunity for innovation exists but management resists the idea for fear of the potential costs. It is an understandable fear. Putting time and money into an idea that is unlikely to pay off is in nobody’s interest. However, there are times when failing to act on an idea will cost the company in the long run.

I think this scenario where managers need to decide on whether to invest in innovation is a common one that most people are familiar with. To make it easier, I intend to make a chart which will allow basic inputs so the cost of innovation can be fairly estimated and the likely returns in the long run will be clear. Hopefully, when people see output like this:

it will be a little easier to convince the bean counters to invest when in innovation when they should.

I have spread myself quite thin at present so I expect this will have to wait a few months before I make a move on it.

Shared Excel Tools

Shared Excel Tools

Over many years of working in data processing and data analysis I accumulated various MS Excel tools that I like to use. However, it always seems that when I need them, they are not in a convenient location and trying to share them with others is often also quite inconvenient.

To address these issues and to add to the MS Excel community, I decided a looonnnnggg time ago to build a site that focuses on linking MS Excel users with MS Excel tools. My intention is to try and keep it targeted at allowing a user to quickly search a database of potential solutions and extract the solution in a usable form as easily as possible.

So I have been working on a site to do just this. I have called it, very imaginatively, ‘Shared Excel Tools’. It is still very much in construction but it is online and can be found here:

Shared Excel Tools – Still under construction…

Evolution Simmed – v2.0

Evolution Simmed – v2.0

Evolution Simmed v1.0 was finished many years ago but it was always in the need of more features and a less repulsive look. The original was made from scratch while I learnt the required technologies (namely php and javascript). I am hoping that by utilizing ‘wordpress’ I will be able to add desired features and update the look more efficiently. Lets see…

Borrowing from the evolution simmed blog, here is the list of features I intend to add over the next 12 months…

Future features list:

    1. Simulation summary report – An output panel that displays key information such as:
      • most successful/numerous species
      • most complex species
    2. New species highlighter – An animated line to highlight new species for easy identification
    3. Simulation recording – Recording a simulation in a text file to allow saving and manual modification
    4. Discussion board – A discussion board to allow active discussion
    5. Moving environment – Allow gradual movement of environmental cells to simulate a changing environment
    6. More control over the environmental cells such as the size of the grid and more control of the impact of various environmental cells

Evolution Simmed – v1.0

Evolution Simmed – v1.0

Evolution is a fascinating topic. We have a wonderful example of evolution in action with biological evolution but we can also take the fundamental blocks to gain insight into many other processes. While understanding the fundamental principles of evolution can be straight forward, it can also be to describe many surprising and complex phenomenia. Contemplating the likely or even just possible outcomes can lead to interesting philosophical exercises.

To aid the learning of evolution and to help conceptionalise evolutionary processes I created an online evolutionary simulator which I called ‘Evolution Simmed’.

It is placed in its own site located here:

Evolution Simmed Site v1.0

While it is quite useable, it is now quite old. It has always been quite ugly and is still missing some core functionality which I want it to have. For these reasons I have decided to redo the site which is one of many projects I am working on.

State of Being Calculator – Overview and Instructions

State of Being Calculator – Overview and Instructions

Life satisfaction tends to be the resulting combination of different aspects of life that we find important. Health, wealth, Family and friends, among other aspects of life, will all impact on our mood and general well-being. By identifying each of those aspects of our lives, we can gain insight into different things that make us happy or sad and we can typically identify actions that can lift our mood when required. It can also help us safe guard against over focusing on just a few aspects of our lives at the cost of other important areas. Neglecting family to focus on work, for example.

Different flavours of this approach or ‘technique’ has been advocated by various self-help authors. One such author is ‘Susan Jeffers’ who discussed this approach in her book ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. She points out the importance of diversifying your focus in life so as not to be overly reliant on one area. Focusing on just a few aspects in life leaves us psychologically vulnerable to negative outcomes in those areas. For example, if someone focused solely on work, they are likely to be hard hit if their work ended abruptly. A healthier approach is to draw happiness from multiple areas in life. In that case, we are less likely to be rocked by singular events or even one aspect of our lives turning to muck.

I have used this approach myself at times. It pops into my mind when life satisfaction takes a dip and sure enough, when I peruse the areas in my life that are important to me, I tend to find I’m neglecting some.

The ‘State of Being Calculator’ uses nine measures to gauge our overall life satisfaction.  By considering each factor separately we can narrow down potential actions we can use to improve life.  If you would like to use the tool to track progress over time, you can register to record your changes and past scores.

How to use:

Note: To record any changes to the default factors or to record scores over time, an account is required. 

  1. Using the default information, edit each factor to match your own values.

State of Being Calculator

Acknowledgement: This tool, I believe, took shape after reading of similar approaches from others. I am yet to find all

Structured Problem Solving Tool – Compare