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November, 2008:

3D Alphabet Book

This book is cool, if a little gimmicky, a pop-up book of the alphabet.  In fact I think that knowing where to find the video on youtube is enough for me.

ABC3D by Marion Bataille [^] is available from Amazon for around £20.

via: A Welsh View: ABC3D [^]

Excel Formula Helper

Chandoo on the Pointy Haired Dilbert blog [^] has launched an excel formula helper [^].  The aim is to provide normal users of Excel with an easy to understand English explanations, and examples, of some of the most commonly used Excel formulas. 

Excel Formula Helper - max

I am a professional Excel-wrangler, and occasionally I have to resort to using Excel Help, and it is never a pleasant experience.  And, for the most part I know what I’m looking for / at, so what’s it like for “normal” people.

I am also a point of contact for some of less experienced Excel users around the office.  Usually it’s for formula help, “how do you …” and “why doesn’t this work?” type problems.  It’s nice to know that I now have a resource that I can point others to so that they can help themselves or if I’m too busy to explain a formula.

Chandoo has promised that if this popular then he will expand this initial offering, so help everyone and point people there.

Mahna Mahna and Phenomenon

That has got to be the strangest post title I have come up with so far.

Again, it’s all down to the Muppets creator Jim Henson, apparently being the first sketch of the first episode of the Muppets.  The “Mahna Mahna” [^] song is a work of brilliant comic timing in all of it’s Muppet guises, and the final “Phenomenon” variation exploits the cult following.  With so many people struggling to say phenomenon, how many takes were done before they got the final version?

Banana Boat sunscreen revisited the song for a series of ads that they ran in Australia a few years ago.

Special bonus link: Kermit goes to the Animal Psychiatrist [^]

USB Keys

There seems to be a proliferation of USB keys across the computer world.  They seem more prominent than the floppy disk was a decade ago, everyone carries one around.  There are grey ones and brightly coloured ones, but they come as either little boxes or sticks.

There have been plenty of DIY USB customisations [^] posted on [^] and similar sites.  But for the lazy, sorry time-poor, amongst us the geek world has come to the rescue.  There is now an array of ready-made storage devices available like the USB Skull Key rings [^], the USB Teddy Bear [^], and USB Christmas Drives [^].

Now there is no reason not to let a little bit of “you” shine through, don’t accept geeky grey sticks.

USB_Skull_Ring_003 teddybearusbdrive2_s 



Handyman Essentials

The perfect gift for the home handyman who has everything, duct tape band-aids / plasters [^] available from

 duct tape band-aid

Just the thing, there’s nothing like a pink plaster or kids character band-aid (Sponge Bob, or Disney . . . ) to loose you whatever handyman credibility you have at your favourite hardware shop! 

These are just like a band-aid except they last longer, and are better at keeping dirt out of the wound.  Ready made convenience, with the well known durability and the DIY look of Duct Tape.  There’s no mention of them being available in Australia yet, so perhaps this is a business opportunity for someone!