Excel: deleting blank rows

Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 10:29:08

One of those great tips that just makes life easier… you have 100,000 records in an Excel spreadsheet that you’ve just pulled from a live database and it’s ended up with some blank rows in it, scattered throughout. How do you delete them easily?? With this tip using (believe it or not) the “Go To” dialog in Excel! And, copied verbatim:

1) Select the cells in one column from the top of your list to the bottom;

2) Make sure that all the blank cells in this selected range are the rows you want to delete;

3) Press the F5 key on your keyboard;

4) On the Go To dialog, click the Special… button;

5) Choose the Blanks option and click OK. This will select all blank cells in the range you had previously selected;

6) Right click on one of the selected cells, select Delete, Entire Row and click OK.


Converting NoteStudio files to TiddlyWiki

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 12:17:20

For many years I was a user of NoteStudio on Palm as a tool for implementing David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GtD) productivity methodology. It was great, worked well, had a few foibles and then the developers dumped it.

After that I then ran NoteStudio on the StyleTap emulator on my Android device (see blog) but the touch interface doesn’t sit well with Palm (everything’s a bit small). So I moved on to using ToodleDo and Keep - I still use Keep, but whilst ToodleDo is good, the Android client is frustrating to use. So…

I came across TiddlyWiki which is a great Wiki system that can operate in server or single-file mode. The single file is great for using on Android and AdTidWiki provides a simple interface to using it. I like it.

Exporting data from ToodleDo is easy, simple and painless (good for them) allowing me to move data out as a CSV and then import it directly into TiddlyWiki. That made me think, why don’t I revisit the NoteStudio data and see if I can recover it?? These were the steps I took:

1. Reinstall StyleTap onto my Android phone and then restore the last backup of the ROM (I had always used RightBackUp on Palm, so had a complete copy I could restore).
2. NoteStudio supports export to MemoPad format (although this was VERY slow)
3. MemoPad isn’t included as a standard app in the StyleTap ROM which led me on a search for a freeware replacement. This led me to Redwood’s MemoLeaf. Install this into the ROM, import the Memopad file and then export as DOC format (which generates a single PRC file with all the selected entries in).
4. Copy the PRC file to your PC and then use Zamzar to convert it to a TXT file (Zamzar is actually using the libraries in Calibre in the background to do the conversion).
5. That finally left me with a text file for some text wrangling to convert the data entries into JSON which TiddlyWiki would happily read. My programming skills are a little rusty so I asked James to throw together some code to do this. The code does this, taking the input TXT and doing some extra wrangling:

-put the title in the title tag
-insert \n for a line break
-replace double quotation (“) with single (‘)
-replace anything in square brackets (e.g. [linkname]) with [[linkname

Controlling email…

Friday, March 17, 2017 at 14:05:08

Straight from one of the best books I’ve read on communication (Trees, maps and theorems by Jean-Luc Doumont), is this paragraph on helping stem the flood of emails. Sage advice indeed:

If you are buried under too much incoming email, you may feel helpless about it. Yet, without hoping for a revolution, you can still take concrete steps toward easing the overload. To receive less email, simply send less email - and send better email, too.

So, starting today, think before you send and if it’s not required, don’t send it.

Cameras and settings for aerial surveys in the geosciences: optimizing image data

Friday, March 3, 2017 at 16:50:10

James O’Connor, Mike Smith, Mike R. James (2017)
Progress in Physical Geography

Aerial image capture has become very common within the geosciences due to the increasing affordability of low payload (<20 kg) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for consumer markets. Their application to surveying has subsequently led to many studies being undertaken using UAV imagery and derived products as primary data sources. However, image quality and the principles of image capture are seldom given rigorous discussion. In this contribution we firstly revisit the underpinning concepts behind image capture, from which the requirements for acquiring sharp, well exposed and suitable image data are derived. Secondly, the platform, camera, lens and imaging settings relevant to image quality planning are discussed, with worked examples to guide users through the process of considering the factors required for capturing high quality imagery for geoscience investigations.

Given a target feature size and ground sample distance based on mission objectives, flight height and velocity should be calculated to ensure motion blur is kept to a minimum. We recommend using a camera with as big a sensor as is permissible for the aerial platform being used (to maximise sensor sensitivity), effective focal lengths of 24 - 35 mm (to minimize errors due to lens distortion) and optimising ISO (to ensure shutter speed is fast enough to minimise motion blur). Finally, we give recommendations for the reporting of results by researchers in order to help improve the confidence in, and reusability of, surveys through: providing open access imagery where possible, presenting example images and excerpts, and detailing appropriate metadata to rigorously describe the image capture process.

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