Tips

Internet Button – How to set it up

Recently, one of my colleagues and I bought an internet button from Particle.io. I thought it would be fun to play around with. After spending a few (frustrating) hours trying to get it to work as I wanted, I thought it might be helpful if I gave an overview of how I got it running. If you’re a whiz developer, you probably don’t need to read this. However, if you’re not a programer and thought that you’d buy an internet button to play around with, this guide is going to save you a serious amount of time.

What are we going to learn?

In the first instance, the plan was to enable you to hit the button to send an email. Fundamentally, we will get the button up and running and connect it to IFTTT.

Why is this guide needed?

Fundamentally, this guide is needed because all of the instructions seem to be old and don’t work. Also, the code repos that they recommend you download into your IDE also seem to be old and don’t work. So rather than you try and figure it out, I am going to give you the TL;DR.

You’re not a developer, but you got it to work. How?

This question is simply an excuse for me to insert my new favourite meme (thanks Shaw!), which pretty much sums up all of my development efforts. I laugh, because it is true (mostly).

Pasted image at 2016_08_19 08_46 PM

Cale is not a developer

 Ok, what needs to be done

Well, once the button arrives you need to follow the instructions to set it up. When the instructions get to a part about “flashing” the memory of the button from the console, this is where it gets tricky. Rather than muck about, here is code that is guaranteed to work (well, it worked for me):

#include "InternetButton/InternetButton.h"

// Create a Button named b. It will be your friend, and you two will spend lots of time together.
// You may be wondering about those two slashes and this gray text- they're called comments, and
// don't affect the code. Think of this as the voice of the narrator.
InternetButton b = InternetButton();

// The code in setup() runs once when the device is powered on or reset. Used for setting up states, modes, etc
void setup() {
// Tell b to get everything ready to go
// Use b.begin(1); if you have the original SparkButton, which does not have a buzzer or a plastic enclosure
// to use, just add a '1' between the parentheses in the code below.
b.begin();
}
void loop() {
if(b.buttonOn(2)){
Particle.publish("allbuttons","Tim", 1, PRIVATE);
delay(1000);
} 

else {
b.allLedsOn(0,165,0);
}
}

You simply have to copy and paste the above code into the IDE, hit the Verify button at the top left (the tick), and then flash the code to your internet button (press the button above – it looks like a lightning bolt).

Now, log into your console and click on your device. When you press the button, it should come through with “Tim” to the log. If that’s the case, you can now connect IFTTT to listen for “Tim” and you are away… the world is your internet button oyster.

Why Tim?
Long story.

#8 Excel Tip a Day: Working with Tabs

#8 Excel Tip a Day: Working with Tabs

Here is tip #8 in a series of an Excel Tip a Day for December 2015 – Working with Tabs . Tips range from the obvious to the simple to some more complex tips. Hopefully there is something you find helpful!

This tip is pretty obvious, but you’ll probably recognise that you have failed to do it in the past.

If you’re working with a spreadsheet that has a large number of tabs, you’ll often be jumping from one tab to another. Rather than using the scroll bar to do so, you can just temporarily drag the tabs close to eachother. When you are done working across those two tabs, drag the temporarily relocated tab back to where it came from. Simple, but a good little productivity hack.

I hope this was of some assistance to you!

#7 Excel Tip a Day: Display your numbers as millions

#7 Excel Tip a Day: Display your numbers as millions

Here is tip #7 in a series of an Excel Tip a Day for December 2015 – Display your numbers as millions. Tips range from the obvious to the simple to some more complex tips. Hopefully there is something you find helpful!

If you work with spreadsheets with large numbers (we all love that, right?), it is often unsightly to show those numbers in full. “$12,158,168.05″ really doesn’t say any more than “$12.16m”, particularly on an output sheet. In order to change $12,158,168.05 to $12.16m, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell(s) you wish to format.
  2. On the Home ribbon, press the little down arrow in the bottom right of the number format window. It’s the one with “Currency” at the top.
  3. In the Category list on the Number tab, choose Custom.
  4. In the text box under the word “Type:”, type in $0.00,,”m”

Done! If you want more or less decimals, add or subtract 0’s after the decimal in the above format.

I hope you find this helpful!

#6 Tip a Day: Multi-format within a cell

Here is tip # 4 in a series of an Excel Tip a Day for December 2015 – Multi-format within a cell. Tips range from the obvious to the simple to some more complex tips. Hopefully there is something you find helpful!

Occasionally, you may have a desire to format a text string with different formats for different parts of the string. Like this:

CaptureIt is actually quite easy to do.

  1. Type your text.
  2. Double click on the cell.
  3. Choose the subset of the text string you would like to format. You can format this text independently of the other text in the cell.
  4. Repeat for the other subsets of the text string, as desired.

I hop you find this helpful.

#5 Tip a Day: F4 – repeat action

Ok, so this one is a quick one. We are on the 5th day of the Excel Tip a Day for December 2015.

Forever, I have been using the format painter to copy the formats of cells, but I recently learned there is a better way!

If you format a cell in a way that you want to copy, you simply have to highlight the cells you want to copy the format to and hit F4. That should save you some clicking!

Hope you find this useful!

#4 Tip a Day: Colours in your workbook

Here is tip # 4 in a series of an Excel Tip a Day for December 2015. Tips range from the obvious to the simple to some more complex tips. Hopefully there is something you find helpful!

I come across many spreadsheets created by others that look like they were taking acid when they put them together… So may colours! Having cells coloured is a good idea, providing one thing:

The colours have to mean something.

In order to mean something, those colours should be spelt out on a control sheet, such as this:

colours helper

 

 

 

 

This small addition will help anyone who picks up your spreadsheet to determine what is going on. It should also make your life easier – you don’t have to think about the colours you are going to use, they are set up front based on the reason you are colouring the cell. If there is no reason – don’t colour it!

#3 Tip a day: Excel Camera Tool

#3 Tip a day: Excel Camera Tool

This tip is # 3 in a series of a Tip a Day for December 2015. Tips range from the obvious to the simple to some more complex tips. Hopefully there is something you find helpful!

If you’re ever put a spreadsheet together that has an output or report page, you might have come up against a situation where things just didn’t look right. I guess it is one of the downsides of the Excel grid, you are somewhat constrained in your capacity to place things where you want them – or are you?

The Camera tool allows you to highlight a range and then take a photo of that range to create a picture that updates automatically as the information in the range changes. You can place the picture anywhere on a page and it will display that information independent of the formatting of the cells below the picture. Fundamentally, you are no longer constrained by the width/height of cells when trying to lay out your spreadsheet.

So how do you get the Camera tool?

  1. Right click on the ribbon.
  2. Choose “Customize the Ribbon…
  3. Change “Choose commands from:” to All Commands.
  4. In the list below, you will find Camera.
  5. Select it and add it to the ribbon you would like to use it in.
  6. Highlight an area, then hit the camera icon you just added to the ribbon. You’re away!

I hope you can use this to remove the restrictions of columns and rows!

#2 Tip a Day: Ctrl + 0

#2 Tip a Day: Ctrl + 0

This tip is # 2 in a series of a Tip a Day for December 2015. Tips range from the obvious to the simple to some more complex tips. Hopefully there is something you find helpful!

If you’re working with spreadsheets that stretch out to the right beyond the current frame, chances are you jump out to the right a fair bit. Usually, this is done by positioning the active cell on a row with data, using control->arrow to jump to the end of the row’s data.

To save a little time, if you go one column to the right of your most right-hand data, control->arrow to the right and then press Ctrl+0, all columns to the right will be hidden. They’re blank anyway, so you don’t need to hide them. Now, you can get to the most right-hand column from anywhere, not just rows with data.

This tip will only save you small amounts of time per use. But over time, those time savings will add up!

P.S. You can also do the same with the rows below the bottom used cell using Ctrl+9

#1 Tip a Day: Prevent Excel Automatically Creating Hyperlinks

#1 Tip a Day: Prevent Excel Automatically Creating Hyperlinks

This tip is # 1 in a series of a Tip a Day for December 2015. Tips range from the obvious to the simple to some more complex tips. Hopefully there is something you find helpful!

Does it annoy you when Excel automatically creates hyperlinks to anything that looks like a web address? When you first hit enter on the cell after inputting the address, you can press Ctrl+z to undo the insertion of the hyperlink. However, if you’re after more than a piecemeal approach, and want Excel to stop doing it all together, here’s how you do it.

  1. Go to File -> Options -> Proofing
  2. Click the “AutoCorrect Options…” button
  3. Go to the “AutoFormat As You Type” tab
  4. Untick the top radio box: “Internet and network paths with hyperlinks

Note, this tip also works with Word!