Weeknotes 2023 W12:
Excel

Week of March 20 to 26, 2023
What are these? These week­notes are a reflection on the past week. I write about anything from hobby projects and work to creativity and mental health. I publish my week­notes every Sunday morning. Consider subscribing via email or using the web feed!

What a week.

Right after coming back from a week of vacation, loud voices at work pulled the project I’ve been working on since end of last year into question, even going so far as to call my work wrong and unacceptable. I’m not sure where this is coming from, but I am certainly not liking it.

Next week needs to be better.


This week, I used Microsoft Excel for the first time in a decade. I needed a few simple formulas, which turned out to be quite the challenge. No matter what formula I entered, I got the error “There’s a problem with this formula.” Just that. It couldn’t be more vague!

Eventually, I narrowed down the problem and found a formula that did calculate without an error — SUM(4,5) — but instead of spitting out the correct answer (4+5 = 9), it spit out four-and-a-half instead. Why would SUM take the sum and then divide it by half?!

As it turns out, in Germany, the syntax for formulas is different: you have to use semicolons rather than colons for separating arguments. Commas are used for decimal separators. So SUM(4,5) is the sum of a list with only one element: four and a half.

I figured out by trial and error; there is no documentation, there are no useful error messages, and the internet was not helpful either. Wild.


I wrote about getting new nibs for my fountain pen in last week’s week­notes (Weeknotes 2023 W11: Staycation). It turns out my fountain pen is an older model, and the new nibs don’t properly work. I’ve ordered a newer model of the same fountain pen so that I can use the new nibs, and in any case, it’ll be good to have a backup.

A backup is reasonable given that I dropped my fountain pen twice this week, and I do not like the thought of not having a proper pen to write with.

I also spilled some liquid on a page I wrote with my fountain pen, which dissolved the ink and large parts of the writing is now gone. Lesson learnt: fountain pen ink dissolves really well in water — not the biggest surprise, given that the ink is water-based.


My desk now has a note box on it, with (I estimate) a thousand square small pieces of paper for taking quick notes. I’ve found it immensely useful: having something always at hand for taking notes is a game changer.


Almost a year after I wrote it, my complete guide to implementing equality in Ruby article has received almost no traction. I had put in so much effort, and was quite proud of what it ended up like. Still, I wonder whether it was worth writing it at all.


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Week­notes for March 20 to 26, 2023. Browse the weeknotes archive, get these week­notes via email or subscribe to the web feed.