Sunday, October 28, 2018


As the strong man exults in his physical ability,... so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles.
 - from "The Murders in The Rue Morgue," by Edgar Allen Poe

I don't think I can overstate how much I like spreadsheets.

It's not just about organizing data, it's about analyzing it, manipulating it, getting it to dance and weave, massaging it to fit into tight summaries and at-a-glance charts, and then automating it to a degree that you can add more data freely and it just makes more room for it.

Spreadsheets can also be made to think.

You don't need to be able to write code to build progams, you just have to think like a programmer, which is to say, keep track of any of a dozen seemingly disparate streams, weave them together to make something magical happen, see the connections and the ways to build the magic, and know all the terms you need to mould it into shape.

I love doing this.

At work, (one of the things) we use a spreadsheet for is to manage and calculate truck and container loads. Most of the people I work with have access to a laptop and a scanner, so they can just as easily scan the pallet IDs as type them in. While I do have some limited access to these, I am so much more adept at using my phone.

I designed a spreadsheet to take all the pallet IDs and tell me what the shortest "simple ID" (my term) or abbreviation of each identifying number I can use to not duplicate simple IDs across the array of pallet IDs. Except it doesn't stop there. The sheet is built to be smart enough to check what the smallest simple ID can be used and check that against the simple IDs I'm entering in to determine which pallet ID I'm referring to.

If I can say so myself, it's brilliant.