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Data Tables in Microsoft Excel 2008

Data Tables let you see how the results of a formula change as its underlying variables change. After entering data, select the entire table and choose Data > Table. Then tell Excel which row input cell and column input cells you want the table to use. Finally, click OK. Excel will crunch the numbers and present a new Data Table.

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BBEdit 8.7.1 Adds Features, Fixes Bugs, Saves Data

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Bare Bones Software has released BBEdit 8.7.1, adding a few new features and squashing a bunch of minor bugs. The new features include the capability to insert time stamps from the Edit > Insert menu, support for dropping items from disk browsers into applications like Terminal that expect file URLs, and the capability in language modules to turn off spell checking for code runs. For a full list of new features, changes to existing features, and bug fixes, see the extremely detailed BBEdit Current Release Notes page (and contrast it with Apple's terse release notes, which could be performed by a mime). BBEdit 8.7.1 is a free update for users of BBEdit 8.5 or later; it's a 15.2 MB download. Mac OS X 10.4 or later - including Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard - is required, and the program is a universal binary.

And while I have your attention about BBEdit, I want to tell you about a little-known feature in the program that saved me from data loss last week. I encountered some server problems that resulted in nearly every static file in my server's Web directory being deleted. Ugly, but I have Retrospect set to duplicate the main disk in our Xserve to the second disk every night. I run other backups too, but it was easy to move the active database over to the second disk, set the second disk as the startup disk, and reboot. The server was offline for an hour or two, since I was working very carefully and making copies of important data in case of further problems, but the overall approach of switching to a duplicate was simple.

The only problem was that this happened in the afternoon, and I had been editing files on the server all day, work that I didn't want to recreate. Since I was editing directly on the server, I didn't have local copies of those files. Luckily, in the Text Files pane of BBEdit's Preference window, there's an option to make a backup of each file before saving. Since I had long ago set that option, I was able to go into my BBEdit Backups folder and recover the most recent version of each of the files I had changed during the day. If you regularly edit remote files live, I strongly encourage you to turn on BBEdit's backups.

The only downside? Since I forget about that BBEdit Backups folder regularly, it currently contains over 17,000 files dating back to 2004. Oops... time to delete anything before 2007.

 

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