Bits and pieces from the XL Toolbox developer.
24 Aug 2018
ThinkPad, hardware, review
My experience with my new T480s, coming from a T430s that served me very well for the past 5 years.
26 Jul 2018
Hardware, Thinkpad, Troubleshooting, VirtualBox
High-resolution (HiDPI) displays can cause all sorts of trouble. Here’s how I solved mine.
3 May 2018
Ubuntu 18.04 is out, and similarly to 17.10, there are a couple of things
that I like and
18 Oct 2017
The release of Ubuntu 17.10 marks (yet another) paradigm shift in the
development history of this Linux distribution. The home-grown Unity
desktop shell is gone; Ubuntu 17.10 offers a Ubuntu-flavored Gnome desktop
experience. This article lists my impressions with Ubuntu 17.10. It’s
really mostly negative impressions, but some things are better than with
Ubuntu 17.04. May it help others make the decision whether to upgrade to
17.10 or not.
19 Jul 2017
Phatch is a fantastic tool to process a large number of photos in the
same manner. For example, I use it to shrink images to show on a digital
picture frame. Unfortunately it has not been maintained for years, and it
will not start on recent versions of Ubuntu. Here’s a workaround.
1 Jun 2017
Linux, Samba, Tips & Tricks, Windows
I have some (virtual) Windows machines running in a network of Linux
hosts. I keep some Windows applications (most notably, WSUS
Offline Update) on an external hard drive that is connected to a Linux
host via USB and shared with the Windows machines via Samba. Despite
relaxing the Windows security settings more and more, Windows refused to
run the applications on the shared drive until I made a change to the
Samba configuration on the Linux host.
7 Jan 2017
Howto, Linux, Server, Tutorial
Here I describe how to automate deployment of Discourse to your own
server using Capistrano.
12 Dec 2016
Rails, Ruby, Server, Tips
A quick reminder how to upgrade a Ruby version for a Rails
3 Nov 2016
The new forum runs on the Discourse software, which greatly enhances usability.
29 Oct 2016
Howto, Linux, Server, Tutorial
Discourse is a fairly new forum software that is very comfortable to use.
As a server administrator, you can either run it from a Docker container,
or pay a fee to use a hosted version.
However, if neither Docker nor subscription fees are feasible options,
setting up a Discourse instance without Docker involves a bit of work.
28 Aug 2016
Rails, Server, Tips & Tricks, troubleshooting
After upgrading a Rails web application from Rails 4.2 to Rails 5.0 and
attempting to deploy it using Capistrano, I got stuck on “Your Ruby
version is 1.9.3, but your Gemfile specified 2.3.1” errors that gave me
quite a headache – but the solution is really simple.
18 May 2016
Beta 4 of the NG series is a major step towards version 7.0 final. It sports significant stability fixes, the ability to …
30 Mar 2016
After about a year and half of early alpha releases, I am proud to finally
release the first beta version of the ‘Next Generation’ of the XL Toolbox.
17 Mar 2016
It’s been a while since I published the last alpha version of the Next
Generation XL Toolbox. In fact, it’s been a while since anything happened
at all with this project. Today I however I released a new alpha version
and explain what’s going on.
9 Mar 2016
Fix, Linux, VirtualBox
VBox 5.0 machines sometimes fail to start in Ubuntu; here’s a hint how to fix it
26 Oct 2015
Tips & Tricks, Ubuntu
After a clean install of Ubuntu 15.10, all my custom
programs had disappeared.
26 Oct 2015
Network, Tips & Tricks, Ubuntu, VirtualBox
A simple trick prevents VirtualBox host-only networks from disappearing after resume
5 Oct 2015
Alpha 15 of the XL Toolbox NG series is all about bug fixes.
25 Sep 2015
Linux, Tips & Tricks, hardware, printing
I have an HP LaserJet P2015dn printer that used to cause me headaches and has been causing trouble for some time now again. …
21 Sep 2015
CSV, NG, alpha
Title says it all. Download sf.net/projects/xltoolbox/files/alpha If you have a previous alpha …
21 Sep 2015
Galaxy, Photo, Samsung, Tips & Tricks
Photos that contain ‘garbage’ text in their embedded comments can be repaired quite easily on Linux.
15 Sep 2015
CSV, NG, R, alpha, import/export
The 13th installment of the Next Generation alpha series features a new CSV import and export feature that allows customization of field delimiters and number formatting and can be used for data exchange with other software, such as R.
11 Jul 2015
Linux, OwnCloud, Server, troubleshooting
While upgrading OwnCloud to version 8.1, I experienced strange errors: www-data@server:/var/owncloud$ php occ upgrade
PHP Warning: flock() expects parameter 1 to be …
24 Jun 2015
Alpha 10 (released a couple of days ago) and alpha 11 fix a couple of bugs
that caused the XL Toolbox add-in to crash.
10 Jun 2015
NG, alpha, code
Alpha 9 of the NG series sports new commands for CSV import and quitting Excel as well as a simple API for Visual Basic for Application projects.
17 May 2015
An overview of Excel address formatting.
12 May 2015
Alpha 8 is a minor update with fixes to the worksheet manager and the
15 Apr 2015
Using `syncevolution` from the Ubuntu repositories makes it easy to synchronize data from a Horde Groupware server to a computer running Ubuntu.
15 Apr 2015
Explorer, Fix, Windows
After reorganizing folders on my network shares, my Windows machine
(VirtualBox) would refuse to start the Explorer or ‘My Computer’. The
solution is to fix ‘User Shell Folders’ settings in the registry editor.
2 Apr 2015
Linux, OwnCloud, Server
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS ships with an outdated version of the PHP user cache
driver ‘APCu’. OwnCloud, if installed, will complain about this. Here I
describe how to upgrade APCu on Ubuntu.
30 Mar 2015
Linux, OpenLDAP, Server, Tutorial, code
Setting up an OpenLDAP server on Ubuntu is quite complicated, and getting
SSL connection security to work may be the hardest part of it. Here I
describe what worked for me.
6 Mar 2015
Alpha 7 fixes batch export and numerous other things, and offers a new
screenshot-quality export function.
3 Mar 2015
Since March 2015, only Paypal can be used to make voluntary payments for the XL Toolbox. In this post I explain why.
3 Feb 2015
For alpha 6, the installer was updated once again in order to more
reliably handle different combinations of operating system and Office
30 Jan 2015
.NET, NG, VSTO
Depending on Windows and Office version, there are various different
scenarios of the prerequisites that need to be met in order to install and
run a VSTO add-in.
28 Jan 2015
Within a few days after the release of alpha 4, I received several bug
reports that evidently related to the install process. Today I release
alpha 5 which fixes these problems.
28 Jan 2015
If an Office add-in that is created with Visual Studio Tools for Office
(VSTO) does not load, one has a hard time debugging since no error
messages are displayed. However, there is a remedy.
26 Jan 2015
Today I release the fourth alpha version of the Next Generation Toolbox.
This version features support for CMYK color space and color profiles for
8 Jan 2015
In this article I share an OpenDocument text template file for use in research project proposals to the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG).
4 Jan 2015
NG, alpha, license
The second and third preview versions (“alphas”) of the XL Toolbox offers basic
graphic export features. It is released under the Apache License V. 2.0
rather than the GNU General Public License.
6 Aug 2014
The very first alpha version of the Next Generation XL Toolbox add-in is
available for download. It can’t do much for users besides checking for
updates, but it represents the foundation of the Toolbox rewrite. Now I
can start adding features.
23 Jul 2014
FreeImage, code, rewrite
The FreeImage library is an indispensable tool to create graphics
files. Building it with Visual Studio 2013 requires some adjustments to
the solution and project files that I describe in this article.
Furthermore, I provide a compiled a 64-bit .DLL of FreeImage
16 Jun 2014
Linux, Network, Samba
File and folder sharing using Samba on Linux is easy to set up, but authorizations and permissions need to be set up properly to get it to work. Here I describe how to do it for a home network.
30 Apr 2014
PowerPoint, Tips & Tricks
Images that are inserted into a PowerPoint® presentation often do not
appear at the right size and may look blurry when the size is manually
adjusted after inserting them. In newer versions of PowerPoint, there is a
special image setting that can be used to achieve a pixel-by-pixel,
non-blurry appearance. But using this setting manually for every inserted
image is cumbersome and requires lots of clicks. In this post I show how
to set the DPI to a value that ensures proper display.
21 Mar 2014
Excel, Tips & Tricks
If the arrow keys do not move the cell cursor in Excel, but rather the
entire sheet, then the ‘scroll lock’ function is most certainly turned on.
To turn it off, simply press the Scroll Lock key on your keyboard. But what
if your keyboard does not have a Scroll Lock key? The solution is simple.
25 Feb 2014
Charts, InkScape, Tips & Tricks
Using the excellent Inkscape vector graphics program, it is possible to export Excel charts to scalable vector graphics (SVG) files.
3 Jan 2014
4-PL/5-PL, ELISA, non-linear regression, statistics
Fitting a curve onto the standards results of an ELISA is not
straight-forward. However, Excel can be coerced to perform the curve
fitting using the Solver addin. In this blog post I collect some
online resources on curve fitting.
24 Dec 2013
NG, future, rewrite
In this second installment of the series on ‘Shaping a new XL Toolbox’, I examine the available choices of software tools for modern Office development.
24 Dec 2013
Linux, Tips & Tricks, code
In this article, I describe how to create a single A4-sized PDF document
containing two copied of a single-page, A5-sized PDF document. This is
useful for custom A5 forms that are to be printed in duplicate on A4
sheets, so that two A5 forms can be obtained by cutting the A4 paper.
22 Dec 2013
Excel, code, deployment
Introducing ExcelAddinInstaller, an InnoSetup script that serves to comfortably deploy native Excel addins.
26 Nov 2013
Linux, Network, Samba, VirtualBox, code
VirtualBox is an excellent tool to run one or many virtual Windows
machines on a Linux host. Its shared folders offer convenient access
to the host file system from the virtual machines. However, shared folders
may not be suitable for specialized tasks such as storing .NET
application-level Office addins. In this article I describe an alternative
way to share folders between the host and guest operating systems using
the Samba file server.
20 Nov 2013
Tips & Tricks, hardware, printing
The LaserJet P2015dn printer may lose network connectivity and no longer respond to printing requests. A commonly used, albeit weird solution for this problem is to bake the ‘formatter board’ on the oven. In this post I describe how I accessed the formatter board in order to bake it in the oven.
22 Oct 2013
NG, future, rewrite
This is the first in a series of articles on the development of a new, better XL Toolbox.
20 Oct 2013
In this post I describe what I had to do to make my local website work again after upgrading to Ubuntu 13.10 with Apache 2.4.
18 May 2013
code, hardware, personal note, review
Although a little off topic, I would like to write about my experience
with a Thinkpad® T430s. I recently upgraded from my old machine, which was
a Thinkpad T61. Prior to purchasing the new machine, I read lots of
reviews of the T430s, but still had a few questions, so maybe writing down
my impressions will help other people trying to decide which laptop to
19 Jan 2012
Slowly, but steadily, I am working towards the release of version 4.00.
23 Jun 2011
charts, data cloud, spread scatter, tutorial
Scatter plots are a great way to visualize groups of data. Compared with
bar graphs (with or without error bars), they have the added advantage of
showing how the data are spread out. However, the basic scatter plot that
Excel creates needs some tweaking to get it right.
27 Mar 2011
Linux, Mendeley, Tips & Tricks, code
Mendeley is a great piece of Software to organize one’s collection of PDF articles. It did a fairly good job indexing the several thousand …
1 Dec 2010
For those users who are interested in my future plans for the XL Toolbox
after the 2.73 release, here is my personal wish list.
15 May 2010
I’m kind of busy at the moment and won’t be able to publish any updates for the XL Toolbox for a while… If there’s …
28 Nov 2009
Excel 2010, future
The public beta version of Office 2010 is available for download from Microsoft.com. Of course I got it right away and tried the …
18 Nov 2009
I am currently working on several new features for the upcoming release
21 Sep 2009
In this post I lay out the road map for 2009/2010
26 Jul 2009
Welcome to the XL Toolbox developer’s blog. As the addin is getting increasingly popular, I am planning to post thoughts about the current status …