A couple hacks

Hello –  After a slightly atypically fraught semester I am back to constructing a new normal.  Semesters always involve lecturing, student meetings, and marking.  The odd things that happened (professionally) during the last 6 months were:
  • Teaching a course largely remotely / flipped classroom for the first time.
  • Running AISB 2017 in Bath
  • Having a paper come out in Science
  • Having 25 invited talks and about as many interviews (and externalling 2 PhD vivas, both in anthropology departments).
  • Oh, and a bunch of new coworkers at Bath including two in AI: Mike Tipping & Özgür Şimşek.
My career is hitting some kind of new normal – I need to figure out how to make the time work.  Currently the plan is to continue working 30% time for Bath as I have this academic year, plus also spend about 40% of my time writing books, leaving some time for talks & independent research.

Anyway, I want to blog about two things I found very difficult to do, just so these things are out where people can find them, not because I think this is interesting to whoever reads this blog.
  1. How to average the top four of eight columns that are not adjacent in excel.    
    • you need to push ctrl shift enter to evaluate such an expression (it's building a table on the fly)  – that will wrap curly brackets {} around it.
    • the ()s around a cell reference mean that if it's blank (say a student didn't do a quiz) it gets translated as 0 not #fail
    • the dollar signs $ are necessary or you can't copy & paste this into other rows and get the relative stuff to all work.
    Near misses were here, here and here.
  2. I for one refused to use Keynote 6.X because it took away the controls I was used to having, but recently I've had bizarre problems with keynote 5.3 even when I could use my own laptop, so I've finally started using Kenote 7.1, skipping 6 entirely.
    • Keynote 7 crashed when it tried to import my old talks. This proved to be because of one particular movie that was converted from a PC, and now indeed crashed every current Mac windows program.  Fortunately, at some point I purchased Flip4Mac and that handled the conversion for me.
    • All the stuff that used to be on the inspector is scattered around now but findable. The biggest weirdness is that there's a floating widget for just the build order.
    • Getting all the movies out of your old presentation is of course easiest if you can see it as a folder, but that's very hard under OSX right now. Basically you have to make a copy of the presentation, rename it X.zip instead of X.key, then unzip it (be sure you've put it in a folder first!)  Copying & pasting between Keynote 5.3 & 7.1 doesn't work, so you need to get at the original movie files.
Rally by immigrants working at University of Bath