Monday, July 07, 2014

Updated Again: Parse Google Search Results for First URL

This is pretty much a regurgitation of my post from back in February of 2011. Google slightly changed how they build their search results pages again sometime between then and now, and I had a new Insiders subscriber sign-up looking for that very solution. When I checked to see if the file still worked, it did not, so I made a few tweaks to get it running again.

Here's a copy-paste of the last post on this topic:

Those of you who've been following me for some time may know that I've done quite a few projects related to parsing Google search results for various data -- URLs, number of results, etc. Those of you using the code likely know that some time ago Google apparently made some changes to how they put together their site causing my stuff to stop working. Well, recently one of the requesters of one of these projects - one that returns the first non-paid URL returned - came back and had me update it to work with how Google's site currently displays search results.


This time I made it into a user-defined function. You simply enter the function...


=getFirstGoogleResultURL(A2), where the value of cell A2 is the search term.


It works pretty slick, but know that Google will not allow this sort of thing to be used on large volumes of searches. I'm pretty sure they'd much rather have you using their APIs for this sort of usage.

Excel_Geek Insiders subscribers, your copy of this file is on its way.

Later,

Excel_Geek

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2014 March Madness Bracket -- can you wait a week?

Beloved readers,

You've loyally come back to ExcelGeek.com year after year to get what's become probably my most widely circulated spreadsheets -- the March Madness brackets.

I have bad news, folks. Well, bad news for you, mostly. You see, I'll be -- shall we say -- unable to connect to the Internet due to being unplugged in a beautiful place over Selection Sunday this year. I won't be staying up late that Sunday, adding in this year's teams and accounting for the NCAA's maddening random placement of the so-called play-in games to deliver you a fresh, clean, all-ready-to-go set of spreadsheets.

I'm sorry.

I'll be back, though, and I do plan to deliver my files, albeit only after some games will have been played, however. So....if you'd like to have your pool participants deliver their picks to you in some other format, and then have them resubmit later, once you've got my handy files, I will have them posted when I'm back.

Again, many apologies for my untimely absence from the Internet.

Adios!

Excel_Geek

Monday, December 09, 2013

The 2013-14 College Football Bowl Pool Spreadsheet is here!

Sorry it took me a bit longer than normal to get this out. I usually stay up on Bowl Selection Sunday and get this delivered.

This year, thankfully, there were no material changes to the bowl game line-up. We still have 35 games. Three of the games did get new sponsors, though:

  • The former MAACO Bowl Las Vegas becomes the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.
  • The former Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl becomes the National University Holiday Bowl.
  • The former Discover BCS National Champtionship becomes the VIZIO BCS National Championship.
As usual there are two files. The first is the "Summary" -- this is the one that pool organizers use to track how everyone's picks are doing vs. actual results. the second is the "Entry Form" -- this is the file that pool organizers send to their participants for them to make their picks and send it back. Pool organizers, remember to use Copy - Paste Special... Values when copy-pasting people's picks in to the Summary.

Here are your files:


Enjoy!

UPDATED: I received feedback from a number of you today that my NOT initially including the traditional picks and points for me (Excel_Geek) and my wife (Mrs. Excel_Geek) and the recently added Excel_Geek Jr. was UNACCEPTABLE. It turns out many of you like to gauge how you're doing by comparing your picks to ours. Also, some of you apparently find it funny that I rarely do better than my wife (or even last year my son.)

The Summary form now has all three of our picks and points included. Do please enjoy!

Monday, August 05, 2013

2013 NFL Weekly Pick 'Em Pool Sheet

Anyone remember that simple NFL weekly pool template I made for someone back in 2009 and shared with everyone? Well, someone did. And he asked if I could spruce it up a bit.

I've added a tab for each of the 17 weeks of the season, pre-filled in the matchups, added 45 more participant row (total of 75 now), added cumulative correct picks tracking from week to week, and added a quick sort by most cumulative wins button on each week. I thought it turned out pretty awesome.

Also, since I've already got my $50 bucks from the guy who requested this, and since I gave it away (to everyone, not just my Excel_Geek Insiders, who get copies of every $50 Project I do) I thought I'd go ahead and let everyone have this one, too.

Heck, I guess I'm in the giving mood!

UPDATED: Ooops! I initially forgot to link to the file! Here it is.

Enjoy, folks.

Excel_Geek

P.S. Excel_Geek Insiders, I'll go ahead and email you a link to the download, as I do for each $50 Project.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

2013 March Madness Pool Spreadsheets

Looking for 2014 brackets? Check here.

Here we go, everyone! The much anticipated ExcelGeek.com March Madness pool manager spreadsheet (and associated individual picks spreadsheet) is out! Here's a cute little article to get you some quick facts while you're filling out your brackets.

The system works the same as last year. There are two files: The first is the "master" spreadsheet, used by the pool organizer to track the results of everyone's picks vs. who actually wins, etc. This is where you determine how many points a correct pick in each of the rounds is worth, as well. Also, the pool manager can make his or her picks in this file, too. The second file is the simplified "individual picks" spreadsheet used by the participants in the pool to make their picks and send the file to the pool organizer to automatically pull their picks into the master.


Once again, the individual picks spreadsheet is free, but the more complex "master" spreadsheet is not. It is ONLY $2.00, though. The files are both locked down and protected. In the case of the master spreadsheet, it requires a "key code" to unlock the magic.

Like I first did last year, I won't make you email me the "lock code" the file presents to you when you first open it and then email you back a "key code" to unlock it -- I've automated the process.

What you will do is the following:
  1. Download the "master" file by clicking on the link above.
  2. Open the file. Make sure you've got macros enabled. If you didn't have macros enabled when you first opened the file, enable them, then close and reopen the file, making sure to enable macros. If the file doesn't display a "Lock Code" when you open it, something didn't work right. Try again.
  3. Copy the "lock code" the file presents you.
  4. Paste that code (be sure to delete any trailing spaces added when you paste it -- it normally adds an extra trailing space for some reason) into the "Lock Code" field below.
  5. Click the "Buy Now" button below to pay the $2.00 for the file via PayPal. You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay this way. Any major credit card will work just fine.
  6. At the end of the transaction, you'll be redirected to a confirmation page with my pretty little avatar on it. It will display (among other things) the "key code" you'll need to activate the file.
  7. Copy and paste that code into the spreadsheet into the proper place, click submit, accept my terms and conditions, and you're off and running!
Again, if you don't paste in your Lock Code and complete your transaction, you won't receive a "Key Code" that will actually work to unlock your file. Do not forget this part! You may have to pay another $2.00 if you mess it up.


*Lock Code (absolutely required -- read above)


Best of luck, everyone!

Excel_Geek

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Build Up to March Madness 2013 - Another Crazy Pool Format

Looking for 2014 brackets? Check here.

I thought I'd continue to stoke the excitement fire for March Madness 2013! Many of you know that besides college football bowl season, March Madness is the biggest event for ExcelGeek.com each year.

To reiterate from my last post, this year the ExcelGeek.com March Madness bracket situation will work like year's past. Once Selection Sunday is over, I'll post this year's bracket files -- both the "Master" file that pool organizers use and the "Picks" file that individual participants in pools use to track how they're doing and to send to the organizers to make it easier for them to input picks into the "Master".

I'll also be using the same online file registration process as last year. That really worked well. If you don't remember it, how it works is that you FIRST download the Master bracket file (the one pool organizers use to manage the pool) and open it (with macros enabled). It provides a Lock Code. Then you click the PayPal button link to submit payment of $2.00. It's at that time that you provide the Lock Code. Once your payment is confirmed, you'll be provided with a Key Code. With that key code you'll unlock all the wonder that is the ExcelGeek.com March Madness Master bracket file.

Awesome, right?

So...what are you supposed to do between now and this coming Sunday night?

Here's another interesting March Madness pool sheet I just did for a client. This one involves randomly assigning participants to each of the 68 teams in the tournament. Then, the winners of each game are determined by the final score vs. the official betting line on the game. Example: If you've got Missouri in a match-up vs. Duke, and Duke's favored by 5, you win so long as Missouri beats the spread. In the event your team actually wins the game and beats (or matches -- a "push") the spread, you advance with your team to the next round. If your team loses, but beats the spread, you advance to the next round AND (here's the fun part) you steal the loser's team (since they won the game). Fun, right? Anyway, you can do different payouts for wins at each round of the tournament, and this client wanted to actually do pay-outs for the Championship loser and Semifinal losers, too, so I built that in. All in all, it was another example of a pool where your ability to pick teams is not really a factor. It's about your luck.

I believe this client is still rounding up participants for the pool. If you're interested, let me know and I'll pass along his email address.

Excel_Geek Insiders Subscribers, I'll send along a copy of that file.

Later,

Excel_Geek

Monday, March 11, 2013

Getting Excited for March Madness 2013? An Appetizer

Looking for 2014 brackets? Check here.

Hey folks! Are you getting excited for March Madness 2013? You know I am. Many of you know that besides college football bowl season, March Madness is the biggest event for ExcelGeek.com each year.

This year will be a like year's past. Once Selection Sunday is over, I'll post this year's bracket files. I'll also be using the same online file registration process as last year. That really worked well. If you don't remember it, how it works is that once you've downloaded the Master bracket file (the one pool organizers use to manage the pool) and open it (with macros enabled) it provides a Lock Code. When you submit payment of $2.00 via PayPal, you'll have a place to type or copy-paste in that code. You'll then be provided with a Key Code. With that key code you'll unlock all the wonder that is the ExcelGeek.com March Madness Master bracket file.

Awesome, right?

So...what are you supposed to do between now and this coming Sunday night? Well, I just recently created a different kind of March Madness pool sheet for a client. It's a whole different animal than the typical bracket challenge type pool that I've done in the past. It uses a 10x10 grid format where the top axis of the matrix corresponds to the last digit of the winning team's score at the end of regulation and the left axis corresponds to the losing team's score at the end of regulation. Participants are assigned, randomly, the number of squares in the grid that they've purchased/earned/were given. Then the numbers along the top and left sides are randomly sorted. Having the correct square for each game awards that participant an increasing number of points or money from round to round. It's a pretty cool arrangement. It keeps everyone interested all the way through, even if your pickem' teams have long been beat out.

I believe this client is still rounding up participants for the pool. If you're interested, let me know and I'll pass along his email address.

Excel_Geek Insiders Subscribers, I'll send along a copy of that file.

Later,

Excel_Geek