Wednesday, November 23, 2005

An experiment in micropayments -

Hey all,

Thought I'd share the news of the recent launch of a little experiment I'm involved with:

It's an experiment on two fronts:

  1. Socio-Economic: People are willing to toss a quarter into a physical wishing well all the time -- check any mall, etc. Are they just as willing to "drop a quarter" into a virtual wishing well? What if everyone who visited the wishing well could see the wishes of others? Would that affect what people wish for?

  2. Technological: Micropayments are supposed to be the new currency -- on and off the Internet, enabling the sale of digital music, video games, sodas, and candybars. We've implemented PayPal®'s new micropayments service to see if it's all it's cracked up to be.

If you've got a chance, stop by the well, take a look around, drop in a quarter, and wish well™.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Google Analytics Update

Hey all,

Thought I'd drop a post today to give an update on my recent implementation (copy-pasting a few lines of HTML into my template is "implementation" right?) of Google's Analytics service. Here's what I've found:

Google was (apparently) ill-prepared for the swarm of customers they'd receive, as I believe they've now shut off new applications for Analytics, and the time frames they specify it should take to begin receiving data were about 1/8 of the actual time (12 hours vs. 4 days, which is how long it took me to begin receiving data consistently.

That said, the tool is wonderful. For those of you familiar with Urhcin, we've got pretty much the same thing here. I am particularly fond of the Geo Map Overlay feature (pictured below).

Whaddayaknow...the Excel_Geek is global!

All for now.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Excel Add-in Does Monte Carlo Simulations

Late last week I got a tip to check out a nice (relatively new) Excel add-in from RiskAmp that does Monte Carlo simulations.

You can check it out here:

Not terribly familiar with Monte Carlo? RiskAmp's got a nice white paper (.pdf) that gives a easy-to-understand overview.

I've downloaded and installed it (the add-in), and have played around a little bit. From what I can tell on the ultra-quick, it's pretty slick. I'll be doing much more testing, but I prsonally think this little bad boy will come in very handy for all of the pro-forma financial projections, and probabilistic modeling that I'll be doing in the very near future.

What's even better is the price point: For less than $60, you've got quick, easy computing functionality for which the "big boys" (investment pros, actuaries, etc.) have historically paid through the nose.

I say, check it out.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Excel 12 - Cool feature I've wanted forever...remove duplicates

I've been frantically reading the blog I posted for all of your to read yesterday (, and while I first mentioned my excitement for really digging into the web services being rolled out, here's a wonderful feature that I've been begging them for forever: automated duplicate removal.

That's right. I've spent countless small chunks of my life adding temporary columns to data tables and entering formulas like...


Then sorting the entire data table by that new column, and deleting all rows containing "REMOVE" in them.

No more. Check it out at

Getting excited for 12 yet?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Microsoft Excel 12 - Check this blog...

More and more of you have been asking for information on Excel 12.

Well, a friend of mine ( tipped me off on this blog:

This blog features some indepth discussion of the new services to be included in 12. To be short: WOW. I cannot wait to get my hands on this. The web services stuff is awesome, and I am already thinking of the cool stuff I'll be able to build...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Great article by ExcelUser on VBA Standards for Excel Programmers

I was just reading another article by Charley Kyd over at ExcelUser (the guys with the sweet Excel Dashboard package for cheap!) on VBA standards for Excel "programmers." The article talked about providing documentation, and about using "Option Explicit".

While, I've been fairly meticulous about providng both "in-line documentation" (explanatory comments) and "title blocks" containing a general purpose statement for each macro, I especially appreciated the discussion on "Option Explicit" to remove the "variant by default" variable types. This is not something that I've routinely done, but will certainly endeavor to do from now on, as the benefits include enhanced processing performance and more easily identifiable errors.

While on the ExcelUser site, I also learned two other new things:

  1. For all of you stock-traders, you can get a free dashboard-style report for any company on the market.

  2. For all of you with your own Excel-related blogs or website, ExcelUser has a great Affiliate Marketing system. They'll pay you 30% on all sales you refer. I've signed up and have already referred 6 sales! Wow! Check it out.

Google's Free Analytics

Hey everyone, I just added Google's free new Analytics service to my blog, and guess what: It's free!

Be sure to check it out if you've got a website or blog.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Update on Email List Projects - PayPal® User Agreement


Remember those targeted email list projects that people have requested? Well, I recently learned that under the PayPal® User Agreement, I may not use PayPal's services to sell such services.

What does this mean? From this point on whenever anyone requests a targeted email list from me, as a $50 Project or otherwise, I'll be requiring payment in the form of a check, cashier's check, or money order. Note: I'll still be requiring people making such requests to attest to me that they'll not be using the list in violation of the CAN SPAM Act of 2003 or any other laws in their jurisdiction.

If you're interested, you can contact me for more details.



Friday, November 11, 2005

Apologies for the lack of posts.

I'd like to apologize for my relative lack of posts recently. My real job (running Internet start-up has been all-consuming of late.

I'd like to ensure those who've submitted $50 Projects that aren't too time-sensitive that I'll do my best to get back to you on a timeframe for their completion.

More posts soon...

Monday, November 07, 2005

First Blog_Mail Subscriber - Secret Prize!

Hey, guess what? We've had our first subscriber to Excel_Geek's Blog_Mail service!

Thanks a bunch, Joseph. And's your secret prize:

1 free $50 Project! That's right, think of something you need done in Excel -- something that would have cost you $50 -- and I'll do it for FREE!